Behold, The Criminally Stupid “Hire NOLA” Ordinance

If you want to know just how far gone Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans City Council are, we can show you what the council unanimously passed on Thursday.

Have you heard about “Hire NOLA?”

Under the new rules, any contractor on a big city project will be expected to make a “good faith effort” to perform an escalating share its of work using locally sourced labor and to target a certain amount of hiring to disadvantaged groups such as the homeless and chronically unemployed.

The rule forbids the city to sign contracts with firms that refuse to commit to the goals.

The contractors will also be required to use the city’s workforce development program, Pathways to Prosperity, as the “first source” for hiring, meaning they will be required to offer jobs to those in the city’s training and job readiness pipeline before publicly posting openings.

Here’s some more…

The requirements of the program are considerable.

Any contractor on a city project worth over $150,000 or more will be required to make a “good faith effort” to ensure that 30 percent of the work-hours go to Orleans Parish residents, 20 percent of which must qualify as “disadvantaged.” Contractors will also be required to try to hire as many officially credentialed apprentices as allowed under the law, and to ensure that 10 percent of them qualify as disadvantaged.

Those benchmarks, “subject to periodic review,” will escalate by five percent each year so that, by 2020, contractors will be expected to have local laborers and tradesman performing half of all the work on city contract, and 30 percent the work should be performed by local workers who qualify as disadvantaged.

“Disadvantaged,” for the purposes of the new hiring rules, means people who fit into one of the following categories: those who live in a household that makes less than half of the area median income, are homeless, are eligible to receive public assistance, suffer from chronic unemployment, are single parents, are military veterans, are products of the foster-care system or were formerly incarcerated.

How residency will be established and income thresholds verified are among the many rules the administration has yet to establish.

The Louisiana Association of General Contractors raised a major stink about this plan, noting that because most of the bigger government construction projects in New Orleans are federally-funded this plan won’t apply to them and also that it’s going to make for an environment more than a little hostile to local construction companies.

The Times-Picayune apparently couldn’t understand this…

Naquin’s second claim, that local firms would be put at a disadvantage, is harder to pin down.

The language of the ordinance says that the local hiring goals apply only to work hours performed by “Louisiana workers.” That would seem to give firms based in neighboring states an advantage. If they can import laborers willing to work for less than those in New Orleans, they will be able to underbid local firms.

“All you have done is make our local guys less competitive than the out of state guys,” Naquin said.

When Councilwoman Stacy Head pushed the administration on the point, Ashleigh Gardere, Landrieu’s point woman for the program, said the city had to work within the law, but legal limitations should not prevent the city from doing everything it can to steer locally raised tax money back into the community, she said.

What this means is if you’re a New Orleans construction company, like Boh Bros. or Durr, you have two choices now. Either you can refuse to bid on any city work, which is what many of them will do, or you’ll have to carry “disadvantaged” people from Orleans Parish on your payroll so as to meet the requirements for this ordinance. And you’ll be including the cost of doing that in your bids to the city, which apparently doesn’t have the money to pay its cops and firemen but has the cash to pay above market for its infrastructure contracts.

Because finding enough people who can actually do the work these companies will be hiring for that meet the Hire NOLA requirements is going to be impossible.

A year from now, New Orleans is going to be covered with Mexican workers brought in by out-of-state construction companies. And some of its major construction companies will quite possibly be relocating elsewhere in the area.

How did this idiocy get started? Our readers probably remember Stand With Dignity, the George Soros-funded leftist group which picketed the Association of Builders and Contractors’ legislative reception a few years ago after ABC managed to get project labor agreements banned in state law. Stand With Dignity is a laughable organization made up of incredibly stupid people, and most of their “protest” events involve finding poor people on street corners and front stoops and giving them $20 bills and black T-shirts in exchange for a couple of hours holding signs with stupid messages like “My mommy needs a job” and “[insert target’s name] = Slavery.”

And yet they’re in a position to dictate policy to Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans City Council. They were involved in the mayor’s promulgation of his “Pathways to Prosperity” plan in the first place.

And what you can absolutely bet on is that since this ordinance is shot through with holes, and the city is in a position to decide which malefactors to pursue and which not to, Hire NOLA is an absolute magnet for graft and corruption. The absolute best way to insure you won’t have trouble from Ashleigh Gardere or any of her cohort in Landrieu’s economic justice brigade is to find the right pol to grease; that way Hire NOLA isn’t a problem for you.

Which one might surmise is the reason Landrieu signed on to this thing in the first place.

New Orleans had a nice run of civic improvement after Katrina. That’s over now. It’s officially a third world enclave again, and it will be until Louisiana elects a governor who will essentially eviscerate the power of that city to self-govern and impose the rule of law on it from the State Capitol.

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