Public agencies are experiencing a contracting issue when seeking to partner with private engineering and architectural firms on infrastructure projects: Consultants (licensed engineers, land surveyors, architects, planners, geologists) are increasingly inappropriately subjected to the terms of California Government Code Section 1090 by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and precluded from participating in subsequent phases of work if they had any involvement in an earlier phase. The consequences are that projects may not be developed with the most qualified professionals thus depriving the public of the most excellent and safest infrastructure possible, as well as potentially increasing project cost.
The inflexible application of Government Code Section 1090 to these professionals poses a threat to the consultant-client working relationship and limits access to the most qualified services provided by design professionals. Procurement laws for design professional services (Government Code § 4525 et seq.) dictate that any project affecting infrastructure in California must be designed, overseen, and inspected by the most qualified and competent professionals available. Precluding specific professionals from working on successive phases of a project can force consultants to choose to withhold proposals for early phases of work, resulting in chances that the best solutions or design for a project will be unavailable during the critical early phases of project development. Design professionals are bound by their license to high ethical standards. Public interest is not served when the pool of qualified consultants who may propose during any stage is limited by overly broad application of regulation intended to protect against corrupt public officials.
Coachella Valley Water District SUPPORTS this legislation and has submitted a letter to the author and to the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting. If your entity has experienced problems associated with contracting and conflicts of interest due to the current narrow reading of Government Code Section 1090 you may wish to submit a similar letter. Letters must be submitted through the California Legislature Advocates portal.
If you have questions about the CVWD's letter of support or how your organization can engage on AB 626, please contact Kristen Johnson, Government Affairs Specialist at (760) 398-2651 ext. 3564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.