RE: "A dangerous conflict-of-interest loophole," May 16, 2019.

CALmattersā€™ columnist Dan Walters severely misconstrues Assembly Bill 626.

Recent ambiguous court rulings have upended decades of local contracting practice and created chaos for local agencies. The result is stalled local projects while agencies seek Fair Political Practices Commission advice letters.

The Legislatureā€™s analysis of AB 626 said: ā€œIn a significant majority of those letters, the FPPC concluded that Section 1090 did not prohibit a contractor or consultant who performed preliminary work from being awarded a subsequent contract ā€¦ā€

Waltersā€™ emphasis on the ā€œintegrity of the bidding processā€ indicates a lack of familiarity with public works projects.

Unlike contractors, design professional services do not bid for work. Instead, local governments procure design professional services through a competitive, fair and transparent process. This process is state law, utilized by local agencies statewide.

AB 626 would restore local control and ensure that the most qualified professionals are delivering public works.

Ralph W. Guida IV, president of American Council of Engineering Companies-California, Yorba Linda, and Benjamin I. Kasdan, president of American Institute of Architects-California Council, Santa Ana