Why is Probe so afraid to put anything about the city of Brawley in its column? We want to know about the company doing the Police Department work. They do not have workman’s comp in California, so they cannot hire any California or Valley people to work on their job sites. Why? How does that work? I had to lay off a few guys and they went there to ask for a job; they were told this. I always try to do business locally, but obviously our manager and City Council don’t. They seem to be shopping outside the boundaries. My question is: how can they not have California workman’s comp to do a California job? I could go out of state and do work a lot cheaper, or I could move my business an hour away and be better off than here ... why? I along with others want an answer. — Disgusted, Brawley
We spoke with City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore, who said she had had a similar letter sent to her and council members.
The company doing the work is Eckard Commercial Construction of Yuma, which was the second to the lowest bidder at $762,992. The lowest bidder was a California company out of San Jacinto at $692,000, but she said its documentation with its bid package was incomplete.
Yes, Eckard is from Arizona and has Arizona worker’s compensation coverage, so its employees are also from Arizona. That is allowable under Arizona law, meaning an Arizona company can do work out of state as long as it doesn’t hire California workers.
That is not what the concern is, we realize. But the reason we impart this information is because demanding that California residents be hired is not something the city of Brawley does right now. In fact, Moore said no city around the Valley demands or stipulates it.
Also, the city does not demand that a company be based out of California, she said.
If there is truly a concern for workers on this job being local, it looks like there is some local work being done through Eckard’s subcontractors. JCS Construction of Imperial is listed as doing millwork, Vic’s Air Conditioning of Holtville is doing mechanical work, J.S. Floor Coverings of El Centro is doing, well, flooring. Moore said she saw Elm’s Equipment Rental items on site as well.
This project finally got going after two rounds of bids. The first round was rejected in July when costs came back much higher. Eckard was awarded after the second go-round in October.
We could understand the need for cities like Brawley to be fiscally responsible when hiring for big projects, and this is a big project. This project is the construction of an emergency operations center and some rehabilitation work to the Police Department itself.
Half a million dollars of the project comes from Department of Homeland Security grants and more than $262,000 from federal asset forfeiture funds.
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