Friday, April 24, 2020

Construction Bid Issues: Virtual Training on April 30th

NIGP is sponsoring an all day class I've developed and will be teaching this coming Thursday, April 30, 2020 entitled "When Bad Things Happen to Bids: Strategies for Ensuring a Successful Public Construction Project."

The course was originally scheduled to be an in-person class in Florida, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been switched to a virtual Zoom training, thus making it available to people across the country.

The class will run from 8:00am to 5:00pm Eastern time. So, if you're on the west coast (like I am), it will be an early start to the day!

Click here to go to NIGP's webpage about the class and how to register for it. The registration fee is $410.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2020 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Construction Projects

As our nation and the world grapple with managing the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we are witnessing an unprecedented upheaval of the foundations of society. How should public agencies and contractors be responding and how does it impact construction projects? 

Resources: I want to share a couple of articles posted online by Seattle law firms that have good discussions on the concept of force majeure (also known as acts of God), other legal concepts, and how this impacts contractual relationships. I hope these articles help provide a framework as you address the impacts of COVID-19. 

Read Your Contract: Be sure to check the specific language of your contract and consult with your attorneys. 

Links: Here are the links:
Social Distancing Resource: Need a good book to read as you're practicing social distancing? A friend of mine recently bought 15 copies of my book, and had me sign each one for her to give as gifts to family, friends, colleagues, and mentors. It's an easy, shocking, and fun read. You can buy it online at 
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2020 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Insurance and Insults

Insurance and insults? How do they go together? Well...they don't. In this blog, I want to share two separate things. 

Does a Certificate of Insurance protect you? In a recent court case, the court found that a certificate of insurance by itself does not give a party additional insured rights and does not change or modify the underlying insurance policy. In order to be covered and protected as an additional insured, you must obtain an endorsement (or amendment) to the contractor's insurance policy that names your entity as an additional insured, either by specifically naming your entity, or through a blanket endorsement adding the additional insured protection to your entity. Jay Rossiter of the Perkins Coie law firm has written a brief and very readable summary of the issues. Click here to read the summary. 

101 Presidential Insults: I’m excited to announce the publication of my new book about our presidents – how they’ve historically insulted one another – and what this lack of civility means to us in our current political environment.

101 Presidential Insults: What They Really Thought About Each Other – and What It Means to Us peeks behind the political curtain – exposing that our presidents have dished out acerbic insults about other presidents from the founding fathers to the age of Trump. Meticulously researched, the book is a significant contribution to our understanding of the character of the 44 characters who have served as president. In it, I challenge us and our leaders, despite our sordid history, to rise to "the better angels of our nature" and reject the acidic politics of personal demonization.

101 Presidential Insults is a quick and fun read, shocking at times, sobering, and thought-provoking. It is a must read for anyone interested in history and concerned about the current lack of civility in politics. 

How you can help: I be grateful if you’d help get the word out about the book.

Buy the book now by pre-ordering it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Any bookstore can order the book as well for you as it will be available through the main distributors that bookstores use to buy their books. The book will be released on June 7, 2019. The more pre-orders for the book, the more Amazon and Barnes and Noble will promote the book. 

Forward this email to your family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, acquaintances, and others who may be interested in it.

Share information about the book (a link to the Amazon or Barnes and Noble addresses noted above or other information) on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and other social media platforms. 

Write a review of the book after you receive it and post it to Amazon by June 25. The more reviews the book has early on, the more Amazon will promote the book. Your review doesn’t have to be long. Just some quick and positive thoughts about the book.

Speaking: I’d be grateful if you would pass my name on to people if you know of opportunities to speak to a group or organization with which you are associated. 

More about 101 Presidential Insults:

Private and Public Insults: Sometimes in private letters, diaries, and conversations, they let their guard down on what they really thought about a former, deceased, current, or future president. At other times, these insults have been audaciously proclaimed in public speeches, books, and to the media. By their own words, our presidents have demonstrated their flawed humanity with insults that are often humorous and sometimes shocking for their lack of decorum. We may laugh or perhaps wince as we read these 101 presidential insults.

Examples of Insults: The presidents have labeled one another as dangerous, ignorant, liars, obstinate, selfish, unfit, vain, and weak. And these are just some of the commonplace words. They have also used biting and bitter phrases such as gibbering idiot, little schmuck, and young whippersnapper. Some bizarre insults require research and a dictionary to understand, such as "Byzantine logothete."

Book Contents: The book includes:

- Introduction: A thoughtful and challenging introduction calling for increased civility in our private lives and the public square.

- Quotations: 101 humorous, shocking, and sobering quotes by the presidents about other presidents that includes a brief description of the occasion, source (letter, diary, speech, etc.), and date for each insult. There is at least one quotation about each president, demonstrating that such behavior has been around since the nation's founding and occurs regardless of political party affiliation.

- Glossary: A glossary of the obscure terms used by presidents about other presidents such as "honeyfuggler," "bungalow mind," and “puzzlewit.”

- Lists: Three lists (alphabetical by insult, about/by list, and numerical analysis by source of insults) help the reader to view these caustic comments from different angles. 

- End notes citing primary sources for the quotes (when known), or reliable secondary sources that reference primary sources. The end notes are a significant contribution to documenting these quotes. I chose not to include some quotes that I could not track down.

2020 Challenges: The upcoming presidential election will be a test of our national character and the character of the candidates. Ultimately, our survival as a nation depends on our ability to treat others with respect, and to promote civility, consensus, and compromise.

Praise for 101 Presidential Insults

"Mike Purdy has written a terrific book. As a presidential historian, he has a gift for discovering just the right anecdotes that help us understand our presidents better. Really well done."
White House bureau chief, West Wing Reports,
USA Today columnist,
Author of Under This Roof: The White House and Presidency

“Filthy, disgraced, lying, cheating, calculating bastard, schemer, a dangerous man, a little schmuck, unfit to serve...Mike Purdy brings us into the political locker room, where nothing is left unsaid. This book is a statement on the dark humanity of American presidents—sad and hilarious, at the same time.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President

“Mike Purdy provides a picture of these presidents as flawed or, rather, human leaders—prone to the pettiness, anger, and incivility that even the best of us exhibit. This book should be required reading for those concerned about the current political climate. Perhaps in knowing the past we can chart a new, more civil course. It’s also great reading for those who enjoy a good laugh!”
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at
Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Washington)

“Anyone reading this book will have reactions of laughter, shock, and amazement as they learn more about the personalities of our 44 Presidents. This book is highly recommended to all who follow and love the institution of the American Presidency.”
Author of Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency

“Mike Purdy's track on 101 Presidential Insults reveals a side of presidential politics that is at once delightful and shocking. We will see plenty of mudslinging going into the 2020 election, but 101 Presidential Insults reminds us that it really has always been that way.”
Former Member of Congress

I hope you pre-order the book today and enjoy it! Thanks!!

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2019 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Problem with Bid Prices in Numbers and Words

Tennessee construction attorney Matthew DeVries has described the outcome of an Alabama court case in which a bidder left out the word "thousand" in a bid price and was held to the significantly lower bid amount by the public agency. The contractor refused to execute the contract because they would loose too much money and the public agency collected from their bid bond.

Allow withdrawal of bid if error is made:  Public agencies should generally allow a contractor who has made a mistake to withdraw their bid.  It is not in either the contractor's or the public agency's best interest to enter into a contract in which the contractor will loose money.

Request bid prices in numbers only: Public agencies should also not require bid prices in words, but only numbers. It's a way to make the bid process simpler and eliminate yet another area for non-responsiveness and ambiguity. In the event you can't read a contractor's bid price in numbers, language in your bid documents allowing rejection of the bid as non-responsive can resolve the lack of clarity in the bid amount.  

Click here to read Mr. DeVries brief blog post on this court case.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2018 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, November 20, 2017

Leadership Lessons from the Presidents (for Public Procurement Employees)

On November 16, 2017, I had the privilege of speaking before approximately 125 public procurement officials at the annual luncheon of the Central Ohio Organization of Public Purchasers in Columbus, Ohio.  Click here to listen to my talk.

I spoke on the topic of "Leadership Lessons from the Presidents." Whether it's leadership from the Oval Office or leadership in adding value to the procurement process, there are common styles and principles that make for successful leaders. My 53 minute talk takes us back in history to examine successful and unsuccessful leadership styles of a handful of presidents, and how we can apply those practices to the management of public procurement and contracting.

By way of summary, I suggested there are four characteristics of good leaders.  Under each category, I had sub-points as noted below:
  • Moral Leadership
  • Empathy
  • Style
  • Humor
  • Communication
  • Compromise
  • Listening
  • Civility
  • The Art of Possibility
  • Bold Leadership
  • Thirst for Information
Click here to listen to my talk.

Please contact me if you're interested in having me deliver this talk at your agency, association, or conference.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2017 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bid Form Signature Block

This is a follow-up to my recent blog posting about the new Washington state law adding compliance with the state's minimum wage laws as a mandatory bidder responsibility criterion.

Bidder's Place of Signing Bid Form:  I noted that that one option for obtaining the documentation of the bidder's compliance is to include a statement on the bid form.  The bidder would then just sign one document.  Such a signature must be accompanied by a statement that the bidder is signing the bid form under the penalty of perjury.  The revision to RCW 39.04.350 requires compliance with RCW 9A.72.085 which, in addition to the perjury statement requires that the signature block must note the place of signing by the bidder.

Sample Signature Block:  I've included below a signature block that I've used in the past that includes both the perjury statement and place of signing.

Consult With Your Attorney:  Review your bid form and check with your attorney to ensure that your bid form is in compliance with state law, especially if you are including the sworn statement for compliance with minimum wage laws on your bid form.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2017 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Mandatory Public Works Bidder Responsibility Criteria Effective July 23, 2017

The Washington Legislature adopted a new law (Senate Bill 5301) that adds an additional criterion to the list of mandatory bidder responsibility criteria that public agencies must verify and document before awarding any public works project, regardless of cost.  

Effective Date:  The new law became effective on July 23, 2017.  This means that public agencies must ensure that the required sworn statement is obtained prior to award of the public works project. 

Minimum Wage Compliance by Bidder:  The new law establishes a new criterion relating to the contractor's compliance with the state's minimum wage laws.  It also dictates that, prior to award, the contractor must sign a statement that they have not violated the law within a three year period.
  • Criterion:  Here's the language from the law: "Within the three-year period immediately preceding the date of the bid solicitation, not have been determined by a final and binding citation and notice of assessment issued by the department of labor and industries or through a civil judgment entered by a court of limited or general jurisdiction to have willfully violated, as defined in RCW 49.48.082, any provision of chapter 49.46, 49.48, or 49.52 RCW."
  • Documentation:  Here's the language from the law on what is required for documentation: "Before award of a public works contract, a bidder shall submit to the contracting agency a signed statement in accordance with RCW 9A.72.085 verifying under penalty of perjury that the bidder is in compliance with the responsible bidder criteria requirement of subsection (1)(g) of this section.  A contracting agency may award a contract in reasonable reliance upon such a sworn statement." The reference to subsection (1)(g) refers to the "criterion" paragraph above.
Methods for Verifying Bidder's Compliance:  There are a number of options, some better than others, for how a public agency can obtain the required sworn statement from the bidder whose bid is under consideration by the public agency for award. I recommend use of the first option listed below.

  Include Sworn Statement on Bid Form:  This option is the easiest administrative method and least risky option.  I recommend use of this option.  Under this option, a public agency would include the following statement as part of the Bid Form:  "The undersigned Bidder hereby certifies that, within the three-year period immediately preceding the bid solicitation date for this Project, the bidder is not a “willful” violator, as defined in RCW 49.48.082, of any provision of chapters 49.46, 49.48, or 49.52 RCW, as determined by a final and binding citation and notice of assessment issued by the Department of Labor and Industries or through a civil judgment entered by a court of limited or general jurisdiction."  In addition, the following language would need to be part of the signature block for the Bid Form: "I certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington that the foregoing is true and correct."  This statement is necessary to comply with the provisions of the new law that dictates that the sworn statement must be in compliance with RCW 9A.72.085.

  Request Sworn Statement from Low Bidder:  Under this option, after bid opening, the public agency would request the low bidder submit the sworn statement after bid opening.  The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) has developed a sworn statement for this purpose.  Click here to visit MRSC's website where you can click on the link for "model certification form."  This is an additional step for the public agency that can be eliminated by including the sworn statement on the Bid Form (see option above). While I don't recommend this option because it is an additional step, there is nothing inherently wrong with this option.

  Include Sample Sworn Statement in Bid Documents:  Under this option, a public agency would include MRSC's model certification form as a sample in the bid documents.  The public agency would still be required to obtain the signed form from the low bidder prior to award, which represents an additional step like the option immediately above. It could be confusing for bidders whether they are required to submit the sample with the bid or after bid opening.  I do not recommend this option.

  Require Separate Sworn Statement be Submitted with the Bid:  Using MRSC's model certification form, under this option, the bid documents would require that the signed sworn statement be submitted with the bid.  This is not a good option, as it increases the risk that a bidder (the low bidder) will fail to submit the sworn statement with the bid, thereby rendering the entire bid non-responsive and unable to be considered further.  Using best practices for public works bidding, public agencies should limit the number of documents submitted with the bid to the Bid Form, bid guaranty, subcontractors list if the project is estimated to cost $1 million or more, and any documents required by federal or state grant provisions. I strongly recommend that public agencies not use this option. 

Other Mandatory Bidder Responsibility Criteria:  The new law adds compliance with minimum wage laws to the existing list of mandatory bidder responsibility criteria that public agencies must verify and document prior to award of any public works project.  The other criteria may be found in RCW 39.04.350.  Review your agency's practices to ensure that you have a process to verify and document the mandatory bidder responsibility criteria for all public works projects. 

Other New Public Works Laws:  See my blog from April 17, 2017 for a description of five new public works laws that do the following:
  • Increases the dollar threshold for when a payment/performance bond may be waived
  • Grants subcontractors additional rights to have retainage released early through a retainage bond
  • Adds an additional criterion to the list of mandatory bidder responsibility criteria
  • Authorizes Public Utility Districts to contract for on-call public works projects
  • Authorizes transit agencies (public transportation benefit area authorities) to use Job Order Contracting
Presidential History Blog:  Check out my Presidential History Blog at and sign up for a free email subscription to it.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2017 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC