Legislation Would Make It Harder For Bad Contractors To Win City Contracts

Contractors who perform poorly on city projects in San Francisco could soon have a harder time winning future contracts, even if they put in the lowest bid.

Supervisor Scott Wiener on Tuesday introduced legislation aimed at reforming the city’s contracting process by allowing city departments to take a contractor’s past performance into account when considering bids.

Currently, city departments are required to award contracts to the lowest bidder, regardless of past performance. In practice, this means that contractors with a history of delays, poor workmanship, bad safety records or a lack of experience can win city contracts.

Ultimately, this costs taxpayers more money and can produce substandard work, Wiener said.

“We are making unprecedented infrastructure investments in San Francisco, and taxpayers deserve the best overall value when we spend precious public dollars to pave our streets, renovate our parks, or build our transit systems,” Wiener said.

Under the proposed legislation, each city department would create criteria for evaluating bids that include factors such as past performance, safety records, labor practices, management competence and experience, and the financial condition of the company. Those criteria would then be made available to all bidders ahead of time.

Other cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, use similar “best value” contracting practices, and a Civil Grand Jury report released last year called for San Francisco to adopt them as well.

Wiener introduced the legislation, which was co-sponsored by board president London Breed and Supervisor Katy Tang, with the support of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 6.

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