SAN DIEGO–The County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a recommendation by North County Supervisor Bill Horn to place on the November 2010 ballot a proposed Charter amendment relating to fair and open competition in the County of San Diego.
Currently, a simple majority of the County Board of Supervisors have the power to require, prohibit, or remain neutral on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for county contracts. If the ballot measure is approved, that power would be transferred to a majority of voters in San Diego County, and a majority vote of the people would be required for the Board of Supervisors to do anything other than allow all qualified contractors the opportunity to compete for county contracts.
Project Labor Agreements exist on the federal level. In Executive Order 13502 issued by President Barack Obama, a PLA is defined as “a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes terms and conditions of employment for a special construction project.”
“This Board has never been an advocate for requiring Project Labor Agreements,” said Supervisor Horn. “Those agreements often drive up the cost for projects. Several studies have shown that construction costs are 10-20% higher if a PLA is used. When that happens, the best financial return for the taxpayer’s dollar is not delivered. Union or not, people deserve the opportunity to control their own destiny and ensure that they, and their children can compete for the jobs that their tax dollars pay for. While the County has resisted Project Labor Agreements, we know that the make-up of the Board will change. Now the voters will have the opportunity to codify an existing ordinance, which I believe will save taxpayer dollars and resources for years to come.”
Currently, the cities of Oceanside and Chula Vista have laws prohibiting the city from imposing Project Labor Agreements.
“If approved, this is an investment in the region’s future,” said Horn. “The County Grand Jury just pointed out that we’ve saved $80 million by using open competition.”
The proposed action will not prevent any business, whether they use PLAs or not, from being awarded County contracts.
“Future Boards will manage more projects worth millions of dollars,” said Horn. “Those contracts should be given to whoever can build a project better, faster, and cheaper than the rest.”