Everett Mayor Issues First-Ever Veto Over Project Labor Agreement Ordinance

December 15, 2022

Everett Government

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin at the Everett City Council meeting of December 14th issuing her first-ever veto.

At the Everett City Council meeting Wednesday night Everett, Washington Mayor Cassie Franklin issued the first-ever veto of her administration.

Last week the Everett City Council adopted Council bill 3912-22. It changed how the City deals with Project Labor Agreements.

In 2019 Franklin worked on Resolution 7461 that said the City of Everett should consider use of project agreements on large public works projects $5 million dollars and above and that if a project was identified as being a good candidate for a Project Labor Agreement written findings should be sent to the City Council clearly demonstrating how the use of the Project Agreement will benefit the major construction project and protect the interests of the public and the City in terms of cost, efficiency, quality, safety, and timely completion. Here is a copy of that resolution:

Dec 2019 Resolution 7461 Project Labor Agreements

In the time since that Resolution passed there has not been a single Project Labor Agreement presented to the Everett City Council for approval. (However it should be noted that in February 2020 the Pandemic hit putting a stop to the planning of most new projects and disrupting the City’s planning department as several employees left over the last two years).

In November Everett City Council member Liz Vogeli brought forth a new ordinance that took out the idea of considering public benefit and mandated the use of PLAs on projects of $5 million dollars or more.

Last week that new ordinance (#3912-22) passed on a 4 to 3 vote and amendments calling for delayed implementation or further study were not approved.

Tonight Franklin, (who had never vetoed an ordinance as Mayor), issued her first ever Veto citing in part:

  • Unlike existing Resolution 7461 and other PLA ordinances staff have reviewed, this ordinance makes PLAs mandatory with no project-by-project analysis of whether a PLA is in the public interest for a particular project. It mandates the use of a PLA even for projects where a PLA does not serve the public interest.
  • The ordinance was adopted without full consideration of its impact on the time it will take to complete city construction projects and the cost of project delay.
  • The ordinance was adopted without the benefit of a comprehensive review of legal risks and vulnerabilities.
    You can view her full list of reasons given to the City Council for the veto along with the unsigned ordinance below:

    Veto Ord 3912-22 Final

    Councilmembers Vogeli and Fosse expressed their disagreement with the Mayor’s veto while councilmembers Zarlingo and Stonecipher supported it.

    It would take five votes out of the seven member council to override the veto and it appeared that an attempt to override may indeed take place next Wednesday.

    Franklin said she wanted to form a task force that included at least two city council members preferably on opposing sides of the issue along with City staff and Labor Union representatives to study PLAs and develop a process for implementation.

    She also said she plans to ask staff to draft apprenticeship requirements after the first of the year to put more people into the trades. Franklin concluded her remarks to the council as follows:

    As Mayor, it’s my job to lead the city and make decisions that improve the quality of life of our residents. It’s my duty to ensure we are working in the public’s best interest. Unfortunately, there are too many unknowns and unaddressed concerns with this ordinance. Because _of this, I am exercising my authority under Article IV (4), Section 1 of the Everett Charter to veto Ordinance No. 3912.22. I do not use this authority lightly and I fully understand the gravity of this situation.

    Councilmember Vogeli said she was going to continue to work on a template for the Project Labor Agreements and said, “I want to work on the PLA template. It’s going to happen, I’m going to do it.”


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