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Cincinnati Council Postpones Responsible Bidder, Puts Local Hire On Hold


The City of Cincinnati recently won a federal appeals court case that challenged a portion of the responsible bidder ordinance, but it appears a clear council majority is ready to delay implementing it for 60 days.

City Manager Harry Black and other city officials say they'll use that time to make the ordinance better.

The responsible bidder ordinance requires companies bidding on city contracts worth more than $400,000 to have a job training program for workers.

City administrators and others were concerned the local hire requirements could hurt efforts the city is taking to give more contracts to minority and women-owned businesses.

"As this is written now, economic inclusion is DOA," said City Manager Harry Black.

The local hire provision of the law requires that a portion of construction contract work be done by local residents, with a percentage performed by disadvantaged workers.

The full nine-member city council is expected to pass the committee's recommendations at Wednesday's weekly council meeting.

Council Member David Mann, who sat in on the meeting but who is not a member of the committee, said he is not at all certain the local hire provision is constitutional.

Earlier this month, Black asked council to delay implementation of both requirements until September.

Black, on Tuesday, indicated he was satisfied with the 60-day delay and the indefinite suspension of local hire.

"I believe that we have enough brain power in this building that we can come up with some scenarios to present to you,'' Black told the committee.

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Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.