Bill S699-2011

Relates to providing an exemption for school districts from requirements for separate specifications for public works

Provides an exemption for school districts from requirements for separate specifications for public works; permits school district to assign contract to a single responsible person, firm or corporation; permits school district to require a general contractor to submit proposed subcontractor bids; directs the commissioner of education to prepare a study on the impact of such exemption.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO EDUCATION
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO EDUCATION

Meetings

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S699

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend the education law and the general municipal law, in relation to exempting school districts from requirements for separate specifications for public work; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE:

This bill allows school districts to elect a single contractor for building projects.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 adds a new subdivision to section 308 of the education law directing the Commissioner to to issue a report on the impact of exempting school districts from separate bidding requirements.

Section 2 amends Section 101 of the general municipal law by adding a new subdivision 5 allowing school districts to hire a single contractor for work on school district facilities. School districts electing a single contractor may require the apparent low bidder and second low bidder to submit the names of the bidder's proposed subcontractors which may be rejected by a school district on the Same basis a single contractor's bid may be refused. Proposed and approved subcontractors may not be changed without written approval of the school district. Payment of subcontractors shall be in accordance with Section 106-b of the General Municipal Law (prompt payment). The bidder shall specify the value to be paid to each subcontractor. A school district may reject any bid if the business organization, resources, financial standing, or experience of the bidder justifies such rejection.

Section 3 sets the effective date and the length of the terms of this provision to be five years.

JUSTIFICATION:

Currently, the Wicks statute requires school districts to award separate bids for general contracting, electrical, plumbing and heating/venting/air conditioning on all projects exceeding $50,000. New York State is the only state to impose these requirements on public projects. Abolishing the Wicks law has been a priority issue for school officials for the last few decades, as well as many concerned real property taxpayers.

School officials claim that without a single contractor in charge, coordination of the project presents difficulties for a district. In addition, delays often occur resulting in a costlier project and more

disruptions for the students and school personnel while construction is ongoing.

While most public works projects are required to award separate bids, exceptions have been granted over the years to allow for the election of single bid contracts. Exceptions include the New York City Construction Authority (Chapter 738,L.1988) which has had an exemption from Wicks since 1988 and was again recently renewed in 2004 for another five year period. In addition, individual exemptions have been made for specific school projects for the Ithaca City School District (Chapter 500,L.1997), Niagara Falls School District (Chapter 562,L.1996), and the Buffalo School District (Chapter 605, L.2000). The State University Construction Fund (SUCF) is also free from the Wicks mandate. SUCF has built over $2 billion worth of SUNY campuses and has demonstrated that "bid shopping" has not been a problem on single award contracts. In 1999, a Wicks analysis on public construction in New York City provided by Pricewaterhouse Coopers concluded that projects built under the Wicks law cost significantly more and took longer to build than similar projects not subject to the Wicks requirements. Other studies and reports (NYS School Boards Association, 1991; NYS Division of Budget, 1987; Niagara Falls School District, 1996) had similar findings indicating a 10% to 30% savings on projects completed without Wicks. School districts faced with fiscal constraints need the flexibility offered in this bill and taxpayers need the relief currently afforded to the New York City School Construction Authority. The fact that the State has continuously renewed the Wicks exemption for New York City schools since 1988 indicates that a cost savings has been achieved by eliminating the multiple award requirement. School districts outside of the city of New York should be afforded the same opportunity to award a single contractor instead of the presently required multiple contractors. Nothing in this bill precludes a school board, in its discretion, from entering into a Project Labor Agreement.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-2010: S.1254 - Referred to Education 2007-2008: S.2986-A - Advanced to Third Reading 2005-2006: S.4759-A - Advanced to Third Reading

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Cost savings to the state is anticipated as the state provides school districts with a percentage of their building costs through building aid.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Significant cost savings to the local school districts is anticipated.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Effective September 1 next succeeding date and expires five years thereafter, with provisions.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 699 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law and the general municipal law, in relation to exempting school districts from requirements for separate specifications for public work; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The opening paragraph of section 308 of the education law is designated subdivision 1 and a new subdivision 2 is added to read as follows: 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL COMMISSION A STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF EXEMPT- ING SCHOOL DISTRICTS FROM THE SEPARATE BIDDING REQUIREMENTS OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED ONE OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW. SUCH STUDY SHALL INCLUDE THE IMPACT ON TIME FRAMES FOR COMPLETING CONSTRUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS, THE OVERALL COSTS OF SUCH PROJECTS, THE QUALITY OF WORK PERFORMED AND THE INTEGRITY OF THE BIDDING PROCESS. THE COMMISSION- ER SHALL ISSUE SUCH STUDY TO THE GOVERNOR, THE STATE COMPTROLLER, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY IN THE FOURTH YEAR FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 2. Section 101 of the general municipal law is amended by adding a new subdivision 6 to read as follows: 6. A. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS SECTION, SPECIFICA- TIONS FOR WORK PERTAINING TO THE CONSTRUCTION, ADDITION OR IMPROVEMENT OF ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT BUILDINGS OR APPURTENANT FACILITIES MAY PROVIDE FOR ASSIGNMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUPERVISION AND COORDINATION OF ANY OR ALL OF THE CONTRACTS FOR SUCH WORK TO A SINGLE RESPONSIBLE AND RELI- ABLE PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION.
B. WHERE A SCHOOL DISTRICT ELECTS TO PROVIDE FOR THE ASSIGNMENT OF A CONTRACT TO A SINGLE PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH A OF THIS SUBDIVISION, SUCH SCHOOL DISTRICT MAY REQUIRE THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER AND, AT THE DISCRETION OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, THE APPARENT SECOND LOW BIDDER, TO SUBMIT TO THE DISTRICT THE NAMES OF THE BIDDER'S PROPOSED SUBCONTRACTORS FOR THE ELECTRICAL WORK; HEATING, VENTILATING AND AIR CONDITIONING WORK; AND THE PLUMBING WORK. ONLY ONE PROPOSED SUBCONTRACTOR SHALL BE NAMED FOR EACH SUCH TRADE. SUCH PROPOSED SUBCON- TRACTOR OR SUBCONTRACTORS MAY BE REJECTED BY THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ON THE BASIS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH E OF THIS SUBDIVISION. UPON REJECTION OF A PROPOSED SUBCONTRACTOR OR SUBCONTRACTORS, THE SCHOOL DISTRICT MAY REQUIRE THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER TO SUBMIT AN ALTERNATE PROPOSED SUBCON- TRACTOR OR SUBCONTRACTORS WITHIN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS. SHOULD THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER FAIL TO PROPOSE ALTERNATE SUBCONTRACTORS SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, THE SCHOOL DISTRICT MAY CONSIDER THE NEXT APPAR- ENT LOW BIDDER AND SHALL FOLLOW THE SAME PROCEDURE SET FORTH IN THIS PARAGRAPH. SUCH PROPOSED SUBCONTRACTORS OF THE BIDDER, APPROVED BY THE SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL BE USED ON THE WORK FOR WHICH THEY WERE PROPOSED AND APPROVED, AND THEY SHALL NOT BE CHANGED EXCEPT WITH THE SPECIFIC WRITTEN APPROVAL OF THE DISTRICT. C. PAYMENT TO THE PROPOSED SUBCONTRACTORS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH B OF THIS SUBDIVISION, SHALL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED SIX-B OF THIS ARTICLE. IN THE EVENT ANY SUCH SUBCONTRACTOR IS NOT PAID BY THE CONTRACTOR, THE SUBCONTRACTOR SHALL IMMEDIATELY NOTI- FY THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF SUCH FACT. D. WITH THE SUBMISSION OF THE NAMES OF THE PROPOSED SUBCONTRACTORS AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH B OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THE BIDDER SHALL SPECIFY THE VALUE TO BE PAID EACH SUCH SUBCONTRACTOR FOR THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED BY SUCH SUBCONTRACTOR. E. A SCHOOL DISTRICT MAY REJECT ANY OR ALL BIDS OR WAIVE ANY INFORMAL- ITY IN A BID IF IT REASONABLY BELIEVES THAT THE PUBLIC INTEREST WILL BE PROMOTED THEREBY. A SCHOOL DISTRICT MAY REJECT ANY BID IF, IN ITS JUDG- MENT, THE BUSINESS ORGANIZATION, RESOURCES, FINANCIAL STANDING, OR EXPE- RIENCE OF THE BIDDER JUSTIFIES SUCH REJECTION IN VIEW OF THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED. F. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO TITLE SIX OF ARTICLE EIGHT OF THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES LAW. S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of September next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law, and shall apply to all contracts advertised or solicited for bid on or after such effec- tive date; provided that the provisions of this act shall expire and be deemed repealed five years after such effective date.

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