Loudoun Supervisors Expand County Prevailing Wage Rule

Supervisors have expanded the list of contractor employees who must be paid according to the federal Davis-Bacon Act, under which the Commissioner of Labor and Industry determines prevailing wage rates for trades in a given locality.

The county board in February approved a prevailing wage rule for construction contracts, which took effect July 1. On June 21, they voted to expand those rules to construction maintenance contracts, such as those for plumbing, carpentry, painting, HVAC and electrical.

Prevailing wage rules are mandatory for federal and state contracts, but optional for local governments.

However, concerns that doing so would further drive-up county costs divided supervisors. A county consultant has warned that both the original February prevailing wage vote and the subsequent June vote to expand that rule would push costs up for the county.

“Inflation has already ate at this year, probably 8% of our buying power on our [Capital Improvement Program]. But the board keeps doing things to reduce the amount of projects we can get in the CIP, while at the same time continuing to try to add to that CIP with more and more projects and a lot of spending,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles). “Both of these things are going to be on a collision course, and we will be able to do less and less for the same amount of money.”

But the Democrat majority on the board supported the rule.

“Given the policies we’re seeing from the federal government, adopting this approach to our construction related maintenance contracts has the potential to give us a more advantageous position as we go forward, and I think this a fair and equitable way to approach these contracts,” said Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg).

“As far as we know, every other locality in Northern Virginia and Maryland has passed a prevailing wage at higher amounts than this, so we’re acting as if we can kind of underbid our way out of some problems. We can’t,” said Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).
“We have to offer competitive wages.”

Supervisors voted 6-3, with the three Republicans, Letourneau and Supervisors Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin) and Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), opposed.

One thought on “Loudoun Supervisors Expand County Prevailing Wage Rule

  • 2022-07-06 at 2:32 pm
    Permalink

    “Given the policies we’re seeing from the federal government, adopting this approach to our construction related maintenance contracts has the potential to give us a more advantageous position as we go forward, and I think this a fair and equitable way to approach these contracts”

    HOW? How does it put us in an advantageous position?

    WHY? Why is it fair and equitable?

    WHO? Who is it fair to?

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