Thursday, October 30, 2014

Job Opening: Contracts Consultant

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
  • Position: Contracts Consultant
  • Location:  Olympia, Washington
  • Closing Date:  November 30, 2014 at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $53,964 to $66,252 Annually
  • Job Summary: The Contracts Consultant has lead responsibility for providing expert level oversight of and consulting and technical assistance to its assigned programs. Additionally, ensuring that the DSHS Financial Services Administration's contract processes are managed in compliance with relevant laws, rules, and policies. The successful candidate will research, interpret, analyze and apply such laws, rules and policies to client service and personal service procurements and contracting, as well as Interlocal agreements and data sharing agreement.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prevailing Wage Underpayments: Contractor Pays $200,000 in Back Wages

After a worker complaint and investigation by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, a Colorado contractor working on a Whatcom County (WA) jail project has paid almost $200,000 in back wages due to the workers. 

Workers were not apprentices:  The 13 workers were paid apprenticeship wages rather than the journey level electrician prevailing wages.  "In this case," noted Jim Christensen, Washington's prevailing wage manager, "the employees were doing the work of electricians and were not part of any state-registered apprenticeship program."

Contractor paid back wages in August:  The prevailing wage violation was the first one for Sierra Detention Systems, who contracted with the County for a $2 million contract.  In August, the company paid Labor and Industries $196,214.40 that will be disbursed to the underpaid workers. 

Fairness in bidding:  Given state and federal prevailing wage laws, when a contractor does not pay the prevailing wages, it directly impacts the integrity of the competitive bidding process.  Public agencies that receive federal funding for a public construction project are required to monitor whether the workers are being paid at least the prevailing wage rates for the type of work being performed.  Click here for an earlier blog I wrote on monitoring federal prevailing wages. 

News release:  Click here for a news release on the Colorado contractor underpayments, published by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Who Is Managing Compliance With Your Federal Grant Funding?

What's the first thing a public agency should do after receiving notice that it has obtained a federal grant for a project (right after celebrating!)?  Appoint someone to be responsible for compliance with the terms of the grant.

Complying with grant terms:  When you receive a grant, it's important to also pay attention to the following:
  • Understand the grant:  Read the terms of the grant and what it requires the recipient (your public agency) to do.
  • Solicitation requirements:  Determine what must be included in the terms of any Invitation to Bid or Request for Proposals/Qualifications.

  • Changed practices:  Figure out what agency practices need to change in order to be in compliance with the grant.
  • Monitor:  Ensure you have a monitoring system in place so that the various reporting and other requirements of the grant are complied with.
A common mistake:  What is one of the most common mistakes that public agencies make in administering the terms of a federal grant?  Not checking and documenting whether any company you contract with has been debarred or suspended by the federal government for violation of various federal laws and regulations.   

Automatic audit finding:  Public agencies who do not check and document the federal debarment and suspension status of firms contracted with are very likely to be issued an audit finding.  Recently, the Washington State Auditor's Office issued audit findings against the following public agencies for not ensuring compliance with this requirement:
Why do agencies miss this requirement?  There are a couple of reasons why agencies find themselves out of compliance with the debarment and suspension requirements:
  • Lack of awareness:  Some agencies simply aren't aware that it is a requirement to check and document whether firms contracted with have been debarred or suspended. The agency may infrequently receive federal funding or there may have been staff turnover.
  • Relying on others:  Some agencies delegate compliance with federal grant requirements to the architect or engineer who may not be familiar with the requirements or have the staffing and systems in place to ensure compliance.

  • Not tracking whether project has federal funds:  Without an adequate internal system to identify what projects have federal funding, some agencies fail to check on the debarment and suspension status of vendors, contractors, and consultants.  

  • Pass through funds:  Sometimes, federal funds are passed through to a local agency via a state agency.  It is important to track the source of the funding.  If the state received it from the federal government, the various grant requirements will continue to be passed through to local agencies.
  • Emergency contracts:   In issuing an emergency contract without competition, some public agencies forget that the federal debarment and suspension requirements still apply.
When do federal requirements apply?  
  • $25,000:  The federal debarment and suspension checking requirements apply to all vendors, contractors, and consultants receiving $25,000 or more on a federally funded project.

  • $1 taints the pot:  A project with any federal funding, regardless of how small, will trigger all of the requirements associated with such funding.
How to check for federal debarment:  It's easy to check for whether a business your agency is contracting with has been suspended or debarred from doing business with the federal government.  Go to, and enter the name of the business.  If the search does not reveal a record, click on the "save PDF" link that will include the name you searched for as well as a note indicating there were no search results.  Print this PDF and maintain it in your contract/project file for when you are audited.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Free Webinar on "5 Steps for Communicating the Value of Procurement"

5 Steps for Communicating the Value of Procurement

When:  Monday, October 27, 2014 (9:00 am - 10:00 am Pacific Time) 

Where:  Your computer 

Cost:  Free, but registration required.  Click here to register. 

Description: We all know that procurement teams bring value to their organization, but how do you communicate that value in a meaningful way? While the physical act of recording savings and efficiencies isn’t complicated, how do you determine what calculation(s) you will use? What kinds of savings do you focus on? Does every saving have to have a cash value associated with it? Who is going to do the recording and when? How do you present the information to put Procurement in the best light? These questions and more are answered as we present the specific steps Multnomah County went through to articulate the value of procurement. At the end of this session, a roadmap is provided for you to take away and plan your own recording and reporting of the value of Procurement.

Sponsored by: Spikes Cavell

Registration:  Click here to register. 
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Applicants Sought for Washington's Project Review Committee

The Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB) is seeking letters of interest from individuals knowledgeable in the use of GC/CM and Design-Build to serve a 3-year term on its Project Review Committee (PRC). 

Open seats:  The following open seats will be filled by CPARB at its meeting on November 13, 2014:
  • 2 Owner - Higher Education
  • 1 Owner - School Districts
  • 1 Owner - Cities
  • 1 Owner - Counties
  • 1 Design Industry - Engineer
  • 1 Construction Manager
  • 2 Specialty Subcontractor
  • 2 Minority/Women Owned Business
Function of the PRC:  The Project Review Committee reviews applications from public agencies in Washington state interested in using either GC/CM or Design-Build for specific projects.  The PRC also certifies experienced public agencies, granting them authority to use these alternative project delivery methods without seeking PRC approval for each project. 

PRC meetings:  The PRC meets as often as bi-monthly to review project applications and hear applicant public agencies present their reasons for wanting to use GC/CM or Design-Build. 

To apply:  Individuals interested in serving on the PRC should submit a short letter (that will be posted on CPARB's website) by 5:00 pm on November 1, 2014 to Danelle Bessett at  The letter should include the following information:
  • Your name, title, and company or public agency name
  • Work address, email address, and best contact phone number
  • Short paragraph which highlights your skills, background or special knowledge for the PRC
  • Three references with contact information
Additional information:

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Free Career Workshop in Bellevue, WA

Career Workshop

When:  October 20, 2014 (6:00 pm - 8:30 pm) 

Where:  Bellevue, WA (Bellevue Library, Room #1, 110 Ave. NE) 

Sponsored by:  ISM (Institute for Supply Management) - Western Washington 

  • 6:00 - 7:00 pm: Presentation about resumes and interview tips followed by Q&A session
  • 7:00 - 8:30 pm: Individual help with resumes and mock interviews.  Networking opportunities available.
Cost:  Free, but registration online at is required.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Job Opening: Contracts Manager

Active Construction, Inc. (ACI)
  • Position: Contracts Manager
  • Location:  Tacoma, Washington
  • Closing Date:  Open until filled
  • Salary: $55,000 to $65,000 Annually plus benefits (based on experience)
  • Job Summary: This position is responsible for preparing client contracts to be routed to company project managers and principals for review and execution.  The contracts consist of a mix of public, private, and federally funded works and have ACI in either a general contractor role or as a subcontractor.  In addition to reviewing ACI's contract with their client, this position would then develop a subcontractor agreement template based on the specifics of the project as well as setting up the document controls specific to each project.
  • Qualifications:  This position requires a basic understanding of contracts, specifications, flow-down risk, insurance, prevailing wages, etc., as well as involving heavy usage of MS Word and Outlook along with light usage of MS Excel.  The individual in the position must be organized, able to multi-task, and communicate with a variety of personalities.
  • About Active Construction, Inc.:  Active Construction, Inc. is actively involved with CFMA (Construction Financial Management Association), AGC, and many other construction industry agencies.  ACI promotes job/industry related education and encourages participation in various opportunities offered by these different agencies.  ACI is a union company as well as being an equal opportunity employer.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Contact Lia Davis, Controller, at Active Construction, Inc., PO Box 430, Puyallup, WA 98371, or for additional information or to submit your resume for consideration.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC