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Miami “Mandate” Would Favor Contractors Who Want Local Workers on High-Cost Projects

Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez has not signaled support or opposition (Getty).

Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez has not signaled support or opposition (Getty).

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A new ordinance being considered in Miami-Dade County would recommend a higher number of local residents on county projects with a price tag over $1 million.  The “Residents First Training and Employment Program” is sponsored by commissioners Jean Monestime and Barbara Jordan.

While the ordinance would not implement a true mandate, the ability to meet the new standards would be considered favorable during the contract process.  Supporters hope it will help build the local workforce as the county prepares to move forward with several projects using its $2 billion construction budget.  From the Miami Herald:

Sean McCrackine, a Monestime aide, said about 30 county contracts would fall under the program’s rules if it were in effect today.

At the PortTunnel project, a venture backed by $309 million in county dollars, local residents make up more than 80 percent of the workers, thanks to political sensitivities and an effort to hire employees from Miami-Dade, said Christopher Hodgkins, vice president of Miami Access Tunnel, the private company that won state and county backing to build the underwater roadway linking the port to the MacArthur Causeway.

“We came on the heels of the Marlins stadium,” Hodgkins said, referring the unpopular 2009 vote to use taxes to build a new baseball park in Miami. “There was no support in this town for a large infrastructure project paid for by the taxpayers.”

To counter the backlash, Hodgkins said he reviewed each tunnel contract for a local telephone number. “I’d look for the 305,” he said. In terms of hitting a 50 percent local-hiring goal, Hodgkins said: “We could have done it walking backwards.”

Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez has not revealed his position on the ordinance, but has said it will cost $70,000 to implement.  The ordinance would request that the county procurement division factor local hiring success when weighing bids for future contracts.


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