Even though the Galt City Council struck down the idea of a local hiring ordinance in December, it will be back on its agenda Tuesday night.
Citizen Gene Davenport, who serves on the Planning Commission as an alternate, will request that the council puts the ordinance on the November ballot.
"It's a good idea, especially in this economy. When building starts up again people could catch a job in town rather than going to another area like Elk Grove," Davenport said.
His proposal would require contractors who take Public Works or other city improvement jobs valued at $100,000 or more to hire 50 percent of their employees locally.
Councilman Andrew Meredith had originally proposed a local hiring ordinance that required contractors to hire between 20 to 50 percent of labor locally, depending on the size of the contract. He suggested it as a trial ordinance.
Meredith and Councilman Donald Haines voted for the trial ordinance while Mayor Randy Shelton and Councilwoman Barbara Payne voted against. Councilman Darryl Clare was absent from the meeting, and because the vote was split, the ordinance failed.
Davenport, who works as the chief dispatcher for longshore workers at the Port of Stockton, wanted to take up the cause because he served on a labor council and saw developers come into communities and not hire anyone locally.
"It's a developer's dream to do that, but it's not a worker's dream, and it's not a community's dream because these developers will come and go," he said.
If the council approves putting the ordinance on the ballot, city staff will still have to draft the language and bring it back to the council for approval, City Clerk Liz Aguire said. Conservatively, she said it will cost $1,200 to $1,500 to place it on the ballot.
If the council does not approve putting it on the ballot, Davenport said he is prepared to collect signatures for it.
The ordinance includes an escape clause if the contractor cannot find enough local people with needed skills to work on the project. The contractor would have to show the city it made a "good faith effort" to hire local residents by completing six or more recruitment strategies.
Some of the strategies include helping residents complete job application forms, conducting interviews within 5 to 10 miles of the location of the contract, or advertising the jobs in newspapers, on job boards and in public places.
On the agenda Tuesday night, the item will be under Haines' name, even though Meredith was originally the councilmember pushing for it.
"It really is to show that it's not just one person pushing this. It's something a broad spectrum of the community supports," Meredith said.
At the meeting, Meredith plans to waive his compensation for the rest of his term to pay for the cost to get it on the ballot, so that will not be a hindrance. Councilmembers make $300 a month.
Meredith said he hopes he will be able to work with the rest of the council to convince them to support Davenport's suggested ordinance or the one Meredith originally proposed.
Here's the basic breakdown of Meredith's ordinance, which changes depending on the contract price:
- $50,000 to $125,000: The contractor will have to hire 50 percent of its employees, including any subcontractors, from Galt.
- $125,001 to $250,000: The contractor will have to hire 30 percent of its workforce from Galt.
- More than 250,000: The contractor will hire no less than 20 percent.
Davenport said he is open to a compromise and just wants to see the city move forward with the ordinance.
"I want something that is firm, concrete and will protect local people," Davenport said.