By a 17-2 vote, the Bridgeport City Council Monday night approved an ordinance submitted by East End councilor Ernie Newton that urges developers seeking City Council approval on projects to make Bridgeporters “twenty (20%) percent local resident hires and five (5%) percent ex-felon hires.” Councilors AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and Michael DeFilippo voted against the measure.
City officials describe the ordinance as a good faith effort and not something developers are “forced to do.”
For Newton, a former state senator who’s made a political comeback after imprisoned 15 years ago on public corruption, “It’s the first time we have a chance to hold people accountable on hiring Bridgeport residents first and giving a second chance to those who are qualified to work.”
Newton is employed by the workforce development group Career Resources where he assists in organizing job fairs and reaching out to local companies to provide second chances for former offenders.
Newton, with help from the City Attorney’s Office, presented the language below as part of the ordinance.
3.29 – Employment Opportunities with Developers Fostering Economic Development
For purposes of this Title 3. “Developers Fostering Economic Development” means those developers engaging in projects within the municipal boundaries of the city for which said developer has (1)(a) obtained any city incentive or inducement for said development under Chapters 3.20. 3.24. and/or 3.28 of this Code. and/or (1)(b) has or will acquire city owned real property as part of the project for less fifty (50%) percent of its fair market value as listed in the city’s tax assessor’s office at the time of acquisition. and (2) for which project developer has indicated that said project will result in an increase in jobs, either as to the developer’s own work force, or those of the second tier on the project.
3.29.010 – Contract Provisions
A. All municipal contracting agencies shall include in every agreement hereafter entered into with a Developer Fostering Economic Development, except for those exempted in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.12.060. the following provisions:
“The developer agrees and warrants that during the development of this project pursuant to the terms of this agreement, that first consideration of any additional employment of tradesmen/tradeswomen and/or any apprentices to be working on this project will be given to qualified applicants who are residents of the city and/or who are ex-felons of any category to the maximum greatest extent that any increase in workforce or apprenticeships as a result of this project meets the minimum requirements of twenty (20%) percent local resident hires and five (5%) percent ex-felon hires. The hiring or apprenticeship of an individual who is both a local resident and an ex-felon shall only count as either of one such hire. The developer warrants and represents that it will not replace any of its current workforce as a result of this requirement.”
B. The developer shall include the language set forth above in section A. in every trades subcontract to the project. The developer shall post in conspicuous places, available to employees and applicants for employment, notices encouraging local residents and ex-felons to apply. The developer will send to each labor union or other representative with which he has a collective bargaining agreement or other contract or understanding, a notice to be provided advising the labor union or workers’ representative of the developer’s commitments under this division and shall post copies of such notice in conspicuous places available to employees and applicants for employment.
C. The developer will provide the office of contract compliance [deleted Compliance Committee] established under Municipal Code Sec. 3.12.130 with such information requested by said office [deleted or Committee] concerning the employment pattern, practices and procedures of the developer as relate to the provisions of subsections A and B of this section and any rules and regulations and/or orders issued pursuant thereto.
D. Prior to seeking a building permit for the project, developer shall meet with the office of contract compliance with paperwork sufficient to establish developer’s satisfaction of this requirement or documentation sufficient to the office of contract compliance for said office to issue a waiver of this requirement for good cause shown.