Bill Horn: Ensuring Fair and Open Competition for County Contracts

Thor's Assistant Rostra Administrator (Thor's Assistant) 4 Comments


From Supervisor Horn on today’s County Board action to ban Project Labor Agreements…

Supervisor – Fifth District
San Diego County Board of Supervisors

For Immediate Release

Ensuring Fair and Open Competition for County Contracts

(San Diego) The San Diego County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a recommendation from Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn to adopt an ordinance that bans Project Labor Agreements in County contracts beyond what the State and Federal government mandate.

A Project Labor Agreement, commonly referred to as a “PLA”, is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement to use union labor on a project. When required, it eliminates the ability for non-union companies and workers to compete for and work on, government projects. When required by Federal, State, or local governments, PLAs discriminate against approximately 85% of construction workers and reduce competition to only those contractors who use union labor.

Supervisor Horn said, “The people of our county expect us to guard taxpayer dollars and one way is to protect open competition for construction work on county contracts.”  Horn added, “Reducing competition for government contracts causes bids to come in higher, which drives up the cost to build government projects and squanders precious tax dollars. All qualified contractors and workers deserve the chance to compete for contracts and jobs that their own tax dollars pay for.”

Supervisor Horn said, “This Board has been on the cutting edge of improving government services by increasing efficiency of County employees and using the private sector. I think we owe it to the taxpayers to formalize some of the practices we use to save the County millions.”

In the last 12 months, the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, Oceanside, and the County of Orange have all taken steps to reduce or eliminate requirements to use the PLA.

Today’s ordinance requires a second reading March 2, 2010 and the ordinance would take effect thirty days later. The Board also directed the Chief Administrative Officer to return to the Board in 180 days with a report on County contracting, competition and privatization including practices that could be formalized by policy, ordinance, or reconsideration for putting an initiative on the November ballot for voter approval.



Comments 4

  1. At every level, local government in San Diego lets the public employee unions get enough money and power to threaten officials and run local government THEN acts. That’s suicide, and a big reason for the various fiscal problems in Oceanside, San Diego, Chula Vista, and the County of San Diego.

    Good job Bill, and I sincerely hope you have 3 votes.

  2. Bill, this is good government. Way to promote fair and open competition and put an end to costly vehicles (PLAs) for special interests (Big Labor).

  3. Post
  4. Speakers who spoke in favor included:

    * Dru Wells, Helix Electric
    * Eric Christen, Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction
    * Ken Bertalan, Bergelectric
    * Jeff Hinds, Ace Electric
    * Scott Brady, Brady Company/San Diego
    * Vincent Gilmore, Brady Company/San Diego and Instructor for Associated General Contractors of San Diego Apprenticeship Training Program
    * Husayn Shabazz, Pacific Rim Mechanical and current apprentice at Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego
    * Brad Barnum, Associated General Contractors of San Diego
    * Bill Baber, Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego

    All were excellent, on point, and reaffirmed workers rights and protecting taxpayers.


    Big Labor spokespersons, a diverse group of middle aged white men none of whom were contractors or workers, spoke in opposition to placing the issue before the voters. Why?

    * Food stamps (not sure what that has to do with PLAs but hey, it sounds good.)
    * It will cost $100,000. So big labor is now officially on record for opposing waste and the abuse of taxpayer dollars.
    * Lorena’s brother (the guy who thinks fireworks are “warlike” and not very progressive. Really.) said basically that only unions provide a good product at a good price thereby making our argument for us.
    * Tom Lemmon did a pretty good job compared to usual but in the end, it was union good fire bad. The good news here as well was he spent his entire time arguing against our arguments, arguing in our quadrant. Thanks Tom.
    * Dave Sickler joined us from Los Angles to explain how wonderful L.A. is and how it should be a model for all to follow because of its use of lots of PLAs. Really, he sad that.
    * A SEIU labor boss argued that the $100,000 could be better spent on hiring more union county workers that in turn would help him stay employed. Super.
    * The Operating Engineers business agent said something I have already forgotten.
    * The $100,000 could be used to prevent the next fire from going through San Diego.
    * New resident who just came down to express outrage that the County was looking to ban something that the County is not even considering doing. Just a random resident who has no relationship with big labor. Nope.
    * Lorena Gonzalez’s stand in (she was away on business where she will learn on how to further ruin California’s business climate even more) spoke about how everything we said was a lie and that voters are too stupid to vote on this issue.


    The question then went to the Supervisors. Supervisor Bill Horn spoke first and explained why this was necessary, like the need to protect taxpayers. He thought it was important to let the voters decide this issue and allow them to protect the rights of workers. He then made a motion to move ahead with the ballot measure. There was not a second so Supervisor Horn moved to have County adopt an ordinance banning PLAs.

    Supervisor Ron Roberts talked about the need to get along with both union and non-union labor and that $100,000 could be better spent. He seconded the motion by Supervisor Horn.

    Supervisor Pam Slater-Price spoke about how the Water Authority said their PLA had been good for them were in support of PLAs, which meant a great deal to her. She said that it was good to hear Labor explain that under a PLA non-union workers would not have to pay into union benefit programs.

    Supervisor Diane Jacobs spoke in favor of open competition and against PLAs. She indicated she would vote for the motion to ban PLAs via ordinance though she would support a ballot measure had there been the votes.

    Supervisor Greg Cox spoke against PLAs and in favor of the ordinance.

    The Board of Supervisors then took a vote and the motion to ban PLAs via ordinance passed 5-0!!

    In Conclusion:

    Another victory for freedom and open competition.

    Thank you Supervisors.


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