Middletown, NY School Board Rejects Crony Contracts for Future Construction

0 July 6, 2010  School Construction, State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

The Middletown, NY School Board rejected a proposal to require contractors to sign a wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreement (PLA) in order to work on the upcoming construction of a new elementary school.

Here is the coverage from the July 2 edition of the Middletown Times Herald-Record (“School Board Vote Rejects Project Labor Agreement,” 7/2/10):

School board vote rejects project labor agreement

By Heather Yakin

MIDDLETOWN — The Middletown School Board cast a vote Thursday night that effectively killed the idea of a project labor agreement for construction of a new elementary school.

The district had gotten three responses to its request for bids to do a preliminary study to determine if such an agreement, which sets terms of wages, scheduling, apprenticeships and other issues between labor and a developer, would save money on the project. The bids ranged from $16,500 to $33,000; the district was considering the highest bid, based on the companies’ track records.

But on Thursday, citing a need to be ready to bid the construction immediately if and when the state Education Department issues its okay, the board voted 6-2 to reject all of the bids and move forward on the project without a PLA.

Voting to reject the bids were board President Will Geiger, Vice President Linda Knapp and members Ed Estrada, John Perrino, Rose Tobiassen and Andrew Warren. Members Nicholas Mauro and Evelyn Isseks voted no.

“For us not to approve the feasibility study is a slap in the face to the union workers in our area,” Mauro said.

Score one for local taxpayers!

A 2006 study conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University titled, “Project Labor Agreements and Public Construction Costs in New York State,” concluded that the presence of a PLA increased school construction projects’ base construction bids by $27 per square foot relative to non-PLA projects, representing an almost 20% increase in costs over the average non-PLA project.

By rejecting this PLA, the Middletown School Board ensured that taxpayers get the best construction at the best price.

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