Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg tweaks proposal for hiring ordinance

ST. PETERSBURG — After lots of study and criticism, city officials have decided not to spend $150,000 to analyze the hiring practices of local construction firms.

Such a report would have formed the basis of a proposed city law to force construction firms to hire Pinellas County residents on taxpayer-funded projects that cost $2 million or more.

A study isn't needed to link high unemployment and poverty to the impact of the ordinance, Jeannine Williams, assistant city attorney, wrote in a recent memo to the City Council.

The group will be updated Thursday on the changes.

The council could request more revisions or use the update as the first reading of the proposed law. A vote and public hearing could follow in the coming weeks.

Proponents believe the law will help disadvantaged and minority residents land jobs on projects like the new $40 million police headquarters and the $50 million Pier project, known as the Lens.

Now, city attorneys have tweaked the proposal to target unemployed or underemployed workers instead of residents or disadvantaged workers.

The earlier proposal would have forced firms to use the workers for 50 percent of the hours on the projects. That's been changed to 25 percent.

Other changes include requiring contractors to show how they identified unemployed workers, listing subcontractors and detailing the work to be done by workers.

The hiring law has been talked about for months and is being pushed by Faith and Action for Strength Together, or FAST, an interfaith social justice group made up of 38 houses of worship in Pinellas County.

Rabbi Michael Torop, co-chairman of the FAST jobs committee, is pleased that the city won't be doing the study. Even with the required hours dropping from 50 percent to 25 percent, Torop said "anything will help" unemployed workers.

Critics contend the law would reduce competition, produce lower-quality work and drive up prices. The Associated Builders and Contractors objects to the proposal.

Steve Cona III, president of the trade group, said the law should target unemployed workers who are qualified or skilled for the jobs. And he suggests the proposal only be a good-faith effort, not a hard, fast rule.

"A 25 percent quota for all work hours on a construction project is not a workable solution," he added.

Besides some taxpayers and council members, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce also opposed the $150,000 study because of recent budget woes.

No overall figure is available on how much St. Petersburg spends yearly on consultants or studies. But the city spent $250,000 in 2012 on two studies that produced no results.

St. Petersburg tweaks proposal for hiring ordinance 01/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 7, 2013 11:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida ranks high for workplace equality between men and women

    Working Life

    When it comes to the workplace, Florida ranks fifth in terms of gender equality, a WalletHub study released Tuesday found.

    Florida ranks high in terms of equality between men and women in the workplace. Pictured is Sandra Murman, county commissioner in 2015, talking about the differences in pay between men and women. | [Times file photo]
  2. Is Ed Sheeran sexy? An investigation

    Music & Concerts

    Start with the guitar. Guitars are sexy, right? Historically, anytime anyone straps on a guitar, it's only a matter of time before they come running.

    Ed Sheeran, who sold out three shows at Madison Square Garden last year, opened for Taylor Swift’s “Red” tour and now has a new album called “x” (as in multiply), at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, June 14, 2014.  ?  I don?  t look like your typical pop star,?   says the pint-size 23-year-old British folk singer with a mop of red hair and an unassuming mien. ?  I don?  t sing songs like your typical pop star.” (Jesse Dittmar/The New York Times) -- PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE JUNE 22, 2014.
  3. Dates and itinerary for Tampa City Council trip to Cuba finalized


    TAMPA — The dates are set and the itinerary is largely finalized for the Tampa City Council's first official trip to Cuba since the Cuban Revolution.

    Tampa City Council Chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin will be a part of the city council delegation to Cuba this October. [Credit: City of Tampa]
  4. Survey: Few consumers shop for lower prices on health care


    Despite having more financial "skin in the game" than ever, many consumers don't make any attempt to compare prices for health care services, a newly released study found.

    Photo illustration. []
  5. And the most-searched NFL player in Florida is ...


    The Bucs just faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in preseason, and open their 2017 season at the Miami Dolphins. So with the state's NFL competition ahead of and just behind the Bucs, who do you think is the NFL player most searched on Google by Floridians?

    Fans react with excitement moments after the Bucs announce their first-round pick at the team's 2016 NFL draft party. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]