NYFFC supports the responsible bidding laws set forth by the state of New York. These laws ensure that responsible contractors who abide by the law and deliver a high quality product have a fair shot at public works contracts. Responsible bidder laws level the playing field in the construction industry by requiring contractors to finish jobs in a timely manner, pay their workers a standard wage, and efficiently use community tax dollars.
Responsible bidder laws remind municipalities that they have the legal right to bypass the lowest bidder if that company is not responsible. The most responsible bidder is not always the least expensive but, over time, responsible contractors will guarantee a greater return on investment due to a higher quality product.
NY RESPONSIBLE BIDDING LAW
The NYFFC believes that it is important to educate public bodies about their rights and responsibilities under the New York Responsible Bidder Laws. There are several laws currently in place that are important to understand when discussing responsible bidding:
General Municipal Law Section 103 charges public bodies with awarding construction contracts to the “lowest responsible bidder.” This law states that public bodies must advertise bid opportunities. Under GML 103, contractors responding to a bid opportunity must complete a questionnaire and show proof of their responsibility. The public body awarding the contract must review and evaluate all questionnaires before awarding the bid.
After the bids have been submitted, the awarding agencies will review the lowest bidder’s compliance with legal requirements and bid specifications. This law allows the public body to make its decision based on publicly announced factors and not favoritism or any other improper purpose. At the end of an advertised bid period, the public body must publicly open bids received.
Labor Law Section 220 requires contractors and subcontractors to post the prevailing wage rate in a prominent place for workers to see, and on the workers’ paystubs.
The Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) allows citizens and citizen groups to request public information from government bodies. Public or government agencies must respond to requests with available documents. The NYFFC uses FOIL laws to obtain certified employee payroll records, daily work logs, and contracts to verify contractor compliance with Labor Law Section 220 and other relevant laws.
None of the above laws, or any other NYS or federal contracting or labor laws, provides an advantage to union contractors. The NYS responsible bidder laws exist to ensure fair and responsible contracting.
RESPONSIBLE BIDDING IN MUNICIPALITIES
Under the New York State General Municipal Law section 103, a state body has the right to award a contract to the lowest responsible bidder with a strong compliance history. Municipalities across the state have further developed responsible bidder laws to reinforce the responsible language in GML 103.
A municipality can ensure that it awards public works contracts to responsible contractors by passing local responsible bidder law. Such laws will specify certain criteria the contractor must follow in order to qualify for the contract. Responsible bidder laws may require contractors to submit information on its financial responsibility, and accountability. The municipality can establish standards to evaluate bids based on the stated criteria and information.
Public bodies may require bidding contractors to submit the New York State Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire, which is required by state agencies such as NYSDOT and NYS Dormitory Authority, as part of their bid process. The Responsibility Questionnaire requires detailed disclosure of a contractor’s financial integrity, past performance, and past violations of certain laws. Utilizing this questionnaire is a smart way to introduce responsible bidding at a local level as many contractors are familiar with this system and have previously completed the questionnaire.
The NYFFC assisted Cattaraugus County with the passage of its Responsible Bidder Law, which uses the NYS Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire. If your municipality does not currently have an individual responsible bidder law, the NYFFC will provide the support and guidance necessary to assist with the creation of a responsible bidder ordinance for your community. There is also no cost associated with the passage of the Responsible Bidder Laws.
START A CAMPAIGN IN YOUR MUNICIPALITY
To start a campaign in your municipality to create a responsible bidder law, please contact us.
SUBMIT A COMPLAINT
If you believe a company has violated the New York responsible bidding laws, please contact us to submit a complaint.