City Council discusses local hiring requirements for public works contracts

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council on Tuesday delayed making a decision on an ordinance regarding public works contracts until staff could look into allowed local hiring requirements. 

Changes to the ordinance were requested by the Northern California Carpenters Union and would require apprenticeships in contracts for $750,000 or higher, 25% of hires being local and health care expenditures for each employee. 

Several members of the Union spoke at the meeting, making passionate pleas to be able to work locally instead of needing to drive out of the basin. 

Jim Marino, the City’s Capital Improvements Project and Facilities Manager, said in 2021/22, 27% of work done on public works projects had local hires, which is typical for other years. 

The council members were all in favor of hiring locally as much as possible but were concerned about hiring issues. They debated language that either encouraged or required local hires. 

Mayor Cristi Creegan, Mayor Pro Tem Cody Bass and Councilmember Tamara Wallace were all in favor of encouraging local hires, especially since staff have already been doing that. Councilmember Scott Robbins wanted more information but suggested requiring a lower percentage and encouraging a higher percentage. 

“Maybe it’s semantics, maybe it’s not but what I’m suggesting is looking at preference for local hires, all else being equal,” said Councilmember John Friedrich. He added he’d like to focus on ways to train and build a local workforce. 

City Attorney Heather Stroud said she’d draft an amendment stating there will be a local hire preference for a low bid project, which would be a design, bid, build project but in a contract that requires scoring, more weight would be given for local hires. 

There will also be continued conversation between the city and the union. 

During the meeting, the council voted to end the local emergency due to severe weather storms, as well as approving a contract for pothole repair on Pioneer Trail, Johnson Blvd and Park Ave.

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