Legislation Requiring Electronic Signatures, “Socially Responsible” Public Procurement Approaches Approval
A proposal that would require the use of electronic signatures in all city departments, as well as a related measure to ensure that the city engages in “sustainable and socially responsible” procurement practices could be adopted as early as the week. next, after the advance of the Pittsburgh City Council. the legislation Wednesday.
The ordinance, led by the administration of Mayor Bill Peduto, would require all city departments to continue to use electronic signatures at all times, after they became commonplace during the covid-19 pandemic.
Doing so during the pandemic reduced waste by more than 5,800 pounds over two years, city officials estimated.
A related second ordinance would ensure that the city’s tax dollars support environmentally and socially responsible suppliers and businesses that enter into professional service agreements with the city.
The bill requires municipal authorities to rate potential suppliers and providers on factors such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion. He would also ask officials to take into account considerations such as transport distance and product reuse when reviewing proposals.
Another segment of the legislation updates the city’s code for paper products, electronics, lighting, furniture and office supplies to align with modern environmental standards considered by administration.
“We need to lead by example,” said city councilor Erika Strassburger, adding that the city should make sure it follows sustainable and socially responsible guidelines before asking private companies to do the same.
The measure would allow the city to rank potential suppliers and companies providing professional services based on their sustainability and social responsibility in terms of diversity and other factors. This would apply to businesses like law firms that work with the city, said City Councilor Deb Gross.
This does not apply to subcontractors, however, like crews that pay for city roads, she said.
The proposal also urges city departments to consider things like packaging and delivery-related emissions when evaluating low-bid contracts, said Jennifer Olzinger, deputy director of purchasing. In addition, he urges city workers to buy socially responsible and sustainable items, like opting for LED lamps over regular lamps.
“It guides city staff more on what we should buy,” she said.
Gross said the so-called “scorecards” that city officials use when making contract decisions are currently not available to city council members, although “we wanted to see that score, especially on larger contracts ”.
The city’s legal team advised them not to disclose these dashboards, even to council members, Olzinger said. They are considered “internal deliberations” and are not subject to right to know laws, she said.
The proposed legislation does not appear to contain any mechanism for making these scoreboards public.
Still, board members have expressed enthusiasm for focusing on sustainable and socially responsible contracts.
Gross highlighted an element of the proposal that encourages the city to consider using recycled road materials, a measure that is “enthusiastically embraced” by the council, she said.
“It would solve a lot of problems,” said City Councilor Anthony Coghill, adding that he had heard of a company that was using recycled plastic for roads.
Items such as recycled road materials are not mandatory in legislation, but the proposal encourages municipal authorities to consider such options.
Both ordinances were brought forward Wednesday with the support of all council members at the meeting. Councilor Corey O’Connor was absent.