Manchester’s Stalled Federal Job Corps Center Raised in New Hampshire Gubernatorial Campaign
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) cancelled its solicitation Nov. 2009 for bids to construct a new Job Corps Center in Manchester, N.H.
The solicitation contained a crony contracting scheme called a project labor agreement (PLA) that would funnel construction contracts to unionized contractors. It was the first time a federal agency attempted a government-mandated PLA on a federal construction project since President Obama issued the controversial Executive Order 13502 Feb. 6, 2009.
However, after ABC member North Branch Construction of Concord, N.H., with ABC support and representation, filed a protest against the illegal, costly and anti-competitive PLA with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. DOL cancelled its solicitation to construct the project.
Rather than build the project without the unethical and illegal PLA, the DOL decided to sit on the project and deny local residents services offered by the Job Corps Center and badly needed construction jobs.
Yesterday the stalled project made headlines as it was raised as n issue in the New Hampshire gubernatorial race (“Stephen hits Lynch on stalled Job Corps Center, 6/24″):
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Stephen blasted Gov. John Lynch for failing to move the project forward. The U.S. Department of Labor had halted the bid process in November when a local contractor complained about labor requirements.
“I find it unconscionable that nothing has been done in eight months to move this project forward when we need jobs,” said Stephen at a press conference in the Legislative Office Building yesterday. “Being silent on the issue is not leadership.”
Lynch’s press secretary Colin Manning said Lynch, an early supporter of the project, has been in contact with the Department of Labor since the bidding was halted. He said the governor was told recently that the bidding process would be restarted in 30 to 60 days.
“The governor is very supportive of that center, and is working to get people back to work in this state,” Manning said.
Yesterday, Stephen declined to say if he supports or opposes the PLA, but said all sides should sit down and work out their differences so workers could have badly needed jobs. With 50,000 people out of work in the state, the priority must be jobs, he said.
“Gov. Lynch has said he wants to do all he can to create jobs, but for the past eight months, he has been silent on a contract that could be putting hundreds of people to work today,” Stephen said.
Here is more from the Stephen campaign. Nothing from the Lynch campaign.
Either candidate would serve New Hampshire residents appropriately by urging the DOL to deliver the best possible product at the best possible price free from corrupt and costly PLA mandates.
Let’s hope common sense prevails over politics and special interests and the DOL builds the project using fair and open competition without a PLA.