2/14/17 The Federation-initiated Taxpayer Protection Act (HB 1851) to ensure greater accountability when the state outsources work has united a group of Democratic and Republican House members.
The bipartisan group co-sponsoring HB 1851 is intent on weeding out the “bad apple” contractors who rake in millions from the state but often screw up the job – and then Federation members get the call to fix the mess.
The bipartisan effort makes sense because the state actually contracts for more goods and services than it actually provides directly, Federation Research and Policy Director Alia Griffing told the House State Government, Elections and IT Committee Tuesday (Feb. 14).
Prime sponsor Rep. Laurie Dolan of LD22 said HB 1851 would “require a consistent, smart approach to outsourcing.”
She cited a “lengthy history of times when the state outsourced a job, the job has been done wrong and then our own employees have to go back and make it right,” Dolan said.
“So in essence, what we’re doing is we’ve paid for a job twice.”
Todd Stidd, a Federation council representative who previously worked 12 ½ years doing maintenance and construction work for the Department of Enterprise Services in Olympia, agreed with Dolan.
“I’ve seen contractors come in and do a variety of poor construction, poor practices,” Stidd told the committee.
“They’ve done everything from safety valves being installed improperly to leaving open sewer lines in walls. Then our team had to go in and repair it.
“It’s imperative that we get the oversight and save the taxpayers money and ensure that we are getting the best (product) that we are paying for.”
Wasting money and displacing qualified state workers is not acceptable, Griffing said.
“Taxpayers deserve better than that and so do workers,” Griffing said.
The Taxpayer Protection Act (HB 1851) would increase transparency and accountability for dollars spent on government contracts. It would increase the evaluation of costs, require more robust contract monitoring and mandate contract close-out procedures and reports.
A lobbyist for private contractors testified against the bipartisan bill.
The measure passed the House last year but didn’t pass the Senate.