D.C. Council Passes Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie’s Legislation to Make it Easier for Vendors to Work with District Government
The Legislation Will Create a Single Web Page to Link All D.C. Government Contracting Opportunities; Bring Vendor Invoicing and Payments Online; and Ease Dispute Resolution between Prime and Subcontractors
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Contact: Nolan Treadway, (202) 445-0361, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC – Today, the District of Columbia Council passed legislation introduced by Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development. The legislation, the Accessible and Transparent Procurement Amendment Act of 2018 [B22-395], incorporates parts of two other bills also introduced by Councilmember McDuffie in 2017, the Quick Payment Amendment Act of 2017 and the Government Contractor-Subcontractor Dispute Resolution Amendment Act of 2017.
After the legislation passed, Councilmember McDuffie said:
“The District of Columbia should be intentional in how it spends taxpayer money. These bills will help smaller businesses in the District compete for contracts by making it easier for firms to find business opportunities; taking invoicing and payments online and into the 21st century; and by providing dispute resolution options for smaller businesses who often participate as subcontractors.”
As passed, the Accessible and Transparent Procurement Amendment Act of 2018 requires that the District’s Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) create a single web page that contains links to all of the procurement solicitation websites for all District agencies. While most contracts are solicited through a central online system, currently at least 12 agencies are independent of the CPO’s authority and do not use its central solicitation system. This bill requires those disparate systems to be linked by a single web page. Furthermore, the bill moves the District toward one searchable procurement system by instructing those agencies with independent solicitation systems to not renew or upgrade their current systems, and instead migrate to the central system.
The components of the bill that draw from the Quick Payment Amendment Act of 2017 [B22-439], would create a more advanced vendor payment portal that will allow anyone to view payments by the District, and would provide for future functionality with electronic invoicing and electronic vendor payments. Currently, the District only accepts hard copy invoices and cannot make electronic payments to vendors.
In response to concerns from the subcontractor community, who often feel beholden to prime contractors, Councilmember McDuffie introduced the Government Contractor-Subcontractor Dispute Resolution Amendment Act of 2017 [B22-440]. As passed, this legislation provides subcontractors the option to include a new common contract clause in contracts between the District and a prime contractor, requiring that the prime contractor include in its contract with a subcontractor a dispute resolution clause. The clause requires that the contractor, at the election of a subcontractor, to participate in negotiation and mediation before seeking administrative or judicial resolution.