Solano College board weighs construction options

By From page A5 | February 07, 2013

FAIRFIELD — Solano College trustees have some homework to do before making a decision on how construction for a $348 million bond will be carried out.

The Solano Community College District Board of Trustees heard presentations Wednesday on options for how to put the projects out to bid and whether to use a project labor agreement.

Several presentations were given in relation to Measure Q, the $348 million bond passed by voters in November that promised to add new facilities and programs to all three of Solano College’s campuses.

The board will have the ultimate say in how the process is handled. Wednesday’s meeting was merely to present those options. Yulian Ligioso, vice president of finance and administration, said the item could return to the board at next month’s meeting.

It is early in the process of what will likely be months of discussion before permanent plans will be approved.

Mark Kelley, with Dannis Woliver Kelley, gave the board a breakdown of ways the district can put projects out to bid once they are approved. He said the five options are design-bid-build, lease-leaseback, multiple prime contracting, construction management at risk, or design-build. Kelly gave the board benefits and drawbacks for each method.

Ligioso then presented an issue that many in the crowd spoke about during public comment. The topic of project labor agreements brought out speakers on both sides of the issue for an argument that centered around whether the process favored union laborers or not.

Dan Broadwater, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, told the board that the process allows both union and nonunion workers to bid the job and oftentimes stipulates that locals will be used. He pointed to Genentech construction in Vacaville and wind turbines are examples of projects completed with project labor agreements.

“They bring pride to the people of the county,” Broadwater said. “It’s a fair arrangement. Union and nonunion can both bid, so let’s get over that.”

Eric Christian, executive director for the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, said similar agreements used in the college’s previous bond made it a complete mess. He also warned the board not to use firms based on if they made campaign contributions in the past.

“This is not a Democrat/Republican issue. This is not a union versus nonunion issue,” Christian said. “It’s an issue of common sense.”

Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.

Danny Bernardini

Danny Bernardini

Danny is a newspaper man born and raised in Vacaville. He attended Chico State University and has written for the Enterprise Record and the Reporter. Covers the City of Fairfield, education and crime. A's, Warriors and Saints fan. Listener of vinyl, frequent visitor to the East Bay. Registered "decline to state" voter. Loves a good steak.

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  • Richard MarkusonFebruary 07, 2013 - 8:56 am

    Danny Broadwater conveniently ignores that PLAs discriminate against apprentices enrolled in unilateral apprenticeship programs that are approved by the State of California to train apprentices by explicitly banning them from working under a PLA. And contractors are limited on the number of their own workers who can work. The real intent of PLAs is to force union membership and contributions to the union benefit plans. It is much easier for a union to convince a simple majority of a board like Solano CCD to force union membership than it is to go out and organize workers to join a union voluntarily - and the membership numbers bear this out. Whether they realize it or not - a school board or other public agency that signs a PLA is just a tool of the unions to organize workers who wouldn't choose to do so if they had the choice.

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