Yesterday, new Nashville mayor Megan Barry delayed the implementation of the new local hire law. The mayor’s decision comes as a bit of a surprise following her public support of the measure during the election, despite strong opposition from former Mayor Karl Dean, contractors and trade organizations and the Chamber of Commerce. Although the new rule was set to be written into Nashville’s procurement regulations October 1, Mayor Barry delayed the measure, stating more time was needed to review the best practices of other cities and to continue to meet with interested stakeholders. Interestingly, Barry cited concerns expressed not only by contractors and trade organizations who strongly opposed the amendment but also labor union leaders, who now contend implementation could hinder Metro’s ability to continue with current construction projects and “be counterproductive towards the intended goals of putting more Davidson County residents to work.”
Barry continued: “This delay in implementation will give us all a chance to research best practices in other cities and for my office to meet with members of the Metro Council, the business community, labor leaders and other stakeholders to develop guidelines that will meet our goals of training and hiring more Davidson County workers for jobs funded with their tax dollars.” Perhaps most ironic, the Southeast Laborers’ District Council, which advocated heavily for the charter amendment, sought to postpone implementation of the rule until March 31, 2016 “to provide an opportunity for discussion amongst the various representatives and coalitions that care about workforce development.”
The decision to delay implementation follows the filing of a bill by Williamson County Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) to invalidate the measure. In one of my prior posts, I noted the Mayor’s response to Senator Jackson’s bill tended to signal a short life for the charter amendment. It appears local labor leaders are now seeking to reach a compromise with contractors and industry groups prior to the legislature taking action on the bill in early January in an attempt to keep the charter amendment alive.
Photo: Rex Hammock