Housing Complex

Latest Batch of Contracts Shows Even More Pathetic First Source Compliance

Last year, an inspector general's report concluded that District had lost hundreds of jobs and million of dollars in potential tax revenue by failing to enforce First Source requirements for hiring of District residents on city-funded projects, mostly from the National Capitol Revitalization Commission era. Preliminary results from the latest batch of self-reported hiring totals, making up $63,724,000 over 22 contractors on six recently completed projects, show similarly dismal results–out of 452 total new hires, only 69 were D.C. residents (it should have been 226, which means 157 lost jobs). That's 15.2 percent. Which is not 51 percent, which is the required ratio.

Although contractors still have some time to provide evidence that they hired more District residents than their reported totals show, my feeling is they should have learned how to fill out the forms by now. If they don't, the Department of Employment Services isn't sure whether any enforcement action can or will be taken.

Note that one of the worst-performing contracts was at DOES headquarters.

UPDATE, 4:28 p.m. - As a commenter points out, it's worth reminding ourselves that mayor Vince Gray's approach is to give contractors bonuses for complying with the regulations, while Kwame Brown would impose financial penalties if they don't.

Full lineup after the jump:

  • workforce matters

    Lydia- thanks for shedding light on these pitiful numbers. Here's hoping DOES will get it's act together and show these contractor's that compliance is the only way. I personally believe that the new incentivized approach that's part of the First Source pilot program is a bunch of BS. Maybe they should first try to aggressively enforce the existing laws before they start handing out money to contractors that don't need it in the first place. Not sure if you heard about the 22 contractors that are currently under review, but the punishments are not under the purview of DOES and it's not clear whether they'll even be charged. Sigh....

  • Hillman

    The truth is the District is the reason that more DC residents aren't hired.

    In case we've forgotten, there was a huge talent drain to the suburbs over the past couple of decades. Many people simply weren't happy with life in the District - very high crime, terrible local government, etc.

    The District did nothing to stop the working and middle class from leaving.

    In fact, District policies encouraged this.

    Yes, the yuppies have moved back to DC. But these are your lawyers, your civil servants. They wouldn't know a hammer from a hole in their butt.

    So in typical pass the buck fashion, how do we deal with this?

    We punish contractors. We insist that they hire DC workers, even though there are damn few that have any actual construction skills.

    My favorite part - the suggestion that these workers, even unskilled ones, need to be taught 'life skills'. That is, the idea that in order to get paid you have to show up on time, sober, and not do things like get in fights on the job sight.

    Yes, I've heard city officials actually say that teaching these skills is the responsibility of construction contractors and developers.

    There is also the real 'life skills' that a lot of these potential employees have learned (again, thanks to the DC government).

    They've learned that within a week or so of reporting for work you can claim a back injury, and go out on disability or workers comp (at great cost to contractor, both in terms of actual $$ and the cost spent training you originally).

    I'm all for hiring DC residents. Absolutely. That way we keep some of the tax dollars local, we provide locals jobs, etc.

    But the truth is our talent pool is very thin.

    And that is mostly because of decades of very bad local government. The very government that is now insisting this is all the fault of contractors.

  • Hillman

    We should also ask ourselves what type of hiring example the DC government is currently setting. Where Sulaimon Brown is hired at $110,000 a year despite having no experience or skills, as payola for trashing an ex Mayor and helping a new Mayor get elected.

    Where the children and next door neighbors of campaign directors are getting $110,000 jobs even though they have no discernable experience or ability.

    If the District had any shame at all they'd pipe down for a while on hiring practices in the private sector. Where you actually have to make a profit, and have competition, and can't afford the heinously poor hiring practices the DC government seems to engage in on a daily basis.

  • Dan Maceda

    Time to send inspectors to current projects and issue stop work orders until contractors produce pay records that prove first source compliance.

  • http://citypaper Tony

    Dan,that is a logical idea but logic has a habit of running late.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    First Source is a horrible law, even if it were to be implemented properly. DC needs to focus on training residents to become more employable rather than penalizing employers for not hiring incompetent or untrained employees.
    This is just politicians pushing without first understanding what they're trying to push.