Volume 22 No. 5 April 7, 2014
The 2014 Regular Session ended on Thursday, April 3rd, almost a month earlier than required by the State Constitution. The majority of members wanted to get out of Montgomery as soon as possible before there were any more indictments or guilty pleas. Representative Greg Wren’s resignation and guilty plea on Tuesday got everyone’s attention and was the main topic of conversation through sine die. Where all of this will lead is anyone’s guess, but everyone is watching.
As to your industry and association, it was a fairly quiet session. We followed some twenty bills, most of which did not pass or if they did, will have no effect on our members. Two that did pass on the last day of the session do need to be noted.
House Bill 24 was authored and driven by the Utility Contractors Association and was endorsed by AGC. It was billed as prompt pay legislation but had its genesis in requiring that awarding authorities have any grant or matching funds on hand before a contract was put out for bid. They did get such language in their bill. In addition, any pre-bid meeting will be at least seven days prior to the bid opening, there will be no changes to specifications within 24 hours of the bid opening, and the awarding authority shall designate a person to review the progress of completed work. That person shall approve or deny the work progress within 10 days of the contractor submitting his or her invoice.
Senate Bill 19 will allow an awarding authority to enter into a contract if an advertisement for sealed bids was submitted to a newspaper and the newspaper only published the advertisement for two weeks instead to the number of days required by law.
Also, congratulations to the Construction Recruitment Institute. Their sunset bill passed with no problems and they are in business until October 1, 2018. Their Board of Directors was increased as well and everyone hopes this will help the board carry out its duties.
As stated earlier, this was a fairly quiet session for your association. Thanks to all of those who we did need to call on to talk with legislators. This is an election year and now that the session is over, I will be traveling the State making PAC contributions. If you are contacted to attend an area meeting in conjunction with one of these events, please try and attend. Your presence will be as important as the contributions.
As of the first of this year, all contractor members of the Alabama AGC in Alabama or Florida who hold the GC license are full members of the association.
“This classification change greatly expands the role of specialty contractors in the AGC,” says Billy Norrell, Alabama AGC Chief Executive Officer. “It means that going forward the Alabama AGC will better represent the entire construction industry and will be a contractor-led association. Within Alabama AGC general contractors and specialty contractors will have the same leadership roles.”
What the change means to members:
- Better reflects the changing relationships of contractors. Expanding the leadership role of specialty contractors will help the Alabama AGC Chapter-wide Board of Directors better represent the industry by providing a more unified voice.
- As the role of specialty contractors has changed over the years, the Alabama AGC membership has discussed changing its membership classification. Specialty contractors have asked for a more active role in the association and this new membership status provides that.
- All new contractors who hold the GC license are coming in as full members. So, they already are eligible to serve in leadership roles in the Alabama AGC. As a result, specialty contractors are now serving on the Chapter-Wide Board of Directors and as sectional officers.
- An example of the effects of this membership change is the ongoing work on the subcontractor licensing law. Mark Harry with Marathon Electric is chairman of the committee. Mark is vice president of the Birmingham Section and serves on the Chapter-wide Board of Directors.
- Rick Pate with Pate Landscape in Montgomery is a specialty contractor who is now a full member and serves as second vice president of the Alabama AGC. He will be president of the Alabama AGC in 2015.
“We at the Alabama AGC believe this reclassification of membership will help us to better represent the industry we have served since 1920,” Norrell said. “Our view is that all contractors should be represented within our industry. And we believe that many of the issues our industry faces can only be properly handled if all of our contractors are at the table together.
“Service to membership is our core business. And this classification change brings the opportunity to serve to an entirely different level.”
“We have been working to personally reach out to all of our new members,” said Joshua Caton, director of membership. “We are delivering new membership plaques to each of them and we are recognizing them at sectional meetings.”
“The Alabama AGC listens to its membership,” said Bill Caton, chief operating officer. “This change comes from that culture. So, not only have we made changes to our membership classification, we also have immediately included specialty contractors at important levels.
“It was natural for the AGC to nominate a specialty contractor for a position on the State Licensing Board for General Contractors for the first time, helping ensure that Mike Tew with SJ&L in Mobile now serves in that important post.”
While the change in membership classification occurs immediately, dues will remain at the associate level of $725 for 2014. They will adjust annually for two years after that, to $950 in 2015 and $1,200 in 2016.
Please call Josh Caton at (205) 451-1400 with questions.
Gov. Robert Bentley praised the construction industry’s Go Build campaign and the Alabama AGC’s workforce efforts at a speech at the AGC’s chapter-wide headquarters in Birmingham.
Follow this link to pictures of the event: Governor Visits AGC
“We must make sure that we take care of our workforce and make sure they are trained properly,” the governor Bentley said during the speech to more than 200 Alabama AGC members. “Let me tell you how you lift people out of poverty, you educate them (about opportunities in the skilled trades) like we are talking about with go Build. You educate the people of our state and you help them find a job.”
The Alabama AGC was instrumental in setting up the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, which oversees the nationally renowned Go Build Campaign. It also is working now to draft legislation that would provide long-term funding for craft training that would utilize community colleges and other training facilities throughout the state.
“We’re making good progress and that’s why Alabama is ranked in the top 5 as one of the best states in the country to do business,” he said. “We all have to work together to make sure the workforce is there and make sure it’s trained.
“We are working to ramp up skilled training in the 11th and 12th grades. 98 percent of all students who belong to FFA graduated from high school. If you can get (students) into the skilled trades, they are going to graduate from high school.”
During the meeting, Bill Caton, COO of the Alabama AGC, told the governor that AGC was instrumental in unifying high school trade curriculum, getting NCCER used system-wide. Caton also told the group that many community colleges are using NCCER so that students can get credit for NCCER work completed in high school.
Gov. Bentley called for a “seamless transition in the education system so that what you learn in high school (skills training) can be transferred to a two-year (skills training) degree and you can take the credit you earn in community college and transfer that to four-year colleges.
“We need all education involved in it. You don’t want to segregate skilled workers. This is a different way of thinking.”
“What we have seen now over this last year is the coming together of business and education,” he said. “You have to tell education what is needed. You have to work together.
“I appreciate what you have already done and we will continue to work on that. We are going to have a marketing program modeled after what you are doing right now. We are going to work together to create more skilled jobs in this state.”
“We have the type of people who work hard in Alabama,” Gov. Bentley said. “I am very proud of our workforce. The thing they (industries) like about Alabama is the work ethic in this state. Mercedes in Germany said 7 percent of their workers are absent daily. They said they have .6 percent average daily absenteeism at the plant in Tuscaloosa. That talks about the work ethic in this state.”
The governor said that when he visits work sites across the state that he notices “how hard (Alabamians) are working and that they enjoy what they are doing. That is the best asset that our state has and that’s why we need to train them.”
He also commented that allowing industry currently in Alabama to be unionized would be devastating for our recruitment of industry.
“I am not anti-union,” Gov. Bentley said. “There are a lot of companies where that works fine. But there are companies like Mercedes which has been here 20 years, and if they unionize that will hurt in future recruiting. We are going to keep Alabama a right-to-work state. We are going to do what is right for employees and make them feel appreciated. And if we do that, they are not going to unionize.”
The governor also discussed some construction projects in the works around the state:
- ATRIP is a way to increase road and bridge work statewide. Funded by $1 billion of Garvey Bond money, every county will get at least $6.6 million. Some counties, such as Madison, which is slated for $82 million, will get much more. The governor called the project the “largest road and bridge program in the history of Alabama. We have 1,122 projects that have been approved.”
- The governor secured $85.5 million through the BP settlement to help rebuild the state part in Gulf Shores. “We are going to put that into a lodging and convention center,” he said. “It will take more money than that, but that’s how we are going to get started. We’ll have it ready before my second term is up. It will bring more money into the state.”
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