The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 28, 2009
After zapped pay raises, what's next at the Leg? Open bids on contracts, Assemblyman hopes
Every day, hundreds of state workers working for dozens of departments, agencies or commissions conduct open bidding before awarding  six- or seven-figure state contracts.

Apparently, the California Legislature itself is not required to award any of its millions of dollars in contracts following competitive bidding.

Now, at least one of its members hopes that soon changes.

State workers should closely watch how the Legislature handles AB 641, a bill introduced Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R- Chino Hills.

Hagman thinks that requiring open bidding on all legislative contracts will eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in how the state's legislators award contracts, stamping out secrecy while ensuring openness and accountability.

The bill is backed by  the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Associated Builders and Contractors of California. Not surprisingly, it has already received a frosty reception from the Assembly business and professions committee.

The committee's analysis of the bill?

A:  Low bids are not always a great idea for Capitol or legislative construction projects.

B:  An open bidding requirement, overseen by the Department of General Services as Hagman proposes, would subvert the independence of the Legislature, etc..

And that was before the bill even went to a hearing Tuesday morning. . .

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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