Hiring Local Keeps Local Jobs
July 28, 2011 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker today announced Hire Houston First, an initiative that fulfills her promise to encourage the use of local companies and the hiring of local workers on taxpayer-funded projects. “As long as their pricing is competitive, I want to ensure preference is given to local contractors,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “In these tough economic times it’s more important than ever for our tax dollars to stay in the community where they can support local businesses and the jobs they provide,” said Mayor Parker.
Mayor Parker promised a Hire Houston First program when she ran for office in 2009. The mechanism to fully implement the program was approved by state lawmakers in the just completed legislative session. The program, which requires City Council approval, will allow the City to consider a vendor’s principle place of business and to grant preference to local businesses in awarding certain City contracts.
For contracts under $100,000, the legislative changes allow the City to award contracts for the purchase of goods to a local firm if the local firm’s price is within five percent of the lowest bid from an out-of-town company. For contracts exceeding $100,000, there can be no more than a three percent difference between the out-of-town low bid and the next highest offer from a local vendor.
Mayor Parker proposes expanding the principles of the legislation to include procurements for services, including construction work, and to encompass firms based across the greater Houston metropolitan area. The City would also have the discretion, when appropriate, to consider location when selecting contractors for architectural, engineering, and land surveying services.
“I am thankful to the local legislative delegation for their support in getting this approved and I look forward to working with City Council to get it implemented,” Parker said. “Hire Houston First will provide discretion, where appropriate, without negating our responsibility to wisely manage the dollars entrusted to us. It will maximize the local economic impact of our governmental spending.”
Mayor Parker intends to bring her proposal to City Council for approval August 10.