Travis County

Purchasing Office Items

Receive briefing regarding the Contract Compliance Program. (Commissioner Daugherty)


Department:PurchasingSponsors:Commissioner Gerald Daugherty

Meeting History

Jul 30, 2019 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

Members of the Court heard from:

Tenley Aldredge, Director, Contract Compliance, Purchasing

Diana Ramirez, Director, Economic Development & Strategic Investments, PBO



Jul 30, 2019 9:00 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoCommissioners CourtVoting Session

3:29 PMVery, very poor strategy on my part. So I would ask the members of the commissioners court as you fill out that sheet, do check in with one another and see that there is another member of the commissioners court that's also interested in that. If it's just one, that just creates work, actually.
And it's very important to note this is really designed for select budget topics or budget hearings. It's not a process that would bode well for multiple items to be selected.
So do use that bulletin board to check in with one another and get this down truly to probable budget hearings rather than just kurtly budget hearings -- courtesy budget hearings.
3:30 PMIf this is too detailed and too much, and you only have one thing, feel free to write that.

3:30 PMJust say my one topic is x and that's final fine with me. I will see you in a week.
Next let's go to contract compliance, agenda item number 15.
We didn't need to take action on the budget hearing schedule?
No. receive briefing regarding the contract compliance program. Hello, y'all.
Good afternoon. I didn't recognize you without your colored hair.
It's been a while.
This is item 15 and we did send in our presentation.
There it goes. or soon. It's coming soon.
Perfect. good afternoon, Judge And commissioners. Thank you very much forgiving me the opportunity to present this update and to share a little information about what we have been doing in the contract compliance program and by extension better builder program over the past 12 months or so. As you know, the contract compliance program was formed about two years ago as a comprehensive contract monitoring program that was designed to track county vendor's compliance with terms and conditions of their contracts. The goals of the program are pretty straightforward, to minimize compliance issues, to improve contract or performance and accountability, and to ensure that the county is getting what it pays for. To maximize the value of our county contracts and ensure who and we walk them through each certification. We held one last week and two last year. There will be more to come, next one in september. Next one is in september. We also try to attend quarterly meetings with the association of general contractors to discuss the better builder program and refinements we make from time to time to the program documentation. We've create a robust website. You will see a photograph of a list of things on our website. All of our better builder certifications and associated documentation are on the website. We have how-to pages, faqs, an excell spread sheet which lists over 450dol registered apprenticeship programs and this is to help contractors in their outreach efforts. You probably recall that use of apprentice labor is a fundamental principle of better builder. We learned that from workers defense project and our training with them. The reasoning behind that is that use of apprentice labor encourages upscaling of the workforce and provides a career in the construction industry for many of these workers. We have information about the benefits of paying a living wage. We recently added a link that's pretty cool. We learned about it through d. O. L. Training in san antonio which provides free osha 10 training in english and spanish, very vehiclely all around the state of texas. We have shared this information with a few primes we've listen dealing with and they were grateful for this information. We do believe this will be particularly helpful for small subcontractors and hub subcontractors who May find it hard to get trained. Since the better builder program was adopted last may, we've been meeting regularly with facilities, with tnr, project managers, again, to talk about better builder, to discuss the process of our monitoring and compliance assistance activities and we continue to meet with deanna and her staff. Last month -- was it last month we had the purchasing office workshop? I think it was last month we had a purchasing office workshop that lee perry manages. The theme was innovation so he decided to have us present because we are through and through a very innovative program. And then finally, it's important to us to give briefings like this to the commissioners court despite my aversion to public speaking. We want you to know what we're doing. When we started this program about two years ago, we knew its success was contingent upon building relationships not just with county departments and contracting community here in travis county, but also with other public agencies. Most governmental entities like yourself do the most that they can to make sure that the individuals and the companies they do business with are adhering to the terms and conditions of their contracts and following the regulations that govern those contracts. The problem is, as usual, limited resources. Everyone is challenged by limited resource. A good example is up here on the screen. Some osha statistics. Osha currently has 2200 inspectors in the united states who monitor 130 million workers over 8 million work sites. That translates to one osha inspector for every 59,000 workers. In recent training at d. O. L. , they told us, we were told it would take 72 years for current osha inspectors to visit every job site that is subject to osha. So like osha, many public agencies simply don't have the band width to cast a very wide monitoring and enforcement net and that's where we think establishing relationships with them, sharing best practices and learning, educating one another about program activities can create efficiencies and broaden that monitoring and compliance net so that we can overall have a larger any questions? [applause]
3:57 PMBravo.
Truly. a small but mighty band of folks. This is unprecedented in the state of texas that we would have this better builder compliance program with so few people but such a deep reach and it is because of this relationship building this group of six has done with the construction community as well as the -- the construction worker community. Both sides, the employer and the employed. So really just tremendous work. It's one thing to set policy, it's another to make sure that you can actually implement it and monitor it and that's often where government fails. We set good intentions without thinking about the back end. And this is the back end doing some amazing work. With very few people. Through relationships. Commissioner Shea.
3:58 PMThe -- in the past few years there were a lot of news stories about workers really suffering, and I think in one case even dying from not having sufficient water breaks during construction work or work, I don't recall exactly what it was, I think it was construction, and deaths and injuries. Is that part of what we're also monitoring with the better business program in it? And i've not heard these stories recently, so i'm assuming that -- I don't know, maybe we're raising the bar throughout the community, but if you could speak to that, I would be interested to hear.
I do hope we're raising the bar, and yes, that is one of the questions I mentioned our job site interviews with construction workers in english and spanish and we ask are you receiving mandatory water breaks and are you being paid for rest and water breaks. And the answer has been I believe yes on every occasion. At the probate court we noticed it's very hot in there. Eddie and dennis came back drenched because there's obviously no air conditioning and they said there was a water -- like a water cooler or dispenser on every floor. That appears to be well maintained and well stocked. From what we observed, but we do observe that type of thing too and we would record that and ask questions about it if we did see someone that we thought was suffering from heat-related illness. We also have this cool -- we learned from d. O. L. Cool apps you can download on your phone, heat index, and you can go into anywhere, walk down a street or go into a job site and this application will tell you basically the risk level of% the heat index. So yes.
3:59 PMThank you.
4:00 PMWhen you go do a site visit for a pid, are you -- do you get compensated for that? Is there a --
Bonnie doesn't stop my pay, if that's what you mean.
No, I mean does deanna, is that part of --
I can address that. when my staff -- for pids because they are eligible for better builder recognition, they are not recall those worker protection standards because they didn't want them to be called better builder, but they are basically falling all of the better builder standards and requirements. So when, of course, me and my staff go on, that's just our regular pay. But because they are large projects subject to better builder recognition down the road, those projects will also be monitored by workers defense projects once a quarter, and so wrapped into the pid -- I believe it's the financing agreement, I can't remember where that is, but so yes, when workers defense project comes on to the pid sites to sort of monitor us, again, this is only for the next two years we'll be under contract with workers defense, but basically before we graduate from workers defense as the Judge Put it, they want to make sure we're following their protocols so when they go on to the job site they will be compensated from the pid developer.
4:01 PMCorrect. so the better builder folks, their contract will be paid -- their portion of the contract would be paid by the developer. And i'm working right now on the service and assessment plan update for wildhorse ranch where we're looking at increasing the administrative fee. In the past every local government had a a municipal fees that were a lot lower and now cities are figuring out they can't afford, you know, when we contract out for city attorney, city engineer, city planners, so those fees are going up. And so we're going to do the same thing. So i'm playing with the numbers right now to figure out how we can fund half a county attorney's office staff, you know, portion, you know, tinley staff, different county staff that spend money -- spend time, excuse me, on the pids so that we can do the cost recovery on it. And that will be separate from their filing fee.
4:02 PMSo I guess at some point in time we have to really look at letting people know they are applying for a pid whether or not, you know, the fees and the things that they have to pay, whether they still want to do the pid.
Because there is a -- i'm all for us getting full recovery, but I can see where, you know, you can get killed with a thousand paper cuts.
4:03 PMAt some point in time, a guy says i'll just go conventional. And that's -- and that's fine, that's a prerogative that they have. But I do think --
We're trying to do full recovery on a number of things and I think -- kind of sounds to me like that we are learning that we -- oh, we didn't put that in there or oh, we didn't think about that because that's, quite frankly, what happens.
Right. we're learning iterations and as we get another pid to a certain point, we're learning lessons. That's why we're working on our pid policy too. But as far as keeping it on contract compliance and not going too far astray, i'm like I feel the heat over here from the county attorney's office. So we're working on making sure that we cover the portion of time that they spend on pids by, you know, by the pid fee, administrative fee, as we move forward.
4:04 PMWhat do you have and you go in and say this is not being done. What's the rigors of forcing that, I mean, from your standpoint? Is that easily done?
Are you talking about on the pids or all the projects?
On anything that you go and you are looking for compliance.
Well, the pids, there are teeth because -- deanna will look to me when pid proceeds come in and deanna is ready to disburse those back to the developer and she will look at all the compliance issues but to me in terms of worker protection compliance, how did they do. And I will say they really did badly or they were really good this this area or that area and then it's going to be a conversation we'll have to have and ultimately determination by the court about whether they should not perhaps be reimbursed the full amount that they are seeking because of that noncompliance. That's on the pids. For the better builder projects, those are county projects, so, like, anything else, the notice to bidders that we have drafted annual include in all of our better builder projects make it crystal clear these are contractual obligations. So if it came to the point of sort of a breach issue, I obviously couldn't make that call so I would work with the county attorney's office to see the materiality of that noncompliance, with it was -- right now we have come across a few issues on the probate courts and we're just writing letters, looping in the county attorney's office, writing letters saying we think there's a problem with this classification of worker. We think you are going to have to pay back wages and here's why and we do our research and write our reports. It kind of depends on the severity of the noncompliance. I would err on the side of caution, I would never use the word breach of contract unless that letter had been vetted by the county attorney's office, or, of course, if it was coming from the county attorney's office itself. But on issues like they should be classified asbestos as workers, not as common laborers, which is a common problem right now. We draft that language, that correspond ins ourselves, but we do loop in the county attorney's office so they are aware of the issue. Ultimately one of the tools and the teeth that we have in the purchasing office is a recommendation to when we receive a payout on a construction project to withhold a portion of that pay because of noncompliance. That can be with any contract issue, but including the better builder requirements.
4:06 PMThank you.
Any other questions? Commissioner Shea?
I'm curious, in some cases these pids are worth up to $60 million for the developer. What kind of dollar amount, roughly kind of ballpark are we talking about for the cost of baying for these --
4:07 PMFor the worker defense project people?
The portion that's part of the pid. Just roughly.
I don't know what deanna is estimating for the cost of our work. I can tell you for the workers defense project that they charge a certain fee and they maximize at $9 an hour -- sorry, nine hours a month at I believe it's $100 an hour that they are charging the pid developer for the duration of their involvement. Again, sort of part ways or graduate from workers defense project in June of 2021, and then any pid development moving forward after that will be done solely by us, by my team.
That would be roughly $900 a month for the workers defense portion, and do we also -- the pid developer for you or your staff time? I'm just trying to get some ballpark fee because seems the benefits to the pids is enormous. What's the lowest, 10 million, 8 million?
4:08 PMI think maybe it's bell la for tuna.
Tremendous benefits for the pids, but the cost of the better builder portion is tiny compared to the millions they get from the pid, isn't it?
Right. so what i'm trying to figure out and make sure that I do the |math right isthat -- so we have the petition fee, filing fee, and that's up front. And then once bonds are issued or assessments are levied and we have an annual administrative fee, and that goes -- that annual administrative fees goes on until all of the -- until the bonds are paid off. So that administrative fee will go for 30 years. So basically what we're looking at is all in an administrative fee of a max of around 75, $80,000 a year. Right now the current kind of touch stone has been $30,000 a year. So we're looking at increasing it and covering more, but what will happen is when the construction is done, tinley's work will end so that portion will go to zero, but there might be other fees that still have to go on. Like karen thigpen's time, maybe its tnr with other issues, maintenance reviews, I have to do all those calculations.
4:09 PMBut the whole administrative fee is what you are talking about, not just teasing out the tinley portion.
For the benefit that is derived from the program, the cost to the developer -- I can't imagine a developer walking away from a pid opportunity.
4:10 PMIt would only really be kind of impactful to the developer if they are asking us for a very small debt issuance. And what we've been doing is telling them, you know what, to make it cost effective,% you have to have a higher threshold for debt issuance. We don't want a $1 million debt issuance for pid. Because the main costs just don't change for issuance and neither will the administrative fees. So we're looking and encouraging all the developers to package things so that it's -- they are higher costs so that the fixed costs don't eat up so much of their revenue.
Okay. I just wanted to clarify that. Thank you.
Any other questions? thank you for this tremendous update.

4:10 PMIt was so very much appreciate the hard work.
Thank you judge, thank you, commissioners.
I believe that takes us to executive session where we have two agenda items. One is 31, receive legal briefing in amy smith, et al. , versus city of austin. Under consultation with attorney exception to the open meetings act. And jerusalem 32, receive briefing and take appropriate action regarding resolution to designate the travis county ex motion center in accordance with local code 334 and designate the method of financing is the imposition of a new hotel occupancy tax subject to approval of voters at an election called for such purpose.