Two District lawmakers are pressing the city’s water utility to do a better job in hiring D.C. residents on coming projects totaling billions of dollars.
D.C. Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) said they will introduce a bill Tuesday that would order the D.C. Water board of directors to consider requiring District residents to perform at least 30 percent of the work hours on the utility’s largest capital projects.
The bill comes after a concerted campaign from the Washington Interfaith Network, an alliance of 48 city churches, demanding that officials make sure the utility’s projects do more to benefit the residents who are paying the bills.
“District residents pay billions of dollars to D.C. Water, and we need to have more District residents getting jobs,” McDuffie said.
Because D.C. Water is governed by a regional board that cannot be compelled to act by any one of its member jurisdictions, the council bill stops short of mandating the hiring goals — only ordering that the board “consider” them. But board Chairman Allen Y. Lew, who also serves as city administrator, has expressed support for increasing local hiring. And on Monday, four board nominees told a council committee that they would make local hiring a priority.