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California State Public Works Board

SPWB created by Legislature to oversee construction costs of projects for state agencies

By Chris Micheli, July 18, 2020 7:04 am

In California government, there is the State Public Works Board (SPWB), which is set forth in the Government Code. The SPWB is found in Title 2 (Government of the State of California), Division 3 (Executive Department), Part 10.5, Chapter 2, which was added in 1953.

Section 15770 creates the State Public Works Board in state government and it consists of the Director of Finance, Director of Transportation, and Director of General Services. In addition, three members of the State Senate and three members of the State Assembly meet and participate in the work of the SPWB.

Section 15770.1 requires the EDD Director to meet with and advise the SPWB in specified circumstances. Section 15770.2 allows the Finance Director to designate a replacement, and either the replacement or the Director serves the Chair of the Board. Section 15771 states that the members of the board are not to receive compensation for their services, but are reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred.

Section 15790 sets forth the Powers and Duties of the SPWB, including determining if construction, improvements and the purchase of equipment is to be undertaken and the time of that undertaking. It is also required to give consideration to specified items. Section 15791 states that the SPWB may authorize the purchase of property with improvements in lieu of purchasing sites and constructing new improvements.

Section 15792 requires the Finance Director to administer the law and provide assistance to the SPWB as it is required. The Director of Finance issues an executive order for the amount of funding required for the state agency to perform the work that is approved by the SPWB. State agencies can purchase equipment related to capital outlay projects for which the Legislature has appropriated construction funds. So, too, can community college districts. There is a $3 million cap and no financial obligation is allowed without prior approval of the Department of Finance and the SWPB.

Section 15793 requires cooperation between state agencies and all federal government agencies so that grants-in-aid may be made available to the state from these U.S. agencies.

Chapter 5 deals with emergency public works. Section 15799 makes findings and declarations that “properly timed capital outlays for needed public works are an important instrument for combating unemployment and for maintaining a healthy state economy.” Thereafter, the law specifies that it is “the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to establish procedures whereby an inventory of public works may be made available for implementation on short notice when and if funds become available during period of temporary severe unemployment.”

Section 15799.2 allows the SPWB to develop and maintain a contingency plan for emergency public works consistent with the intent of this chapter. Section 15799.4 specifies what is required in a contingency plan for emergency public works, such as capital outlay or maintenance projects that have not been included in the Governor’s budget.

Section 15799.6 provides that, if the SPWB determines that an emergency public works plan is necessary, then it must submit the plan annually to the Governor. This required report must include the identification and description of each project contained in the plan with specified information.

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