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Young introduces local hiring mandate for some Baltimore businesses

BusinessLocal GovernmentStephanie Rawlings-BlakeBernard C. Young

Any business that gets lucrative financial help from City Hall would be required to hire 51 percent of its workers from within the city limits or it could face a criminal sanction.

Those are the terms of a new bill proposed by City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who believes such legislation is needed to reduce what he calls Baltimore's "stubbornly high unemployment rate."

Young's "local hiring mandate" legislation will be introduced Monday before the City Council, he said.

 “City government must ensure that our residents, labor leaders, and contractors join together to finally make local hiring a priority as we seek to grow our city and its economy," Young said in a statement.

Young’s legislation would require 51 percent of new jobs to go to residents of Baltimore City. The ordinance would apply to a business receiving any city contract of at least $300,000 or any project that benefits from at least $5 million in city assistance.

Businesses that do not comply could face debarment from receiving city contracts for one year and a $500 fine, the bill states.

Waivers may be issued, on a case-by-case basis, under certain special conditions, Young said. For instance, if the company can demonstrate it made a "good faith" effort to hire city residents, it could avoid penalty, the legislation states.

In a statement, Young cited local hiring programs in Boston and San Francisco as models for Baltimore.

Ryan O'Doherty, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the administration looks forward to "looking closely at the bill as part of the legislative process."  

"Mayor Rawlings-Blake and the City Council have worked hard to increase job opportunities for City residents on contracts through the Mayor's Employ Baltimore initiative," he said in an email. "It requires contractors to work with the City's Office of Employment Development match employment with qualified city residents. and there's always room for improvement."

Last year, Rawlings-Blake issued an executive order aimed at encouraging businesses to hire local residents.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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