CALTRANS

WEST APPROACH BUSINESS COMMUNITY OUTREACH EVENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT OF QUESTION ANSWER SESSION

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

JULY 18, 2002

 

 

 

ATKINSON-BAKER, INC.

COURT REPORTERS

5 - Third Street, Suite 625

San Francisco, California 94103

(415) 421-3021

REPORTED BY: PEPPINA THOMPSON, CSR No. 7433

FILE No.: 9C04826

CALTRANS

WEST APPROACH BUSINESS COMMUNITY OUTREACH EVENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT OF QUESTION ANSWER SESSION, taken at

111 Grand Avenue, Oakland, California, commencing at

5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 18, 2002 before Peppina

Thompson, CSR No. 7433

QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION

 

- - -

Q. The DBE goal included 25 percent. The executive order asking all state agencies to have a 25 percent goal for small business and that is not a contract goal, that's just a State goal. Is that through all our procurements we're trying to achieve, so through outreach sessions such as this and other sessions that are being hosted, Business Transportation Housing Agency that we are promoting that goal, we are promoting the use of small businesses and asking small business vendors to get involved and bid on our projects, either as primes or subcontractors.

So is it included as a goal or just a wish? I want to know previous --

A. It's not a specific contract goal. I do want to add to that.

Q. It's not a contract goal?

A. What I might add is we do encourage contractors to use small business. And we've asked them to report to us on a quarterly basis as far as the contractor usages of small businesses.

Q. I'm going to refer back to the span of the Bay Bridge that called for DVE participation, also, and it was -- threw that requirement out. Is that what will happen on this?

A. Actually, that project was federally-funded. It had DBE contract goal. It said DVBE requirement so it must have been later they took that on you.

As far as DVBE, similar to small business, it was encouraged, but not a contract requirement on that contract. Again, because it was federally-funded, it has disadvantaged enterprise goal. This has a DVBE, being it's State funded. As Mr. Hensley says, we want to encourage the use of DVBE and DBE because there's not a contract goal.

Q. On this selection on the goals, the three percent DVBE and then the other 25 percent, would any of that be used like when you have contractors that have put a bid in and don't meet the goals, and contractor that puts a bid in and meet the goal, may be higher in price, will there be a determination, will there be a selection process that takes that into account?

A. The selection process takes into account low bid wins. And determination going to be taken up.

We have a low bidder, and a low bidder has to meet all the contract requirements. So when the low bidder submits the contract, they are our low bidder until they are found not to be responsive.

One aspect of not being responsive is if they didn't meet the goal or found not to make a good faith effort.

Q. Is good faith effort the same, equated as the same as meeting the goal? So if another contractor meets the goal, the other guy had good faith effort, who would win?

A. Again, we have one low bidder at a time. So we have one low bidder and their responsiveness to the contract until such time as they are determined not to be responsive. We don't compare them versus another bidder in terms of how well they did something. Okay? It starts with the low bidder. And, again, if it's determined that they were not responsive, then we look at the second low bidder and so on.

Any more questions?

Q. Will a list of prime time contractors be published?

A. We have a list of the plan holders that we handed out. We printed it out earlier today. So somebody may have ordered and -- ordered plans since then, but we have the list of plan holders right now. And from that you can look for the names of who you might think are going to be primes or who you might want to negotiate a business relationship with.

Q. Okay. Disabled veteran businesses interested in participation, would you publish those names if requested?

A. Well, I can't really answer that. I'd say that every request that comes into our offices we consider. So I'd suggest that if that request were made, we'd consider it.

If there's any subcontractor DBE or DVBE or small business wants to be considered, we'd be more than happy to send their names and the type of business they are interested in to all the plan holders.

Q. Will there be a pre-bid conference?

A. At this point there is no pre-bid conference required. Indeed, we encourage that prime contractors come to these events and network with the potential small businesses and, as you can see, quite a few of them are here. So they do understand or independently have an interest in meeting those goals, and we have found in the past that they do come and participate in these events.

Q. We are DBE and potential subcontractor. Who in Caltrans will we contact to be put on this list?

A. Okay. The list of people who will be sent out to the plan holders, the DBE, because this contract right now is advertised for bid, and we have a specific process for bidder inquiries and responses. I want to take the chance to say that you should send it to the duty senior and that way we have a record of that request and then can see that we have followed up on it through the bidder inquiry response process.

Q. Are women-owned companies part of the DBE or is that something that they have goals for?

A. Okay. For this particular project, we have DVBE goal in the contract and we have aspirational goal for small businesses. We encourage DBEs to participate in the process. But we have a goal specifically for small business and DVBE.

Q. Who's the duty senior?

A. For this particular project, that would be me . In your plans and specifications there's an e-mail address so you can pull it off of that.

Q. How many working days are there in this project year?

A. 1945 working days, calendar days, every day counts.

Q. Is Buy American a factor with respect to structural steel and rebar?

A. This contract is actually State funded, so there is no requirement for that federal -- for compliance with that federal requirement. So, no.

Q. For those of us who will not been getting copies of the plans and specifications, can you provide us with that e-mail address for the senior?

A. Would it be preferable if I just say it outloud here or do you want me to get it over there --

It's on one of the handouts, Navigating the Website, address for contact for the duty senior?

Q. The State has a list of DBEs for approval and they also have a DVBE list. Does the State of an SBE list?

A. Yes. You can gain the information about the certified small businesses from -- it's established with a different State agency with General Services, but we use that same list, so if you want to the Caltrans website, Doing Business with Caltrans, in that list of different sites, and you went to the Small Business website, then they would provide a link. Okay?

All of the information you might need should be available through links to the Caltrans web page.

Q. My question has more to do with the hypothesis of a goal that you're establishing of 25 percent. Is there an enforcement mechanism to that goal with respect to this goal? If not, what difference does the goal of Caltrans under Title 49 to honor its requirements?

I'm trying to establish when you say goal, is this educated guess, are we going to meet it, not meet it? What mechanism of enforcement, and who is responsible?

A. Let me see if I can somehow explain this to you. As we've been saying, this is a State funded project. We are mandated to place a 3 percent disabled veteran business goal and I know we have disabled veteran businesses in the audience because I spoek to you at the networking, so I want to take the opportunity right now to ask you to stand up and identify yourselves for those prime contractors that are here.

(Introductions)

A. We have also talked about small business, 25 percent goal with respect to all contractors here. I want to see a show of hands of how many of you are small businesses.

More than half of you are here and are obviously interested in being a part of this project. And so are we, as a department, to make sure that not only that we meet the mandated disabled veteran business goal of 3 percent, but that we also involve the small business community here in the Bay Area and anywhere else in the State that wants to take part of this.

So the department has an obligation to seek out small businesses to work with the prime contractors out here. That's why you're here today, to do exactly that. Our goal when we open those bids is to first as a department -- of transportation and office of civil rights is to look at the project, the contract and to see the veterans' business goal is met. We want that goal to be met. We don't want to go beyond the fact that the goal was met, but exceeded. Why stop at 3 percent, let's look at 5, 6, 10 percent. There's a lot of DVBEs here and available.

The other part of the project is that the department is also going to be asking the contractor of all your listed subs and voluntary subs how many of those are lower-tiered not voluntary. We need that information. We need to cull in that information when you are submitting your bid. You are small business, DBE, we need this information.

So it is the department's obligation to make sure we do whatever we can to have you get the contract to whomever the low bidder happens to be.

This forum is that start of that. Show of hands, at least half of your are small businesses, there's a lot of opportunities on this project or any other projects we have. We have a specific 25 percent goal on this project. A mandated goal of 25 percent? And the answer is no. The department is obligated, we're going to do whatever we can to help you as a small business get ready for this project, assist you in getting bonds, direct you to where you can get that bond, insurance issues, we need to help you do that.

Linda Wells is here to help you, she mentions she's a small business liason for the district. Any information can be acquired also on the website or through the duty officer.

So you want to be here and even Mr. Fields is available, right? Exactly.

So we want to help small businesses to get opportunities on this particular project. We are here to get disabled veterans to have at minimum 3 percent, we want more and we want to award this contract on meeting the DVBE goal.

(Ending time, 6:25)