CLARKE: HIRE PHILADELPHIANS FIRST FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

Bill Would Ensure Diverse, Local Hiring on Projects That Receive Tax Breaks or Other Public Subsidy

Philadelphia, February. 18, 2016 – City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday proposed including City residency in the setting of annual workforce diversity goals.

The ordinance introduced on Council President Clarke’s behalf amends the definition of “Diverse Workforce” in the Philadelphia Code to include residents of the City of Philadelphia. The ordinance also amends the Code’s First Source Jobs Policy to designate the Economic Opportunity Review Committee (EORC) to oversee implementation and enforcement, require reporting of executed First Source Jobs Agreements at EORC meetings, and authorize City Council to provide for fines and penalties for noncompliance in the failure to make best and good faith efforts to hire Philadelphia residents for at least 50 percent of entry-level jobs created through public subsidy.

“In a City with 26 percent of its people living poverty, it is unacceptable that more than two-thirds of work on construction sites goes to non-Philadelphia residents,” Council President Clarke said. “We are experiencing a strong economic recovery that has yet to touch the people who are most in need of steady employment. The City of Philadelphia must exit the zero-sum game among cities and states to offer tax incentives to any and all businesses with almost no strings attached.”

“If you want to do business in the City of Philadelphia, that’s great. Welcome.
But if you want a tax break to do so, we will require you to pay a fair wage, to employ a workforce that reflects our City’s diversity, and to hire locally.” – Council President Darrell Clarke

According to data tracked by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), just 33.3 percent of total workforce hours on construction sites were performed by Philadelphia residents. Just 22 percent of hours on completed projects were worked by minority men, and just 1.9 percent of hours were worked by women – short of Economic Opportunity Plan (EOP) goals of 32 percent for minority men and 7 percent for women. In a 2013 report to the Mayor and City Council, the Philadelphia Jobs Commission recommended strong EOP monitoring of workforce diversity.

Under existing law, any covered project or contract that includes public subsidy exceeding $250,000 must be entered into a First Source Employment Agreement. The amendment proposed by Council President Clarke clarifies enforcement mechanisms, which include:

  • Review by EORC of First Sources Jobs Agreements on at least a quarterly basis;
  • Withholding of payments related to financial assistance pending corrective action;
  • Requiring reimbursement of some or all financial assistance already disbursed to beneficiary;
  • Ban on bidding on and/or participating in future City contracts for up to three years;
  • Imposition of fines or penalties by resolution of City Council

A copy of Council President’s Clarke’s ordinance can be found here.

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Council President Darrell L. Clarke is serving his second term as the President of Philadelphia City Council. He represents Philadelphia’s 5th Council District. More information at phlcouncil.com/DarrellClarke

More on this ordinance:

From the Philadelphia Inquirer.

From the Philadelphia Tribune.

From CBS Philly/KYW Newsradio.

From Newsworks/WHYY.

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