Friday, July 23, 2010

Prevailing Wage

At a recent neighborhood meeting someone asked what has the Auditor got
to do with prevailing wage?

The Denver Auditor's Office enforces Denver's Prevailing Wage Ordinance with
contractors who work on city projects. If we find a company which is
intentionally violating the prevailing wage laws in fulfilling the
contract they have with the city, the Auditor can recommend debarment, or
barring the company from ever doing business with the city. Debarment
would only be applied to those companies which have intentionally
violated some part of the prevailing wage ordinance. The vast majority
of companies doing business with the city shine as examples of
law-abiding citizens. However we had one company recently against which
we initiated a debarment because the company was flagrantly violating
the prevailing wage ordinance. They were telling the city they were
paying the workers with checks and in reality we found they were
underpaying the employees with cash. I regret to tell you the debarment
did not make it through the city process used for such action. Often
the city is afraid to enforce accountability and responsibility. That
is part of the culture I am trying to change as auditor.

On the brighter side, the Auditor's Office has started giving awards to
businesses which have excellent compliance records. We present
these awards at our quarterly meetings. One business owner received my
invitation to attend our award ceremony because he had an exemplary record.
When he saw the auditor's return address on the envelope, he threw it in
his drawer, worried that he had done something wrong, owed the city
money or the like. When he eventually opened the letter, he realized what it was about and called explaining why he missed the awards ceremony.

Now I send the invitations in a plain white envelope.

I want to thank
our outstanding prevailing wage staff in the Auditor's Office for their
excellent enforcement of our prevailing wage laws.

No comments: