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Indiana Mayor Proposes Responsible Bidder Ordinance to Fill Hole Left by Prevailing Wage Repeal

Snyder (via Northwest Indiana Times)

Snyder (via Northwest Indiana Times)

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In order to counteract the negative effects of the state’s Common Construction Wage repeal, the Mayor of Portage, Indiana has proposed a “responsible bidder ordinance” which he hopes will prevent contractors from receiving city contracts and then delivering “shabby” work.  

In April the state legislature voted in favor of repealing the state’s version of the prevailing wage over the objections of democrats, labor groups, and several Republicans.  Now, Portage Mayor James Snyder is seeking protections from fly-by-night contractors on any municipal contract over $150,000.  Under the proposed ordinance, contractors would also have to provide detailed payroll information for projects over $200,000.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports that the bill is the first of its kind in the region. Some southern Indiana communities — including Terre Haute and Bloomington — passed similar ordinances six years ago.  Snyder’s bill would ensure that contractors comply with Davis-Bacon laws.

Snyder wants to “make sure we have contractors doing the work using the proper safety, training and payroll.”  In his mind, the only way to achieve this is by hiring union. “My goal is to have union labor do Portage projects,” he said.

The proposed bill would also require contractors to provide proof that they are registered with the state, not currently in any violation of any federal, state, or local laws, and actively administer drug tests.  Contractors would also have to provide evidence that they participate in DOL-approved apprenticeship programs.  These requirements will also be necessary for any subcontractors a contractor plans to use on a municipal project.  

City council President Sue Lynch hinted that she hopes to do more research into how such ordinances have impacted other communities.  However, she did indicate that overall she supports the proposal.

“It’s a good government policy to have because it protects our taxpayers,” she told the Northwest Indiana Times.  “It is a huge step in the right direction. I feel very positive about it.”


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