(La Porte, IN) - Safeguards are now in place to make sure construction paid for by La Porte County government is top quality. The measure also provides more of a level playing field for union companies vying for the jobs. “I know how important this is to organized labor,” said La Porte County Commission president Rich Mrozinski.
Contractors must have an established apprenticeship program to bid on county government jobs costing $150,000 or more under the recently adopted measure. The apprenticeship program must also have at least five graduates in each of the past five-years. “That way you know you’re getting somebody who’s been trained to do the job,” he said.
Mrozinski said the requirements provide assurance of quality workmanship and taxes being taken out of wages paid in the form of a check. He said the standards also make it more difficult for companies to land contracts if they’re paying below scale wages in cash to undercut legitimate contractors during the bidding. “That’s what we’re trying to fight,” he said.
Mrozinski said reputable firms are also more likely to come back and fix any flaws uncovered after the job is completed.
The only vote on the three member panel against the proposal was cast by Joe Haney. Haney said requiring an apprenticeship program will keep legitimate small businesses like those owned by minorities and women out of the bidding process. "It’s yet another impediment from them getting contracts,” he said. Haney also said he’s not aware of any county government projects where earnings paid in cash and workmanship were issues.