Loudoun Supervisors Consider Prevailing Wage Rule for County Contracts

Loudoun supervisors are considering a new ordinance that would require county construction contractors to pay the regional prevailing wage as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

A new state law permits the county to require construction contractors on public works products to pay their workers the prevailing wage established federally per the Davis-Bacon Act. The county’s ordinance, as it is being considered, would mirror the existing state prevailing wage requirement, which applies to contracts worth over $250,000. Contracts who pay their workers less would be liable to workers for backpay and damages and barred from future public works projects until they have paid full restitution. If they did so intentionally, they could be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.

“The concern I have is cost and whether this is even necessary, because I suspect that in our market, contractors, given the tight market, are already paying prevailing wage,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles). He also pointed to Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General reports that found problems with the department’s work to establish wage rates, with some going for decades without updates or based on inadequate data.

“In fact there are even concerns about equity […] The origins of it were used to keep certain contractors from not getting certain projects,” Letourneau said. “So I’m not particularly eager to go down this path, particularly I think when we end up competing int the market for projects, that we’re probably ending up with projects that are getting this type of wage anyway. But it is a requirement, and it’s a bureaucratic process that will add time and will make it more difficult to complete our [Capital Improvement Plan] process.”

But other supervisors pointed to recent studies indicating that prevailing wage laws are tied to smaller wage gaps between white and Black construction workers.

“Whatever is going on with the outdated processes and procedures, there’s a fairly overwhelming body of studies that are current that suggests prevailing wage helps workers, helps minorities, and makes construction costs fairer and more economical in the long run,” said Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn). “You ought to pay people the prevailing wage, and if we’ve got problems with the prevailing wage calculation, then at the very least those problems apply to everybody, and prevailing wage still levels the playing field.”

Supervisors voted July 6 to hear more information about a possible prevailing wage rule in Loudoun 7-1-1, with Letourneau opposed and Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent.

5 thoughts on “Loudoun Supervisors Consider Prevailing Wage Rule for County Contracts

  • 2021-07-16 at 9:43 am
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    Taxpayers are always at the back of the line when it comes to policy by this board.

  • 2021-07-16 at 11:50 am
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    I wonder if this will drive up the price of Loudoun projects and who will pay for those increases? Hmmm…

    Michael Turner’s comment is reflective of his thought process. YOU ought to be paying the people a prevailing wage. I wonder who the you are that he is referring to.

  • 2021-07-16 at 12:50 pm
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    Why doesn’t out esteemed BoS direct county staff to have greater oversight into the employment eligibility of workers who are delivering services under these contracts?

    Wouldn’t that be a great way to ensure that taxpayer dollars are having the greatest impact locally?

    As for the idiotic notion of mandating a “prevailing wage,” it’s obvious that some of these politicians need a refresher course in economics.

  • 2021-07-16 at 2:28 pm
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    This board of supervisors ignores its obligations to taxpayers of Loudoun county to spend taxpayers money efficiently.
    Why bother with competitive bidding for government contracts when the democrat board will insist on paying so-called “prevailing wage”, which is double-soeak for more than necessary.
    That’s what you get when you elect woke democrat liberals.

  • 2021-07-16 at 4:06 pm
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    The BOS is just looking to get more campaign money for their re-election, maybe they should pass a law that prohibits them from accepting any money or help from unions, like they do the for builders. Wait that makes sense so it will never happen.

    Just a bunch of corrupt politicians looking to help their party Win re-election even though this has been the most corrupt and disastrous board of supervisors in Loudoun’s history.

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