An appellate court case decided in April of 2009 held that public works projects awarded by charter cities, and financed solely from city revenues, were not subject to California prevailing wage requirements under the Prevailing Wage Law. (See State Building and Construction Trades Council of California v. City of Vista (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 567.) On August 19, 2009, the California Supreme Court granted a petition to review the case, and de-published the opinion of the appellate court. According to the Supreme Court website the case has been “fully briefed,” although oral argument has not yet occurred. Presumably, the Supreme Court will issue its opinion by the end of the year.
The appellate court held that the Prevailing Wage Law is not a matter of “statewide concern,” and that charter cities are “free to determine whether the statute’s provisions will govern their public works contracts.” The appellate court found support for this conclusion in a number of prior opinions. The applicability of the Public Works Law to charter cities is now obviously in doubt, which surely has those involved in public works projects for charter cities interested in the outcome of this case. We will post a summary of the case once it is published.