February 15, 2008
QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEE AS COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
By: Meghan Reilly, Legislative Fellow
Department of Public Works Commissioner (CGS § 4b-1)
● The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the governor with a term that ends on the March 1 following the next gubernatorial election. Either house of the General Assembly confirms.
● The commissioner is responsible for: administering most state capital improvement construction and planning projects; selecting consultants to assist on such projects; the purchase, sale, lease, sublease, and acquisition of property for state agencies; the sale or exchange of surplus state property; maintaining a complete and current inventory of all state-owned or leased property and premises, including space utilization data; supervising the care and control and administering the security for most state buildings and grounds; providing technical advice and services to state agencies planning to improve their physical space; and cooperating with other to develop a capital program and budget for the state
1. How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?
2. How have you made the Department of Public Works (DPW) more efficient and more effective since becoming commissioner?
3. What are the department's top legislative priorities this session?
4. In how many construction projects is the DPW currently engaged?
5. In Governor Rell's 2008 State of the State, she asked the DPW not to sell the Seaside Regional Center property in Waterford after the Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE) rejected the proposed sale contract. In your view, is that a wise decision? If so, what should the state do with the property?
6. What is the length of time, on average, needed to dispose of surplus property? Are there people currently left out of the process who should be included? Conversely, are there people who should be removed?
7. In November, 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the DPW an Energy Star Label for superior energy efficiency at the Rowland State Government Center. How does the department plan to expand this practice in other buildings?
8. PA 07-242 authorized up to $30 million in bonds for the DPW to fund the net costs of energy efficiency projects and to help develop a strategic energy efficiency plan. What is the strategic plan?
9. The commissioner has the authority to lease state-owned land or buildings, or both, and facilities to municipalities for municipal use. Until 2007, all municipal leases had a maximum term of 20 years. PA 07-213 lifted the 20-year limitation of leases of state property to municipalities. Do you support this change?
10. PA 07-213 also requires the commissioner to make recommendations to GAE concerning commercial advertisements on state buildings, facilities, stadiums, arenas, or theaters, by advertisers or sponsors and granting naming rights for the state property. What recommendations have been made? What is the process for making these determinations?
11. When awarding state contracts, what proportion of lowest bids does DPW reject? Why?
12. The law requires DPW to maintain a complete and current inventory of all state-owned property. Each year the state conveys land through legislation. This legislation stipulates that the conveyed property reverts back to the state if the recipient does not use it for the stated purpose. Do you keep track of conveyed property? How easy or difficult is this?
13. The governor and legislators have said that Connecticut should develop strategies to promote the expansion of companies already doing business here as well as those considering relocating here. Bills have proposed requiring the DPW to give in-state contractors a preference, usually 5%. Do you believe such a policy would facilitate the above-stated goal? Do you feel there is a better policy to achieve that goal?