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Office of the State Comptroller - Local Government & School Accountability

Local Government and School Accountability

Capital Planning and Budgeting

A Tutorial for Local Government Officials

Module 3 - From Plans to Projects
Clerk of the Works (CoW)

A CoW is appointed by the board to monitor the progress of a construction project and report any problems directly to the board for resolution. This individual, who is accountable to the board rather than to officials involved in payment or project transactions, provides the board with an independent source of information and helps protect the financial interests of taxpayers.

The CoW oversees construction projects on a temporary basis, representing the locality’s interest by verifying that all parties are complying with project design and quality standards. The CoW generally provides detailed project monitoring services that involve a certain level of technical expertise. A CoW’s onsite project supervision generally requires an attention to detail, an ability to read and interpret construction plans, a general knowledge of all aspects of the particular type of construction undertaken, and financial management skills.

The CoW also plays an important role in an effective internal control structure by ensuring the proper payment for agreed-upon goods and services.

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