Tuesday, March 11, 2014

No Authority for Public Works Resident Preference by Local Agencies in Washington

The following question was recently posed to the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) and their answer follows: 

Question:  May the city require that a certain percentage of employees on a public works contract be local residents? 

MRSC Answer:  No. There used to be a state statute, RCW 39.16.005, that required that contractors on public works projects employ a certain percentage of Washington State residents, but it was held to be unconstitutional in Laborer's Local Union No. 74 v. Felton Construction Co., 98 Wn.2d 121 (1982), and was later repealed. MRSC consistently advises that it is beyond the authority of local governments to include similar requirements in their bid specifications. 

See also AGO 61-62 No. 41, which discusses the lack of authority of local jurisdictions to include any kind of local preference in bidding unless specifically authorized by a specific state statute - which does not exist in this case.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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