Thursday, November 5, 2009

Representative Bentz Responds on Local Stimulus Jobs

In the Sunday, November 1st blog, I posted a letter to Representative Cliff Bentz that outlined the concerns of a friend in the neighborhood (as well as some my own observations) concerning local stimulus jobs going to people who didn't live in Baker County or even in adjoining counties. The briefest drift of the issues raised was "We thought the stimulus money was supposed to help stimulate the economy and put people to work in the areas where the projects were taking place--not people from cities several hundred miles away or people in neighboring states. To the best of our knowledge, the people just referenced don't shop much in Baker County.

Do you think these projects should be putting more local people to work? Would it be possible for your staff to look into this?

Mr. Bentz has responded, and he is in fact looking into the matter to see if he can get some changes made. He asks that if people have other examples that they get those concerns to him soon. You can send them to Representative Bentz at the address and e-mail at the bottom of his letter, or you may e-mail them to me at, or phone 541-523-2376.

Here is his response:

Dear Mr. Christie,

I raised the issue of ODOT's contracting and hiring practices with ODOT Director Matt Garrett yesterday during my radio show here in Ontario. He was my guest. He indicated that ODOT was making an effort to "unbundle" the project so that local contractors would be hired. I also asked him if ODOT was aware of the approach Idaho and Washington were using (in other words, are Idaho and Washington discriminating against Oregon contractors). He indicated he had heard nothing like this. I have, and I will be following up with him in this regard also.

I have also spoken with the local ODOT personnel regarding the hiring of more local people.

I will be traveling to Salem for the Legislative Transportation Committee meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009. I will raise the issues that you have shared with me once again at that meeting.

If you have any other suggestions (or examples that I could share) could you please get them to me sometime next week so that I can use them in my conversations with ODOT.

Thank you very much for your help.

Very Truly Yours,

Representative Cliff Bentz
District 60

Eastern Oregon Office:
258 S. Oregon St., Ontario, OR 97914
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1027, Ontario, OR 97914


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