On February 24, 2011, the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) voted to no longer require union-scale wages on job sites in the hopes of saving money on school construction. The OSFC's action last Thursday returns it to a pre-Strickland administration era when the rules did not allow local districts to require prevailing wages or project labor agreements.
After former Governor Strickland took office in January 2007, the OSFC adopted Resolutions 07-16 and 07-98, which set forth Model Responsible Bidder Requirements and granted school districts authority to determine additional standards. With the change in governors, the OSFC has reverted back to the policies it held for many years under Republican governors by adopting Resolution 11-16, which rescinded Resolutions 07-16 and 07-98. The OSFC views Resolution 11-16 as one to encourage free and open competition for all qualified firms to bid.
Resolution 11-16 (pdf) effectively requires the rejection of bids that include prevailing wage requirements or contain provisions commonly found in project labor agreements. It does so by outlining certain bidding conditions that can no longer be considered. Resolution 11-16 applies to all contracts that require OSFC approval that have not been advertised for bid as of February 24, 2011. For any agreements previously approved under Resolution 07-98, OSFC retains discretion to review their terms and determine the applicability of OSFC's new policies.
The OSFC also voted for Richard Hickman, Jr., to fill the Executive Director vacancy, a position he held four years ago. Hickman replaces former Executive Director Richard Murray, who was alleged to have favored (pdf) union contractors over non-union contractors by helping them secure school construction contracts.