City manager Jon Jennings did not attend the Finance Committee meeting tonight. Rather, Jennings sent his representative from the Koch Brothers. Meanwhile, Mayor Ethan Strimling did attend and the tension between them was the “elephant in the room.”
Earlier this fall, Mayor Strimling proposed changes to the city’s purchasing policy; a/k/a “responsible contracting.” His area of focus was on: (1) paying prevailing wages for building contracts funded by taxpayers, (2) requiring hired contractors to participate in a registered apprenticeship/job training program, and (3) adding additional opportunities for contractors who treat their workers well to earn points toward the possible awarding of a contract.
The back and forth between the two sides has been like watching a tennis match. The ball is now in the city manager’s court. What will he do with it?
This evening Mayor Strimling asked city manager Jennings, in absentia but on the record, to withdraw his deceitful memo dated October 4, 2018. Jennings’ analysis of the financial impact of “reasonable contracting” by Portland in that October 4th memo was based on manipulated data used to mislead the public and city officials into rejecting the concept based on flawed data to start with.
The manager’s analysis claimed incorrectly that “implementing such provisions could increase costs on taxpayers by a remarkable 30-37%, depending on the type of construction,” according to the Mayor. That is deliberately misleading.
That flawed conclusion was based overwhelmingly on information from other states using “free-market think-tanks” with associations to conservative funders, including the Koch Brothers; 80% of the selected material came from Koch related data. Is Jennings a Koch (Coke) Drinker? Who Knew? Forty other studies that would have provided a balanced analysis were ignored by Jennings. If you prefer the Koch Brothers right wing politics, then you will believe Jennings analysis.
Are there any coaching vacancies somewhere that Jennings could return to? He brought the MaineRedClaws to Maine, but unconfirmed rumors are that part of the reason he left was because of his wicked temper. Furthermore, there is an unconfirmed rumor that former Police Chief Michael Sauschuck covets the city manager’s job. Why wait?
There is expected to be another meeting of this committee at the end of November, but who knows.
Please visit post herein dated October 10, 2018 for more background information on how Councilor Justin Costa tried to “kill in committee” the Mayor’s pro labor proposals.