New York Foundation for Fair Contracting

dedicated to fair and responsible contracting

 

Public Bodies

The NYFFC seeks to educate public bodies about their rights and responsibilities under the laws and regulations of New York State.

Labor Law Section 220

Public bodies (or, "departments of jurisdiction")  play an important role in the enforcement of Labor Law 220, New York's Prevailing Wage Law. The New York State Department of Labor has information about what public bodies are required to do to be in compliance with Labor Law Section 220. This includes attaching the prevailing wage schedule to bids, "submitting a notice of contract award," and collecting certified payroll records. More information can be found at:

http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/publicwork/PWContAgency.shtm

General Municipal Law Section 103

Under General Municipal Law 103, public bodies (otherwise known as "awarding agencies") are charged with public bidding and awarding public works construction contracts to the "lowest responsible bidder. " The law requires the public body to prepare, advertise and publicly open bids for most public works contracts. Once the bids are opened, public bodies review the lowest apparent bidder's compliance with bid requirements such as insurance, bonding,  licensing  or possible apprenticeship program requirements.

After all legal requirements are met, the public body still retains discretion to determine whether the lowest apparent bidder is indeed the lowest responsible bidder. The public body is empowered by law to make a determination provided its decision is based on fact, and not speculation, favoritism or some other improper purpose.

Freedom of Information Law

New York State Law requires that public bodies respond to all Freedom of Information Law requests. More information on these obligations, and exception to the FOIL disclosure requirements, can be found at http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil2.html.

Pursuant to New York law and recently decided caselaw, the public body letting the contract is required to provide certified payroll records with the names and addresses of employees (unredacted) to an interested third party such as the NYFFC, provided that the third party certifies that the information will be used solely to verify compliance with Labor Law ยง 220 and other relevant laws. See Casella v. City of Rochester, 78 AD3d 1597 (4th Dept. 2010); NYFFC v. Town of Hamburg, Index No. 0090/2012 (April 3, 2012).