Politics

City to Resume Manual Monitoring of Prevailing Wage

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city will rely on manual checks of prevailing wage reports submitted by general contractors and subcontractors after it discontinues use of a software system it has had in place since 2015.

The Board of Control this morning approved a final payment of $3,506.25 to LCPtracker of Orange, Calif., to license the use of its software. The city gave notice last year that it would discontinue using the system. The license agreement ends March 31.

The city, which entered into its initial contract with LCPtracker in April 2015, and has paid the company approximately $48,000 in setup, training and annual software licensing fees, said Dana Lantz, deputy law director.

“Personally, this is a program that should have never been purchased. It’s not user friendly for our needs and so we terminated the contract,” Law Director Jeff Limbian said. Though he described it as an “extraordinary program,” the system was “extraordinarily expensive” and did both more and less of what the city needed it to do.

“It wasn’t specific to our needs,” Limbian said.

General contractors and subcontractors working on public works projects covered by prevailing wage laws must submit payroll records to the entity that awarded the contract to ensure that their employees are being paid according to those laws, regardless of whether or not they belong to a union.

The city frequently received complaints from contractors who found the system difficult to use, Lantz said. The system was labor intensive and smaller contractors often found themselves boxed out of contracts because they didn’t have specific departments or personnel to deal with it.

Even with the software, records still needed to be reviewed, she said. Though the program should catch mistakes, as pay rates and fringe benefits change the verification doesn’t always match. Additionally, Ohio law requires original signed certifications and does not yet allow for electronic signatures.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.