Aldermen back hire-Evanston plan

Contractors working on city construction projects will be required to hire Evanston workers under an ordinance introduced at City Council Monday.

The plan would require that 15 percent of the work on construction projects valued at over $500,000 be performed by city residents.

The city’s business development coordinator, Lloyd Shepard, says the city has a list of about 30 local residents who are seeking construction jobs and would be eligible to benefit from the program.

He said the city will also reach out to unions to identify additional workers who could benefit from the program.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said she favors increasing the hiring of Evanston residents for city construction jobs, but that implementation of the program "is going to be an absolute nightmare."

She said the rules are too complicated and will be difficult for contractors to follow.

But Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, said the staff could "tweak the implementation of the ordinance so it will work well."

"We need to put this in practice and monitor it to see that it’s working," Jean-Baptiste said.

Rainey voted against the ordinance in the Public Works Committee but at the full council meeting joined the rest of the aldermen in voting for its introduction.

The ordinance was modified following earlier debate to raise the city hiring requirement from 5 percent to 15 percent and to eliminate an exclusion for projects lasting less than 90 days.

The ordinance is scheduled for final adoption at the council’s next meeting, Dec. 8.

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