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Centre County Responsible Contractors Ordinance

More controversy and disagreement over plans by the Centre County Commissioners to establish new regulations for those working on large scale, county government construction projects.

The commissioners are considering what is termed a “responsible contractor ordinance.”

They say at least two of the commissioners feel it will increase worker safety on county capital construction projects, along with alerting the county to potential bidder issues.

But one commissioner isn’t on board with the proposed ordinance.

“I think this ordinance is unfair and discriminates among numerous Centre County contractors, and trades people. I really find this to be bad governance.”

There are allegations of political and union versus non-union motivations behind the RCO proposal, with the two Democrats on the board favoring the new ordinance while the lone Republican, Steve Dershem, is against it.

On Tuesday, others also spoke out against the proposal.

“I believe this ordinance is unconstitutional and could cause county lawsuits. By eliminating smaller businesses, contract work will be awarded to out-of-country businesses, which will drive up costs. Who will pay these costs? Likely the hardworking taxpayers of Centre County.”

The new ordinance would only be for county government construction projects over $250,000, but one of the largest in history is probably only months away from going out to bid, the estimated $30 million renovation of the Centre Crest building, and the commissioner chair admits he wants to have the new ordinance in place beforehand.

“We would like to have safety on the project. We would like to have the ability, if we have concerns about the quality and legality of our particular bidders.”

The commissioners are expected to take a final vote on the responsible contractor ordinance late next month.

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