Fool me once... - Page 2

San Francisco wastes money on contractors with subpar performance records


This SFPUC contract was just one example. The report also highlighted a case study from the San Francisco International Airport, in which a construction crew botched a welding job performed as part of a $15 million contract to build a pedestrian bridge and mezzanine to an airport terminal. The report outlines what went wrong, citing "inadequate installation and missed steps in the welding procedures; bolt holes were misaligned and measured incorrectly." As a result, SFO issued 59 noncompliance notices.

A contractor hired by the Department of Public Works, for a $5.2 million neighborhood branch library project, was reportedly "aggressive and argumentative ... focused on preparing a claim instead of the project," and "left the job midway through the project," the audit notes. After that went south, the city spent $85,000–$100,000 on litigation, finally completing the job with the city's own workforce.

The coming decade promises to be golden for city contractors who work in the construction sector. San Francisco has budgeted more than $25 billion for ambitious projects under its capital improvement plan, so many lucrative construction opportunities will arise.

The Controller's City Services auditor has kept a watchful eye on construction over the past couple years, Director of City Audits Tonia Lediju told the Guardian. That led to the discovery that the city lacks a process for tracking contractors' past performance when making hiring decisions.

"Given what we learned from our previous audits, not to mention ... our reliance on contractors to accomplish our city's capital plan, the Controller's Office decided to conduct this audit to more formally assess the adequacy of the departments' contractor evaluation processes," Lediju explained.

As part of the audit, the Controller's Office surveyed construction management staff at various city agencies, finding that a full 70 percent of them reported encountering poor-performing contractors "at least occasionally."

To address the gaping problems in the construction contracting system, the Office of the Controller recommended that city agencies work with the Mayor's Office, the Board of Supervisors, and the City Attorney's Office to strengthen the law by requiring contractor performance evaluations to be completed — and to consider those evaluations when awarding contracts. With $25 billion in spending over the next 10 years, this might be a wise move.


As if the main purpose of City contracting was to actually deliver on what the contract says it is for. When will you all learn that the purpose of winning elections to control city government is to shunt contracting dollars to the people who helped you get elected or helped pass the bond measure funding the contract?

Posted by marcos on May. 30, 2014 @ 8:52 am
Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2014 @ 9:29 am

Imagine if they applied this standard to nonprofits...

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

No accountability whatsoever for nonprofits, other than the more served the better, apparently.

Which is only an incentive to keep people in a position of dependency, as opposed to helping them up, and of course to 'grow the user base'.... Message to Reno, Vegas, etc: keep sending us your needy!

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

first question to ask is why city workers have much, much, much better pension plans than the rest of us?

And we have to pay for our own pension plans AND theirs?

Fix that and the city will have more money than it knows what to do with.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

Contractors is a typo right? You meant Non profits? If so, right effing on. millions are spent on non profits in the city and basically none of it is tracked for effectiveness.

Posted by Becky Backside on May. 30, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

If you really want to see how to waste money in the most effective way, come to Germany and visit the new "Airport" from Berlin BBI!

Posted by boatme on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

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