New rules approved for Lawrence project bidders


The Lawrence Common Council approved an ordinance March 22 establishing a new set of rules for contractors who bid on city-funded projects.

The ordinance, submitted by Deb Whitfield, cites a desire to “enhance (the city’s) ability to identify responsive and responsible bidders on all city public works construction projects by institution of more comprehensive submission requirements.”

The new rules apply to contracts of $150,000 or more. Among the requirements, a bidder must submit:

  • A statement made under oath including state online records showing it is current with its reports and is eligible for a certificate of good standing
  • A list identifying all former business names
  • Any prior violations of state, local or federal laws
  • Staffing capabilities, including labor sources, participation in registered apprenticeship and training programs
  • A plan for drug testing
  • A list of project managers and superintendents who will work on the project
  • Proof of licensing and disclosure of any suspension or revocation within the last five years
  • Evidence of a surety company
  • Statement of any tax liens within the previous five years
  • A statement that anyone working on the project will be properly classified as an employee or independent contractor, and
  • A list of similar projects worked on within the past three years

Those requirements also apply to first-tier subcontractors, who must submit the information within five business days of starting work on the project. The city also can require that same information for lower-tiered subcontractors and can withhold payment if the information is not provided in a timely manner.

After a contractor or subcontractor has been qualified for a job, the qualification is valid for a year, so they wouldn’t have to submit the same information for another bid within that time frame unless there is a material change to the contractor’s status.

During council discussion of the ordinance, council member Shawn Denney said the ordinance was more detailed than others they have considered in the past. But he said this way, the council is less likely to have to come back and make amendments later.

“As a former union member myself and coming from a family of union members, I give (this ordinance) my wholehearted support,” he said.

Whitfield and Denney are running as Democrats to be the next City of Lawrence mayor. They will face off in the May 2 primary. Also running for mayor is David Hoffman, who is unopposed in the Republican primary.