Responsible Contractor’s Ordinance on agenda for Whitpain Township’s Board of Supervisors

On the agenda for the February 15th meeting of the Whitpain Township Board of Supervisors is the consideration of an ordinance to advertise a “Responsible Contractor’s Ordinance.”

The agenda reads:

Motion to authorize the Township Manager to advertise Ordinance
No. 394, Responsible Contractor’s Ordinance (RCO), an ordinance of the
Township of Whitpain, County of Montgomery, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, providing for the adoption of certain procedures related to the solicitation and award of public contracts; providing for certification requirements for public contractors and subcontractors to public contracts; providing for public contract review procedures; providing for assurance on the use of properly trained construction personnel; repealing inconsistent ordinances or parts of ordinances; containing a savings clause and providing for an effective date

Many municipalities and school boards have instituted similar ordinances. In general, the argument for an RCO is that it makes sure that contractors doing public work are vetted and adhere to a high standard. The argument against is that it limits who can bid, pushes out capable contractors, and raises the cost of construction projects. Those against these types of ordinances argue that they are put in place to benefit unions.

We recently covered this issue extensively on when the Colonial School District and Plymouth Township adopted similar policies and/or ordinances. In those cases, language was included regarding the type of apprentice program a contractor must participate in to qualify to bid. Opponents point to this language as the mechanism used to benefit unions.

Once the township publishes the text of the ordinance we can provide more details.