On Wednesday, the City Council’s Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations Committee is set to discuss the issue of whether city contractors should be subject to the state’s Public Records Act.

Councilwoman Donna Frye asked for talks on the issue, which was considered last year. Then-City Attorney Mike Aguirre had drafted a proposed ordinance that would require contractors to turn over records related to the performance of a contract.

Back in January, I wrote about how the mayor’s proposed privatization initiative could diminish access to public records.

In a report for Wednesday’s meeting, the Independent Budget Analyst’s Office noted several concerns raised by representatives of the contracting industry about the proposal.

Among them is the “unknown cost to contractors of responding to PRA requests” since it’s difficult to predict the type and number of requests. The report notes that bidders may increase their cost proposals, thus passing on increased costs to the city.

The report also notes that a provision requiring contractors to comply with the records act could obligate them to release information to a competitor. That could make them reluctant to bid, driving “down the number of contractors that bid on city contracts,” the report states.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.


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