Colleen McAleer is the President of the Washington Business Alliance and the President of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of Port Angeles. She joins us as a “Wire Insider” to talk about achieving prosperity across the entire State of Washington.
Our primary focus is around making sure that the prosperity that exists in the Central Puget Sound can be shared by all Washingtonians. So we’re trying to study the barriers that exist and we have been doing that actually for the last few years, so that we can resolve those issues, create solutions so that if it’s a community that is not thriving in an urban setting or, and very often it’s rural Washington isn’t able to engage in the opportunities that are occurring in the Central Puget Sound, we want to ensure that the barriers are addressed so that everybody has an opportunity to share in that prosperity.
One of the barriers that exists is that the way the state statute is written for engineering and architectural contracts that are created through public contracts so whether it’s a port, a library, a school district, a city, a county, the law is that that contract must be awarded to the most qualified bidder. And so what ends up happening is if big business responds to a request for qualifications, they always win. And so in rural communities the small engineering firms, the small architectural firms oftentimes they don’t even bother competing because they know if a large firm with twenty-seven thousand employees responds, they’re going to get the contract. So what we would like to see as a solution is to allow local governments that board if they so choose to add a criteria of location to their matrix when they determine who is the most qualified to receive this contract. That’s one example of six we have.