GO PRO reader feedback
After a formal, competitive process, you awarded a contract for painting services to a local vendor that your entity has used for years. About six months into the contract, you read a letter to the editor in a local newspaper alleging that the painting company uses illegal immigrants. What do you do?
‘Alleging’ is the key word
I think the important word to consider in the letter to the editor is that the writer is
alleging that the painting company uses illegal immigrants. Since the issue of illegal immigrants is one that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is responsible for and not the local newspaper, the firm awarding the contract can’t really do much until some solid facts come to light and are proven or disproven. However, perhaps one thing the company can do is examine state laws to determine if the award could be withdrawn for legal reasons so that they’re ready to take action after the case is investigated.
Of course, since we all know how quickly the government works, this investigation may or may not be completed by the time the paint dries!
Perry Broxton, Purchasing manager, Harrison School District Two, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Contractor needs to provide proof
We include a provision in all our contracts that no illegal immigrants are allowed to work on any municipality-funded projects, so for me it would be a simple matter of requesting that the contractor provide proof that all persons assigned to work on our project are in fact legal immigrants.
This information then would be provided to the newspaper to clarify our position.
Dewey Peck, Purchasing/projects manager, City of Salisbury, N.C.
The scenario calls for a three-pronged response that needs to be accomplished quickly.
Public relations: Immediately notify your public information officer (PIO), along with the head of your department, and let them decide if a response to the newspaper is warranted. Give them all the information, including the bid responses and copies of your solicitation document. Have information about the writer of the letter available for them.
Bid documents: Check to see if your bid documents address the problem of undocumented or illegal workers. If you have no policy, it’s time to write one. If you do have a policy, it’s time to review it to see if it’s still viable. If not, write a fair policy, and include it in all solicitations.
Contract administration: Have your contract administrator require all the workers to sign in and show a government-issued ID indicating that they are permitted to work legally in the U.S. Have a sign-in sheet, make copies of their ID cards and check them periodically. See how the vendor handles the problem, and give that information to the PIO as part of the response to the newspaper. It’s not a reach to require workers on the property of a public body to be authorized to perform labor.
Frederick Marks, CPPO, VCO, NIGP master instructor, Wantagh, N.Y.
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