The September 1 edition of the St. Louis Business Journal reports that the Heart of America Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors sent letters to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) and Attorney General Chris Koster (D) officially requesting that they launch an investigation into the Bayless School District’s procurement practices.
Here is the rundown of the situation from the Business Journal’s coverage:
The project bids for several school renovations were initially requested without a union-only requirement, but shortly before the bidding was closed, a requirement for all contractors to sign a union-only agreement was added without any public hearings, ABC said.
When the lowest bidder was Raineri Construction, an open St. Louis shop, the firm was told it needed to sign a union contract if it wanted to do the work, ABC said. When Raineri declined, the school board awarded the contract to a higher bidder, Diestelkamp Construction of St. Louis, increasing the cost to the school district — and taxpayers — by nearly $20,000, ABC said.
The value of the contract in question could be as high as $565,000.
Later in the article, ABC Heart of America Chapter President Jim Kistler states that, “if the state doesn’t prosecute the case, ABC intends to file a lawsuit.” On March 22, 2007, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt (R) signed S.B. 339, “The Fairness in Public Construction Act,” which prohibits government mandated PLAs for projects receiving more than half of their funding from the state. For all other building projects receiving public funds, governmental entities would first have to analyze the merits of mandating a PLA and hold public hearings before doing so. This legislation took effect on August 28, 2007.
It appears as though the Bayless School District is as casual with the law as they are with the taxpayers’ dollars. It doesn’t look like they analyzed the merits of mandating a PLA on these renovations, nor did they hold a hearing to get the public’s input, both of which a government entity must do before it can mandate a PLA.
If you ask us, teaching kids is a better use of taxpayer money than giving Big Labor a handout and then defending that handout in court.