Thursday, December 18, 2014

Job Opening: Senior Purchasing Agent

Beaverton (Oregon) School District
  • Position: Senior Purchasing Agent
  • Location:  Beaverton, Oregon
  • Closing Date:  January 9, 2015 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time
  • Starting Date:  ASAP
  • Salary: $47,860.80 to $61,609.60 Annually
  • Job Summary:  The individual in this position will perform difficult and complex technical duties related to the purchase of services, supplies, and equipment in accordance with established policies and regulation.  The Senior Purchasing Agent researches, evaluates, and issues Purchase Orders/Contracts for services, supplies, and equipment based on price, service, quality and warranty to meet the needs of the District.  Writes specifications, prepares bid forms and handles bidding process.  Analyzes bid results and makes recommendations and awards.  Authorizes and signs purchase orders/contracts within authority.  Processes purchase orders and employee expense worksheets.  Reviews forms for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with District policy.  Verifies available funds and appropriateness of budget codes.  Prepares and maintains District contract files.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas!

In the next three weeks, many of us will take extra time off from work to spend with family and friends as we celebrate this special season.  It's a good practice for us to step back from the immediacy of the routines that engage our lives, and to savor each moment, each interaction, and the beauty of the creation around us.  

Listen to your life:  Life is short and fragile, and Christmas draws us to live our lives in the moment.  May we remember, not just during these special days ahead, but in the year ahead, to hug our loved ones with a stronger embrace, to verbalize our love and appreciation for family and friends, to slow down and smell the flowers, to breath deeply of the fresh air, to look for the things in our lives for which we are thankful (even the little things), and to see our daily challenges from a longer term and eternal perspective.  

3 week break from the blog:  I will be taking a break from writing this blog for the next three weeks, and will be back in early January.  To the many readers of this blog, thank you for your words of encouragement about how the blog has helped you do a better job in public procurement and contracting throughout the year.  I'm glad to try to provide helpful information that will stimulate conversation and result in improved practices.

Merry Christmas:  Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas as you celebrate together.  See you next year!
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why Designers and Contractors Sometimes Don't Like Design-Build

Design-Build is growing in popularity among public agencies.  It can be a good tool, but depending on how the selection process is structured, it can be problematic and cause unintended consequences for the project, owner, and Design-Builder. 

Price in the selection process:  One of the key issues to decide in developing a Design-Build selection process is how much price be considered.  There are two basic models on this.
  • Limited prices:  In this model, often known as Progressive Design-Build, the owner asks for cost or price-related factors, perhaps the fee (overhead and profit) and general conditions costs.  The construction cost is then negotiated when the design is sufficiently complete.  This avoids requiring the Design-Builder to come up with a complete cost early on when not enough is known about the project.
Steve McNutt
  • Full price:  In this model, the owner asks the competing firms to submit their full price for designing and building the project as part of the selection process.  There are serious challenges associated with this model.  Rather than try to summarize those problems here, I refer you to an excellent, short, and very readable article by Steve McNutt, Principal with NAC Architecture in Spokane, WA that appeared in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce on October 30, 2014.  Click here to read the article: "D/B competitions: a high-stakes poker game you can't win."
Washington state law:  RCW 39.10.330 was modified in 2014 to permit public agencies to request in the selection process "cost or price-related factors" (Progressive Design-Build), rather than the complete price.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, December 15, 2014

2015 Design-Build Conference in San Antonio

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) will sponsor their annual Design-Build Conference for 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.

Where:  San Antonio, Texas

  • January 26, 2015 "Early Bird" registration deadline
  • Click here for more information and to register.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rate

The IRS has announced an increase in the standard mileage reimbursement rate from 56.0 cents a mile to 57.5.0 cents a mile, effective January 1, 2015.  Click here to read the announcement from the IRS.

Check Invoices and Contracts:  If you're a public agency, make sure you check invoices carefully so that you pay the contractual mileage reimbursement rate you've agreed to, which may be pegged to the IRS rate or may be specified in your contract.  If you're a contractor doing business with the government, review your contract before submitting an invoice so that you submit the correct rate on your invoices.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Register for NIGP Forum 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri

NIGP Forum 2015 - Connecting Procurement Communities 

Where:  Kansas City, Missouri 

When:  August 1 - 5, 2015 

10 reasons to attend:
  • #1 Public Procurement Event of the Year

  • Connect with 950+ colleagues

  • Attend 60+ educational sessions

  • Visit 200+ suppliers at the Products Expo

  • Bring back an infinite number of ideas and solutions that will positively impact your agency and your community

  • Grow your skills through educational workshops & in-depth seminars

  • Face time with the NIGP team

  • Learn from subject matter experts in the procurement field by attending relevant, real-world educational workshops

  • Address key procurement trends and dynamics facing governments today

  • Connect with Procurement Communities
Information and registration:  For more information and to register, click here.  
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, December 8, 2014

Court Rules Bid Preference Law is Unconstitutional

An Arizona court has ruled that a City of Tucson ordinance granting local businesses a 5% bid preference is unconstitutional. 

Unconstitutional:  In response to a lawsuit filed against the program, on November 25, 2014, Pima County Superior Court Judge Gus Aragon struck down the City's ordinance as a violation of the Arizona Constitution (Gifts clause and the Equal Privileges and Immunities clause) and the United States Constitution (Federal Equal Protection clause and the Privileges and Immunities clause). 

Appeal by City?  At their meeting of December 9, 2014, the Tucson City Council will consider whether to file an appeal to the decision, or to modify the ordinance.

Additional information:  
Popularity of bid preference laws:  Many state and local jurisdictions across the county have adopted local bid preference laws.  The ruling in Arizona points out some of the constitutional problems associated with such programs. Click here to read some of the other blogs I've written about local bid preferences.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Louisiana Agency's RFP Selection Practices Still Fall Short of Transparency and Best Practices

After more than two years of maneuvering and input from good government watchdog groups, political leaders in Louisiana took very limited, but ultimately misguided and insufficient steps toward creating a more transparent process for selecting firms based on Requests for Proposals (RFPs).  

2 changes approved:  On August 27, 2014, the Jefferson Parish Council voted to make two changes to its selection practices for non-professional services and non-standard items valued at more than $15,000.  (A parish in Louisiana is like a county.) 
  • Council discretion in overruling selection recommendation:  The new ordinance allows the Council to not award to the highest rated firm as evaluated by the selection committee, if the score of the firm selected is within 10% of the score of the highest rated firm.  Previously, the Council had unlimited discretion in ignoring the scores from the selection committee.  While this change represents a movement in the right direction, it still subjects the selection process to inappropriate political influence, and has the impact of negating the published evaluation criteria, since the Council can choose to override the ratings of a technical evaluation committee.  Elected governing bodies should not be involved in the selection process because of the frequently documented connection between awards and campaign contributions. Instead the role of elected governing bodies should be to approve budgets and allow the executive branch to administer those budgets (see my blog on this subject).
  • Price always worth 25% of evaluation points:  The recently adopted ordinance also increases from 20% to 25% the selection criteria points attributable to price in an RFP.  Establishing a set percentage attributable to price in an ordinance is shortsighted and does not recognize the different types of solicitations that public agencies issue.  If a service is very well defined, price should be a higher percentage, while in other instances, where the scope is less well defined and the qualifications of the firm selected are more important than price, the percentage should be lower, even lower than the 25% now embedded in the Parish’s ordinance.  The Council chose to ignore advice on this issue from the independent Bureau of Governmental Research.
More information:  For more information about this issue in Louisiana, see the following resources: 
  • Ordinance 24815, adopted August 27, 2014 by the Jefferson Parish Council.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Job Opening: Lead Senior Buyer

King County, WA
  • Position: Lead Senior Buyer
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  December 15, 2014 at 4:30 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $77,209 to $97,864 Annually
  • Job Summary:  The primary duties of this position include: Establishing and administering contracts. Distributing and overseeing workload. Resolving contract and procurement issues. Providing training to staff and customers. Leading business process improvement projects.  Coaching, mentoring, and leading staff to high levels of professional development, productivity and performance.  Participating in performance evaluations.  
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, December 1, 2014

Training: Construction Manager at Risk Projects

An Introduction to Construction Manager at Risk Projects

When:  January 8, 2015 (8:00 am to 5:00 pm) 

Where:  Boise, Idaho (1301 N. Orchard St., Idaho Correctional Industries) 

Instructor:  Mike Purdy 

Cost:  $300 

Background:  In some states, like Idaho, the Construction Manager at Risk process is called CM/GC (Construction Manager/General Contractor).  In other states, it is referred to as GC/CM.  And in still others, it is called Construction Manager at Risk, CM at Risk, CMR, CMAR, or other terms.  This training will focus on best practices for Construction Manager at Risk projects, and examine the provisions of a new Idaho law that actually has very few requirements associated with implementation of the process.  Effective July 1, 2014, public agencies in Idaho are authorized, by a revision to Title 54 Chapter 45, to use the CM/GC project delivery method for public works construction projects. 

Sponsored by:  Idaho Public Purchasing Association

Registration:  Click here.  Must register prior to January 7.

Questions and more information:  Contact Bob Perkins at

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

As you and your family and friends gather together on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope that you will take a moment during the day to reflect on the many things you have to be thankful for.  

Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness:  Certainly, in this world, we all experience a combination of good things and tragic and difficult circumstances.  But it's a good practice, even in the midst of challenges, to cultivate a spirit of gratefulness and thankfulness for the many blessings of our lives - both the large and consequential things and the little things that enrich our lives.  It's good to train our hearts toward thankfulness not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day. I know some people who write down every day the things for which they are thankful.  Such a practice can help us cope more effectively with the difficult things that we face in life.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I want to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, full of family and friends, a thankful spirit, and an opportunity for worship.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Break from blog:  Because many of us will be taking time off from work this week, this will be the only blog I write this week.  I will resume the blog the week of December 1st.

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Requirements Still Apply for Emergency Public Works Contracts?

When a public agency has declared an emergency and waived competitive bidding requirements for a public works construction project, what is being waived is the contractor bidding and selection process.  In other words, under an emergency contract seeking bids is not required.  

Not enough time to conduct a bid process:  The nature of emergencies dictates that there is not sufficient time to conduct a bid process without raising the risk that individuals may be injured, property damaged, or that the essential functions of government may not be fulfilled.  The definition of an emergency public work varies by state. In Washington state, it is defined in RCW 39.04.280. 

What is required for emergencies:  The following is a list of some of the requirements that still apply for emergency public works projects.  Generally, only the selection process is waived through the emergency declaration.  While this list is based on Washington state law, portions of it may also apply for other states, depending on their specific requirements:
  • Declaration of emergency:  A formal declaration of an emergency must be made.  See RCW 39.04.280.
  • Bidder Responsibility:   The mandatory bidder responsibility criteria of RCW 39.04.350 still apply for emergency contracts.
  • Contract:  There should still be a public works contract documenting the various requirements and the dollar amount of the project, even if it is for a time and materials, not-to-exceed amount.
  • Prevailing wages:  Prevailing wages must still be paid consistent with the requirements of RCW 39.12.
  • Intent:  A Statement of Intent to Pay Prevailing Wages must be approved by the Department of Labor and Industries and filed with the public agency prior to making any payments to the contractor.  A separate Intent must be completed for the contractor and each subcontractor, regardless of tier.
  • Affidavit:  An Affidavit of Wages Paid must be approved by the Department of Labor and Industries and filed with the public agency prior to making payment of retainage to the contractor.  A separate Affidavit must be completed for the contractor and each subcontractor, regardless of tier.
  • Bonds:  A payment and performance bond must be submitted to the agency for the work, in accordance with RCW 39.08.
  • Insurance:  The amounts and types of insurance required on a public works project are governed by each agency and not by Washington state law. 
  • Retainage:  Retainage should be withheld from each progress payment.  See RCW 60.28.  The only exceptions to not withholding retainage is if a retainage bond is submitted by the contractor or if the contractor was selected through the Limited Public Works process under the Small Works Roster (for public works projects less than $35,000), in which case there would have been no need to waive the competitive bidding process.
Timing of emergencies:  While the above items are still required under Washington state law for an emergency public work, agencies must ensure that health, safety, and property are protected and that an agency's essential functions continue to serve the public.  Sometimes, due to the emergency nature of the project, it is important to get a contractor on the job site immediately, perhaps in the middle of the night, to address the emergency.  In such a case, often some of the paperwork requirements are addressed after the fact. 

Emergency procedures:  Washington state law does not have exemptions for public works requirements on emergency projects, other than for the actual bidding and selection process.  It is important that each public agency have clear emergency public works procedures that will dictate:
  • Compliance:  The timing of compliance with the requirements of state law.
  • Authorization:  Who within the agency is authorized to declare an emergency and waive competitive bidding.  This person or persons should be available at any time, which is why it is often problematic to dictate that only an elected board or council may waive competitive bidding.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Receiving and Checking Certified Payrolls on Federally Funded Projects

One of the requirements that comes with federal funding of a public works construction project is the requirement for the public agency to receive and check weekly certified payrolls from the contractor and all subcontractors.  This process helps to ensure that all workers are being paid at least the prevailing wage rate for the classification of labor they performed. 

What should be monitored?  Because the federal Davis-Bacon Act (prevailing wage) requirements are applicable on all federally funded projects, state and local agencies need to have a process in place to ensure:
  • Timeliness:  Payrolls are received in a timely manner.  The Davis-Bacon Act requires that workers be paid weekly, and payrolls must be submitted to the agency weekly.
  • Completeness:  Payrolls must be received for the contractor and all subcontractors, regardless of tier.  This means that public agencies need to have an accurate process for identifying what subcontractors are working on the project.
  • Interviews:  The public agency must conduct field interviews of workers employed by the contractor and subcontractors to collect information on what they state they are being paid.  The results of these interviews must be correlated with the payroll reports submitted to determine if there are any discrepancies between what a worker states he or she is being paid and what the payrolls reflect they are being paid.

  • Review:  Payrolls must be reviewed and monitored on a weekly basis to identify any questions or potential underpayments of prevailing wage to workers.
Audit findings:  The following agencies were recently the subject of audit findings from the Washington State Auditor's Office for failure to collect and monitor prevailing wages on federally funded projects:
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Training: Demystifying Public Works Bidding and Contracting

Demystifying Public Works Bidding and Contracting

When and Where - 8:00 am to 4:30 pm:
  • November 24, 2014 (Yakima, WA, 33 S. 2nd Ave), or
  • December 1, 2014 (Tumwater, WA, 6005 Tyee Dr. SW)
Instructor:  Mike Purdy 

Sponsored by:  WASBO - Washington Association of School Business Officials 

  • $200 for WASBO members
  • $240 for non-members
  • Cost includes workshop materials and lunch
Register and more information:  
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New California Law Unifies Approach to Design-Build

On September 30, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 785, clarifying and consolidating various Design-Build laws for public construction contracts throughout the state.

Use by state and local agencies:  Specifically, the new law provides for uniform Design-Build processes for certain state agencies, cities, counties, and other local contracting districts for projects over $1 million. The law defines a number of common terms, and outlines a standard Design-Build procurement process that includes either selection based on a low bid or a best value approach.  Click here for the legislative analysis of the bill that provides insight into the rationale for SB 785.

Who supported and opposed the bill?  The bill was supported by the AGC of California, some public owners, and the Western Pacific Region of the Design-Build Institute of America. It was opposed by some non-union contractor and subcontractor trade associations.
What is Design-Build? Design-Build is a project delivery method that places design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. Its advantages include reduced project costs, expedited project completion, and better quality due to the integration of design and construction through one firm.  The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has written a Design-Build Done Right Primer that explains key concepts of this project delivery method.

Design-Build nationwide: Rules for use of Design-Build vary from state to state. The Design-Build Institute of America has published a 2013 State Statute Report outlining Design-Build laws in various states.

Managing Design-Build contracts:   Design-Build can be an effective tool for some projects, but it is very important that a public agency selects the right Design-Build partner for the project.  Here are some key guidelines related to the selection process:

  • Think through the selection process carefully up front, including evaluating likely proposers and how the process and point allocation may impact the end result. 
  • Based on the particular project, evaluate the appropriate allocation of points between qualifications/technical merit and price. 
  • Don’t change the selection process mid-stream through the procurement. This can lead to protests and delays for the project. 
  • If the agency does not have personnel with specific Design-Build experience, obtain the services of a qualified consultant to guide the agency though the project.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Free Webcast on the Forecast for Construction in 2015

Is the Pace of Construction Investment Set to Quicken?

When:  November 20, 2014 (11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Pacific Time) 

Where:  Your computer 

Description:  Will 2015 see further steady progress, or will it be sidetracked by the likes of material and labor shortages, commodity price surges, further political bickering in Washington or military turmoil in hot spots around the world? 

Cost:  Free 

  • Ken Simonson, Chief Economist, AGC of America
  • Kermit Baker, Chief Economist, AIA
  • Alex Carrick, Chief Economist, CMD
Register now:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Job Opening: Senior Procurement Specialist

City of Vancouver, WA
  • Position: Senior Procurement Specialist
  • Location:  Vancouver, Washington
  • Closing Date:  Open until filled.  First review: December 2, 2014
  • Salary: $55,512 to $72,168 Annually
  • Job Summary:  The person in this position will provide procurement services to City departments by developing and administering contracts, procuring construction services, public works, professional services, materials, supplies, commodities, equipment, and other services. This position will be responsible for developing and implementing procurement training, strategies to increase contractor participation, and procurement process improvements.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Job Opening: Procurement/Contracts Coordinator

Sound Transit (Seattle)
  • Position: Procurement/Contracts Coordinator
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  November 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $44,339 to $55,424 Annually
  • Job Summary: The person in this position administers the records management of contract files to the entire Procurement & Contracts Division; Works closely with Legal in responding to public disclosure requests and litigation documentation requests;  Supports the development and distribution of reports and documentation in response to auditor, internal customer and requests from the public; Assists in the development and maintenance of the Division’s HUB, SharePoint Team Site and public facing internet web page; Coordinates and troubleshoots the day-to-day operational needs of the Division; Oversees file management of the Procurement and Contracts Department files contained in the library; Provides back-up in the Systems functions as necessary.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Federal VA Procurement Official Resigns Under Ethics Cloud

On October 14, 2014, the federal Veterans Health Administration’s deputy chief procurement officer, Susan M. Taylor, resigned under heavy pressure from Congress and other critics amid charges by the VA’s Inspector General that she “misused her position and VA resources for private gain” of a reverse auction company, FedBid.  The report was forwarded to the Justice Department, who declined to prosecute in favor of allowing VA to manage the abuses administratively.

Why she resigned:  Taylor resigned rather than face almost certain firing by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Taylor came under an ethics cloud and was the subject of an Inspector General’s report for taking the following actions:

  • Pressured staff to give FedBid a preference:  “Engaged in conduct prejudicial to the Government when she pressured contracting staff under her authority to give preference to and award a task order for reverse auction to FedBid.”
  • Acted as agent of FedBid:  “Engaged in a conflict of interest when she improperly acted as an agent of FedBid in matters before the Government.”
  • Disclosed non-public information:  “Improperly disclosed non-public VA information to unauthorized persons.”
  • Use of position and resources:  “Misused her position and VA resources for private gain.”
  • Retaliated against VA employee: “Engaged in a prohibited personnel practice when she recommended that a subordinate senior executive service (SES) employee be removed from SES during her probation period, as Ms. Taylor identified the subordinate as the person she suspected of making protected disclosures of Ms. Taylor’s ethics violations.”
  • Interfered with investigation:  “Interfered with the VA Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) review of the FedBid contract and that she did not testify freely and honestly concerning her involvement in the solicitation and award of the task order to FedBid, as well as other matters.” 
The controversy surrounding Taylor’s actions on the FedBid contract were not the only ethical violations of Taylor over her 30 year career as a federal employee.  Other situations that relate to her personal relationship with another VA employee who was also implicated in the VA scandal, are detailed in the Inspector General’s 81 page report.

What is a reverse auction?  FedBid’s business model provides the framework for government agencies to obtain competitive prices through the use of a reverse auction in which a firm’s price is publicly disclosed and other firms may choose to lower their bid price to be the lowest bidder.  While some officials note that FedBid's reverse auction saves the government money, the savings are reduced by a fee charged by FedBid.

The following links give some of the timeline and background surrounding the VA-FedBid controversy.

Lessons learned:  Unfortunately, there are too many stories like this one at all levels of government, and they serve as a reminder for public agencies to be diligent in managing the ethics environment and culture of an organization.
  • Does your agency have an up-to-date ethics and conflict of interest policy?
  • Do employees know what is in the policy?  Do you provide regular training and discussion on ethics?
  • Does your agency have structures and systems in place to help prevent ethical lapses?
  • Does your agency have appropriate checks and balances, internal controls, and supervision of staff to prevent ethical abuses?
  • What is the culture and tone regarding ethics that is set by the leadership of your agency?
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Training: Construction Project Scheduling & Delay Claims

Construction Project Scheduling & Delay Claims

When:  November 21, 2014 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) 

  • Seattle, WA (Hilton Seattle, 1301 6th Avenue), or
  • Live Webcast from your office 
  • $425 - Government/Non-Profit
  • Other cost categories  
Agenda:  A faculty of 8 highly qualified instructors will address the following issues.
  • 30 Minutes to CPM Proficiency
  • Basic Scheduling Concepts for Delay, Acceleration and Mitigation
  • Primary Legal Concepts for Delay Claims
  • Cost Analysis for Schedule and Delay Claims
  • Addressing Project Delays - Public Sector Perspective
  • Contracting Strategies for Schedule Issues
  • Interesting Projects and Lessons Learned
  • Dispute Resolution and Arbitration of Schedule & Delay Claims
Information and registration:  Click here for more information and to register for this training, sponsored by The Seminar Group.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Job Opening: Senior Buyer

Seattle Public Library
  • Position: Senior Buyer
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  November 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $72,954 to $84,939 Annually
  • Job Summary: Under the direction of the Business Office Manager, the Senior Buyer responds to user department requests for the acquisition of commodities and services which are complex in terms of their acquisition process and contracting requirements. The Senior Buyer will assist managers and staff in analyzing and developing accurate and complete specifications which meet customer requirements and form a basis for competition among vendors; solicits qualified bidders; conducts open, competitive bidding process; evaluates bids; prepares and awards contracts; and monitors vendor performance to ensure contract compliance and customer satisfaction.  The Senior Buyer is also part of a team that plans and administers public work contracts on behalf of the Library.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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