Elgin set to have hiring quotas for construction contracts
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org February 12, 2013 1:32PM
A crane towers over Riverside Drive in Elgin Monday morning following an incident where the crane broke throught the decking. June 25, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 14, 2013 6:29AM
ELGIN — City council members Wednesday will consider moving along an ordinance that backers hope will lead to more jobs for Elgin residents.
The ordinance would require companies awarded larger city construction projects to employ a percentage of Elgin residents and also would offer incentives to those who use apprentices who live in the city.
According to supporting material for the session, Councilman Robert Gilliam suggested staff draft such rules. Gilliam and Councilwoman Tish Powell recently met with representatives of the Local No. 582 of Laborers Union International of North America to discuss the matter.
Elgin’s unemployment rate stood at 11.6 percent for December, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
The new ordinance would be similar to one the city of Chicago has. It would require that on city of Elgin construction contracts of $100,000 or more, 10 percent of the total hours worked on the job site by the contractor and subcontractors be performed by people who are Elgin residents.
As for the incentives, if the city’s purchasing director determines that a contractor has successfully met certain criteria for using apprentices from Elgin, the contractor would receive a certificate noting earned credits which could be applied toward bids on city projects for up to 12 months.
The city’s purchasing director will be keeping records and reporting on the number of the residents of the city used in skilled and unskilled positions on contracted projects during the upcoming construction season. The purchasing director also would come up with standards and procedures for reducing or waiving the minimum percentage level of Elgin residents when it can be shown that such hiring would be impractical or lead to excessive costs.
Among the penalties for noncompliance, the city would be entitled to receive damages in the amount of one-tenth of 1 percent of the contract’s value for each percentage falling short of the residency requirement. If a contractor fails to employ any Elgin residents it would be penalized 10 percent of the contract’s value.
And failure to report the residency of employees would be treated as if no Elgin residents were employed on the contract.
Anyone caught lying about residency to get one of these jobs would be fined $500 or more and be barred from employment on any construction project subject to the ordinance for five years.
If approved, the ordinance is set to go into effect on April 1 and in time for contracts yet to be awarded on this year’s construction projects.
The council Wednesday also will consider paying for five more issues of a neighborhood newsletter at a total cost of $74,460.
The design firm Marketplace Media Group would handle that aspect of the project as it did for three issues in 2012.
According to Elgin management analyst Aaron Cosentino, the city has been printing 42,000 of the newsletters. Marketplace Media surveyed readers with the fall edition of the newsletter, and 1,156 responded that they would like to receive such information in print, with 146 saying they would prefer the newsletter online and 275 wanting it both ways.
Marketplace Media Group would be paid $10,000 for its work. Creekside Printing would receive $20,680 for printing the newsletters, and the United States Postal Service fee for mailing would be $42,600.
The publication would be in English, but put on the city’s website where in can be translated into other languages through a Google application.