Thursday, April 29, 2010

WA Legislature Clarifies Legislative Intent on Alternative Public Works

Steve Goldblatt, recently retired, longtime University of Washington Construction Management faculty member specializing in design and construction law, has been covering the legislative scene in Olympia for more than 25 years.
In this guest blog entry, Steve summarizes one bill regarding alternative public works contracting that was approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Chris Gregoire.
Alternative Public Works Contracting: EHB 1690 (Chapter 21, 2010 Laws 1st Special Session) clarifies legislative intent that public bodies may use only authorized alternative public works contracting procedures (Chapter 39.10 RCW); directs the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board to recommend to the Legislature other procedures (RCW 39.10.230); and clarifies that housing authorities (RCW 35.82.200) are subject to the alternative public works laws and prevailing wage laws (Chapter 39.12 RCW) except when federal laws or regulations are authorized or preemptive effective July 13, 2010.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seattle Mayor Orders Outreach to Minority and Women Owned Firms

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn signed an Executive Order on April 26, 2010 directing city department heads to "actively pursue equitable WMBE utilization opportunities, specify and report on measurable WMBE aspirational goals, and actively reach out to the WMBE business community" in the city's purchases and contracts.

Click here for a copy of the Mayor's Executive Order.

Roundtable Discussion: Negotiating Good Design Contracts

How do design professionals and contractors negotiate good contracts in today's business climate?  Hear the experiences of others at this breakfast roundtable discussion.

Topics of Interest:
  • Negotiating tips
  • Changes in the scope of work to account for increased risk
  • Risk Fees
  • Risk evaluation
  • Problem indemnifications and what to do
  • How to incorporate a limitation of liability into contracts
  • How to negotiate design-build contracts
  • The new Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contracts
  • Understanding legal theories of unconscionability, contracts of adhesion, and other contract formation matters.
When (pick one date):
  • Tuesday, May 4, 2010
  • Wednesday, May 19, 2010
  • Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where: Seattle, Washington (1301 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3401)

For more information and to register, contact Stephanie Correia at (206) 387-4723 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

North Carolina Approves In-State Bidder Preference

North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue signed Executive Order 50 on February 17, 2010 that would permit state agencies to award contracts for the purchase of goods to "qualified North Carolina companies whose price is within five percent (5%) or $10,000.00 of the lowest bid, whichever is less."  

Rather than awarding at a higher price, the Executive Order calls for a "price-matching preference."  Thus, a North Carolina bidder within the dollar thresholds on their bid would be provided the opportunity to match the price of the low bid and thus be awarded the contract.

Additional information about this bidder preference may be found at the following:
The intent of the Executive Order is to provide "an immediate economic benefit to North Carolina citizens and companies during these difficult economic times."

Free Federal Contracting Seminar

The Seattle law firm of Oles Morrison is sponsoring a free morning seminar on Federal Contracting issues.

Topics will include federal contracting as it relates to LEED certification, false claims, and contract closeout and representations.

When:  Tuesday, May 4, 2010 (7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.)

Where:  Museum of Flight (9404 East Marginal Way, Seattle, WA)

For more information or to register, contact Joslyn Ligosky at, or by phone at (206) 623-3427.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Job: Port of Seattle Seeks 2 Contract Administration Managers

The Port of Seattle is recruiting for 2 Contract Administration Managers (Job ID: 5173).

Closing Date:  These job openings closes on Monday, May 10, 2010 at midnight (Pacific Time).  All applications must be received by this date and time to be considered for these positions.

Job Summary:  To perform, lead, and supervise division specific Public Works construction contract functions for major or small works contracts and ensure that all bid and contract documents are prepared and executed in accordance with Port of Seattle policies, federal, state and local laws, regulations and agreements.

Note:  There are currently TWO positions available.  The first position will be responsible for Major Public Works contracts exceeding $300,000.  The second position will be responsible for Small Public Works contracts of $300,000 or less.

Compensation Range:  Minimum $70,473 - Midpoint $88,082.  Grade 27.

Revised Federal Prevailing Wage Rates for Weatherization Projects

The U.S. Department of Labor has revised the federal prevailing wage rates in Washington State for "Residential Weatherization Construction," effective April 19, 2010.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has included the rates in a revised table on "Weatherization Projects - Federal and Washington State Prevailing Wage Rates."

Project Review Committee (PRC) Seeks Members

The Washington State Project Review Committee (PRC) has announced it is seeking to fill 8 positions for three year terms.  

The PRC, appointed by the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB) is charged by state law with evaluating and approving the use of Design-Build and General Contractor/Construction Manager (GC/CM) projects by public bodies in the state.

For more information about the application process and the stakeholders that applicants must represent, click here.

Correction on 3% Withholding Information

The federal law that will go into effect on January 1, 2012 regarding withholding 3% of payments to vendors will apply to all federal, state, and local governments with annual expenditures of $100 million or more.  

In my blog posting of April 25, 2010, I erroneously reported that it affected those governments with expenditures of $3 million or more.  I have corrected that posting to reflect the $100 million threshold.  Sorry for the confusion.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NIGP Urges Repeal of 3% Withholding Law

The National Institute for Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) has joined many other organizations in urging Congress to repeal what is known as the 3% withholding law that will go into effect on January 1, 2012.  

The law will impact all federal, state, and local governments with annual expenditures in excess of $100 million, by requiring those agencies to withhold 3% of each payment to vendors, contractors, and consultants, and send the money to the federal government for income tax purposes.

NIGP has begun a letter writing campaign urging the repeal of the law.  For more information, read a story about NIGP's efforts in GovPro.

City Seeks Job Order Contractors (JOC)

The City of Bellevue, Washington has advertised two RFPs for Job Order Contractors, one to handle facility construction and repair, and the other for roadway construction and repair work.  

There will be a pre-proposal meeting for interested contractors on April 29, 2010 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall.  Contact Mayvis Schwab is you plan to attend.

The City of Bellevue is the first public agency in the State of Washington to utilize the services of The Gordian Group for assistance in developing a tailored Construction Task Catalog to serve as the pricing basis for the Job Order Contracts.

Job Order Contracting in the State of Washington is authorized by chapter 39.10 RCW and may be used only by the agencies or types of agencies specifically listed in RCW 39.10.420.  JOC is one of three alternative public works contracting methods permitted in Washington State.  No work order under the Job Order Contract may exceed $300,000.

The RFPs for the City of Bellevue are online at the following website address:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Federal Employee Pleads Guilty to Contracting Fraud

A former contracting officer for the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Medford, Oregon pleaded guilty on April 16, 2010, for his role in a contracting scandal in which he cheated the BLM out of almost $500,000 over a four year period.  He was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2009.

Luis Ramirez arranged to have BLM contractors subcontract work to his son who, in some cases didn't perform the work at all, or when the work was performed, it was redundant to work performed by others.  In some cases, Ramirez directed the BLM contractors to issue the checks directly to his son or through third parties, and the contractors were then reimbursed through invoices approved by Ramirez as a BLM contracting officer.  In other cases the money that was paid to Ramirez's son ended up being transferred into Ramirez's bank account. 

Luis Ramirez and his son, Evan, who has also pleaded guilty, and are both scheduled to be sentenced on June 26, 2010.  They could face up to 20 years in prison.
I wonder what is happening to the contractors who participated in this illegal scheme!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

City Unaware of Federal Prevailing Wage Requirements

During 2008, the City of Toppenish, Washington spent more than $350,000 of a federal FHWA grant to construct a welcome center for the city.  However, according to an audit finding by the Washington State Auditor's Office, the city was unaware that federal Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements applied.  

As a result, the city did not:
  • Include language in six contracts advising the contractors that federal prevailing wages needed to be paid.
  • Obtain weekly certified payrolls from the contractors and all subcontractors
The city responded to the audit finding that it was developing a comprehensive checklist to help ensure future compliance with federal prevailing wage requirements.

Practical Tip:  If you receive any federal funding for a construction project, check the terms of the grant agreement.  Most federal funding sources require the payment of federal prevailing wages.  Davis-Bacon Act requirements include various contractual and monitoring requirements.  

If your agency is not familiar with federal prevailing wage requirements, seek assistance from someone who can help you navigate through this complex area.  Please contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feds Adopt Final Rule on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)

On February 6, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13502 encouraging the use of Project Labor Agreements on large scale federal construction projects.  

On April 13, 2010, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) adopted a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement the President's Executive Order.  The new regulation becomes effective on May 13, 2010 and applies to construction projects with a cost of $25 million or more. 

There are strong opinions by different interest groups about whether Project Labor Agreements are good public policy.  Labor unions have argued they are effective in ensuring public agencies obtain quality construction and a safe working environment.  Non-union (merit) contractors have argued that Project Labor Agreements restrict competition on public projects to union contractors only.

Monday, April 19, 2010

When is a 5% Bid Bond Not a 5% Bid Bond?

Bid bonds are submitted with a public works bid to guarantee that the bidder, if the low bidder and awarded the project, will enter into a contract with the public agency.  

What Does Your Authorizing Law Require?  Public agencies require bid bonds either as a matter of policy, laws, or specification.  For example, second class cities in the State of Washington are required by RCW 35.23.352 to obtain a bid guaranty for a "sum of not less than five percent of the amount of the bid, and no bid shall be considered unless accompanied by such bid proposal deposit."  Other types of jurisdictions have similar language in state law.  Some states may require a different percentage for the bid bond.

5% Bid Bonds Are Often Limited to Less Than 5%:  If you read the language of some bid bonds, you will find that the bonding company will not necessarily pay 5% of the amount of the bid to the public agency if the bidder fails to enter into a contract with the public agency.  Instead, the bid bond may limit the amount to be paid to the difference between the bid amount of the low bidder and the bid amount of the bidder actually awarded the contract, for an amount not to exceed 5% of the low bidder's bid.

Here is abbreviated and typical language from an actual bid bond illustrating what is sometimes used in bid bonds to describe what happens if the bidder does not enter into a contract:
...if Principal [Contractor] shall pay to the Owner an amount equal to the difference, not to exceed the amount hereof [5% of the amount of the bid], between the amount specified in said Bid and such larger amount for which the Owner procures the required work covered by said Bid, if the latter be in excess of the former, then this obligation shall be null and void, otherwise to remain in full force and effect."
No Exceptions to 5%:  The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is very clear in their bid specifications that the bid bond amount must be at least 5% of the amount of the bid:  "A proposal bond shall not be conditioned in any way to modify the minimum 5-percent required."  Section 1-02.7 of the WSDOT Standard Specifications.

Practical Tips:
  1. Read the Bid Bond:  If you have a law, policy, or specification requirement for a 5% bid bond, read the language of the bid bond to see if it is really a 5% bid bond, or only a bid bond for the difference between the low and second low bid up to 5% of the amount of the bid.

  2. Require Use of Your Own Bid Bond Form:  Include in your bidding documents a bid bond form and require bidders to use this form in order to ensure that there are no limitations on the amount of the bid bond.
Bid Guaranty Options:  As an alternative to a bid bond, although used less frequently, some public agencies will permit a bidder to submit a cashier's check, a certified check, cash, or a personal money order.

Upcoming Training:  I will be teaching a two hour class in four different locations around the state on "Construction Bonds: Bid, Performance, Payment, Retainage, and Registration."  The class will also include other speakers discussing insurance.  

Here's the schedule:
  • May 5, 2010, Renton
  • May 19, 2010, Camas
  • May 25, 2010, Everett
  • May 26, 2010, Yakima
These free classes are sponsored by the Washington State Chapter of APWA and the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC).  

For more information and to register for these classes, click here.

Change Order Seminar in Southern California

Three hour seminar on Change Orders.

When:  Friday, April 23, 2010 (8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.)

Where:  Long Beach, CA (The Grand Conference Center)

Instructor:  Chip Ossman, President, Ossman Project Management Consulting, Inc.

Sponsored by: Southern California Chapter of CMAA (Construction Management Association of America)

For more information and to register, click here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Checklist for Developing Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria - Now Online

I've developed a checklist to assist public agencies in the State of Washington develop Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria.  

The checklist is posted on my website at, under the Resources section.

The checklist asks a number of key questions to help guide agencies in crafting criteria that are effective.

If you would like training on how to successfully develop and use Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria, please contact me.

Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria are authorized by RCW 39.04.350.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Federal Prevailing Wage Overtime

Federal prevailing wage regulations require the payment of overtime to workers employed on a public works project only if the worker has worked more than 40 hours in a week.  This requirement comes from the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA) and applies only to projects with federal funding.

State prevailing wage regulations may differ.  For example, in Washington State, overtime for prevailing wages is required when the worker has worked over 8 hours in a day, or over 40 hours in a week (RCW 49.28.010).  The only exception to overtime for hours over 8 in a day in Washington State is if there is a written agreement between the worker and the contractor for the worker to work 4 ten hour days and be paid at straight time for such hours (WAC 296-127-022).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Developing Bidder Responsibility Criteria

I conducted an all day training session on April 14, 2010 for the City of Bellingham on "Developing and Managing Bidder Responsibility Criteria on Public Works Projects."  

Topics addressed in the 5.5 hours of training included the following:
  1. What is Bidder Responsibility?
  2. How is Bidder Responsibility Different from Responsiveness?
  3. What Bidder Responsibility is Not
  4. Bidder Responsibility Pre and Post 2007
  5. What Are the Mandatory Bidder Responsibility Criteria?
  6. What Are the Subcontractor Responsibility Criteria?
  7. What Must be Included in Bidding Documents if Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria Are Used?
  8. What Due Process Rights Do Contractors Have?
  9. What Role Do Reference Checks Play in Determining Bidder Responsibility?
  10. Why Might Bidder Responsibility Criteria Delay a Project?
  11. What Are the Interests of Owners, Contractors, and Labor?
  12. How Are Public Agencies Using Bidder Responsibility?
  13. Evaluating CPARB's Suggested Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria
  14. The Future of Bidder Responsibility
This interactive workshop involved evaluating examples of supplemental bidder responsibility criteria from various public agencies, as well as writing criteria for sample projects.

If you are interested in me providing this training for your agency or organization, please contact me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Training on Indemnification Clauses

Indemnification Clauses in Contracts

When: April 20, 2010 (11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

Where: Portland, Oregon

Speakers: Beth Andrus and Terry Scanlan, Skellenger Bender

Sponsored by ACEC Oregon

Monday, April 12, 2010

Training on AIA Contracts

AIA Contracts - an all day training event

When:  May 18, 2010 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Where:  Seattle, Washington (Red Lion Hotel, 1415 Fifth Avenue)

Instructors from Ahlers and Cressman PLLC:
  • Paul Cressman, Jr.
  • John P. Ahlers
  • Bruce A. Cohen
  • Scott R. Sleight
  • $359 per person

For more information and to register, click here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

3 Bills Signed, 2 Bills Vetoed

Steve Goldblatt, recently retired, longtime University of Washington Construction Management faculty member specializing in design and construction law, has been covering the legislative scene in Olympia for more than 25 years.
In this guest blog entry, Steve summarizes two bills vetoed by Governor Chris Gregoire, and three bills signed by the governor.

CPARB Membership vetoed: HB 2575 would have added a regional transit authority representative to the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (RCW 39.10.220). See the bill reports.

Underground Economy vetoed: 2SSB 6575 would have (a) altered penalty reduction conditions by Labor and Industries for first-time contractor registration offenders (RCW 18.27.340) and (b) created a separate account to support contractor registration enforcement (RCW 18.27.070). The latter would have had a multi-million dollar impact on the State's general fund; see the fiscal note and bill reports.

Building Code Council: SHB 2775 (Chapter 275, 2010 Laws) requires any member of the State Building Code Council (RCW 19.27.070appointed to represent a specific private sector industry to maintain similar employment throughout his/her term on the Council effective June 10, 2010.

Off-Site Prefabrication: EHB 2805 (Chapter 276, 2010 Laws) requires—on public works projects estimated to cost over $1 million—contractors to submit lists of specified information regarding certain off-site, prefabricated, nonstandard, project specific items produced outside WA to Labor and Industries as a part of the affidavit of wages paid form (Chapter 39.04 RCWeffective June 10, 2010, through December 31, 2013. A more prescriptive version of the bill (EHB 1836) was defeated in the Senate last session when it failed to receive the necessary majority by a single vote.

Public Transportation Governance: ESHB 2986 (Chapter 278, 2010 Laws) requires the appointment of nonvoting labor members to public transportation governing bodies (RCW 35.58.27036.57.030, and 36.57A.050effective June 10, 2010.

Apprenticeship Conference in Tacoma

The Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference will be held in Tacoma, Washington on May 19 and 20, 2010.

The event is sponsored by a number of organizations including the following:
  • Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
  • U.S. Department of Labor - Office of Apprenticeship
  • Washington State Apprenticeship Training Council
  • Washington State Employment Security Department
  • Statewide IBEW/NECA Labor Management Cooperative Committee
  • Construction Center of Excellence - Renton Technical College
  • Construction Industry Training Council of Washington (CITC)
  • Many others.  Click here for a complete list of members of the steering committee
The conference will include both general sessions and breakout sessions.  Confirmed speakers for the general sessions include:
  • Chris Gregoire, Governor of the State of Washington
  • Adam Smith, U.S. Congressman, 9th District, Washington
  • Dr. Robert Lerman, first Senior Fellow for Labor and Social Policy of the Urban Institute, and American University Economics Professor
  • $175 (for individuals or groups of 4 or less people)
  • $150 (groups of 5 or more people)
For more information and to register, click here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Prevailing Wage Debarments in California

The State of California has debarred two contractors from bidding on or being awarded any public works projects in the state for "deliberate and willful attempts to skirt" prevailing wage requirements.  

Soo Kim Electric Company and Lucid Electric are debarred for three years.

The State Labor Commissioner's Office found the following violations:
  • Failure to pay prevailing wages
  • Failure to pay overtime
  • Payroll reports were falsely certified
  • Falsely reporting the hours worked by employees
One of the contractors instructed its workers to tell investigators that they were being paid $51 per hour, even though they were only receiving $16.25 per hour. 

Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet noted that the debarments "will help to create a level playing field for legitimate employers operating in this tough economic time."

Click here to read the news release from the California Labor Commission.

Public Works Contract Training

Working with the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) who is under a contract with the Washington State Department of Transportation, I provided training all day on Thursday, April 8, 2010 to about 45 public works and contracting professionals from central and eastern Washington.  The training was held in Richland, Washington.

Here's an outline of the topics I covered:

Risk Management Tools: Insurance, Bonds, and Retainage
  • Types of Insurance
  • Occurrence vs. Claims Made
  • Insurance Documentation and Endorsements
  • Bid Bonds
  • Payment and Performance Bonds
  • Contractor's Registration Bond
  • Retainage Bonds
  • Purpose of Retainage
  • Retainage and Sales Tax
  • Options for Managing Retainage
Bidder Responsibility and Bid Responsiveness
  • What is Bidder Responsibility?
  • The Difference Between Responsibility and Responsiveness
  • Bidder Responsibility Before 2007
  • Statute Changes to Bidder Responsibility in 2007
  • Mandatory Bidder Responsibility Criteria
  • Subcontractor Responsibility Criteria
  • Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria
  • What Are the Interests of Stakeholders?
  • Is Bidder Responsibility Working?
  • Abuses of Supplemental Bidder Responsibility Criteria
  • The Future of Bidder Responsibility
  • Principles of Bid Responsiveness
  • 9 Bid Responsiveness Issues
Bidding and Contract Documents:
  • 2 Dozen Things to Remember
Construction Change Orders:
  • 7 Tools to Prevent Change Orders
  • 4 Elements of Change Orders
  • Authorization of Change Orders
  • Advantages of Work by Change Order
  • Reasons for Change Orders
  • Appropriate Uses of Change Orders
  • What is a Cardinal Change?
  • Evaluation of Change Order Requests
  • 3 Methods for Negotiating Change Order Prices
Public Works Contract Close-out: Claims Against Retainage and Bond:
  • Completion Date Terminology
  • Notification to State Agencies and the Public
  • Filing, Renewing, and Releasing Claims
  • Pre-Claim Notices for Suppliers
  • Foreclosure and Payment
  • When to Release Retainage
  • Issues and Drafting Problems with SHB 1555 (2009 Legislation)
  • Preventing Payment Disputes
Please contact me if you would like training on these or other subjects.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reasons for a Sole Source

What are valid reasons for including a sole source product in a public works specification?

In evaluating whether a product should be a sole source, it is important to balance the business and operational needs of the agency with the expectation that public contracting will be open to as many firms as possible.

Here are a couple of reasons that may, depending on the facts, be part of a justification for including a sole source product in a public works project.
  • Public Agency’s Needs:  Only one product available that meets owner’s performance objectives and operational needs
  • Franchise:  Product is available only from one distributor because of a geographic franchise
  • Warranty:  Using another product would void a warranty
  • Compatibility with other equipment, hardware, or systems
  • Operational Impact:  Negative operational impacts
  • Parts:  It is in the agency's best interests to limit the number and type of parts it is required to stock
  • Training:  Training and operational efficiencies from having to train staff on only one system or product
6.Any sole source product should be justified in writing and approved by the appropriate individual at the public agency.  Justifying a sole source is very dependent on the specific facts of a situation.

Annual NIGP Forum

The 65th Annual Forum of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) will meet in San Antonio, Texas from August 12 - 17, 2010.  

Early registration ends on April 30, 2010.

For more information and to register, visit NIGP's website.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Repeal of 3% Federal Withholding Urged

Unless Congress acts to repeal previously adopted legislation, effective January 1, 2012, all federal, state, and local governments will be required to withhold 3% of every payment to vendors, contractors, and consultants and send the money to the IRS.  The intent of the legislation is to reduce underreporting of the payment of taxes due.

The National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) recently went on record urging Congress to repeal the legislation, calling it "an administrative and record-keeping nightmare."

For more information, click on any of the following links:
Without repeal of this legislation, there are significant negative impacts to both government agencies and businesses. 

Training: Ethics 101 and Writing Effective Scopes of Work

I was in Richland, Washington on April 6, 2010 conducting training for Energy Northwest on two subjects: "Ethics in Public Contracting" and "Writing Effective Scopes of Work." 

Here's a summary outline of the 4.5 hours of training:

Ethics in Public Contracting
  • Public Service is a Public Trust
  • 5 Keys to Making Ethical Decisions
  • What's So Important About Appearances?
  • Why Do We Have Public Contracting?
  • 4 Risks of Ethical Lapses
  • Is It a Conflict of Interest?
Writing Effective Scopes of Work
  • 4 Questions to Ask
  • The Importance of Clear Scopes of Work
  • Tips for Writing Scopes
  • What Should be Included in a Scope of Work?
  • Should I Write a Detailed Scope or Performance-Based Scope?
  • What Are Valid Reasons for a Sole Source or Proprietary Scope?
  • How Detailed Should the Scope Be?  4 Issues to Address
  • Resources to Help in Developing Scopes of Work
Energy Northwest is a Joint Operating Agency that provides electricity at cost to 28 member public utilities in the State of Washington, and operates as a public agency.
Please contact me if you are interested in me providing this training, or other training for your organization.

Monday, April 5, 2010

ABA Procurement Symposium

The Public Contract Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA) is sponsoring its 5th Annual State and Local Procurement Symposium on May 14-15, 2010 in Seattle, Washington (Renaissance Seattle Hotel).  

The topic of the symposium is "Pointing the Way: State and Local Procurement in Challenging Times."

Program sessions include the following:
  • There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: The Obligations That Come With ARRA Funds
  • Back to the Future: Technology and the New Decade of State and Local Procurement
  • State and Local False Claims Acts: Identifying, Prosecuting, and Defending Procurement Fraud Claims
  • State and Local Efforts to "Go Green"
  • Rising to New Heights: Trends and Lessons Learned in State and Local Bid Protests
For more information and to register, visit the ABA's website.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

CPARB Survives Budget Axe

Steve Goldblatt, recently retired, longtime University of Washington Construction Management faculty member specializing in design and construction law, has been covering the legislative scene in Olympia for more than 25 years.
In this guest blog entry, Steve summarizes one bill vetoed by Governor Chris Gregoire, and two bills signed by the governor.
Small Business State Purchasing vetoed: E2SHB 1096 would have required General AdministrationInformation Services, and Transportation to develop a plan for doubling the number of small businesses (no more than 50 employees or $7 million annual gross revenue, or certified by the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprisesreceiving state contracts for goods and services by 2014. The original bill would have given a 7% bidding preference to such businesses.

Board and Commission Elimination: E2SHB 2617 (Chapter 7, 2010 Laws 1st Special Session) eliminates 45 boards and commissions effective various dates beginning June 30, 2010; excluding the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (RCW 39.10.220) and the Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee (RCW 43.34.080) which were in the original bill.

Small Business Compliance: 2SHB 2603 (Chapter 194, 2010 Laws) provides small businesses (no more than 250 employees or $7 million annual gross revenue) a copy of any state law or agency rule being violated and two business days' opportunity to correct the violation (Chapter 34.05 RCWeffective June 10, 2010.

WSDOT Amends 2010 Standard Specs

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced amendments to the 2010 Standard Specifications, effective April 5, 2010.  

The amendments can be viewed by clicking here, which includes a six page summary of the most recent changes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wisconsin Fails in Contract Reporting

In 2005, the Wisconsin Legislative approved the Contract Sunshine Act.  The law requires that state agencies report and make available on a website information about all contracts of $10,000 or more.  Transparency in government contracting was a primary reason behind the law.

In a letter dated March 16, 2010, three legislators wrote to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle expressing their concern with the lack of compliance by state agencies with the law.  According to a recently released report, only 14 of the 98 agencies covered by the law had reported any information.  The legislators asked the Governor to "instruct state agency officials to comply with this law."

The agencies that have reported contract information have submitted the information in a variety of different formats.  In addition to ensuring compliance with reporting requirements, the online information would be more useful if it were reported in a consistent format.