Office Hours and Upcoming Meetings

***IMPORTANT NOTE: THE ALACHUA COUNTY LABOR COALITION ENGAGES IN POLITICAL ADVOCACY BUT DOES NOT ENDORSE ANY CANDIDATE FOR ANY POLITICAL OFFICE.***

ACLC Office

502 NW 16th Ave, Ste. 2B, Gainesville, Florida
Phone: 352-375-2832
Office Hours:
Mon: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Tues: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Wed: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Thur: 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM & 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM

See all events and details on the ACLC Facebook Events page!

  • April 23, 6-8PM
    • General Membership Meeting
    • Location: Emmanual Mennonite Church
  • May 7, 6PM
    • Board Meeting
    • Location: ACLC Office

General Membership Meetings are the fourth Tuesday of each month, at 6pm and usually held at the Emmanual Mennonite Church.

Board Meetings are the first Tuesday of each month, 6pm at the ACLC Office.

Open Letter to City Mayor and Commission on Renters’ Rights

(This is a letter written by James Thompson to the City Mayor and Commission on April 14th, 2019 on the topic of Renters’ Rights)

Mr. Mayor, Commissioners,

In a quarter century of living in my adopted hometown I have never seen such broad based community consensus on a major governance issue. Everyone who cares about affordable housing has given clear instructions to elected officials. The ACLC Renters Rights program is endorsed or supported without edit or amendment by the Alachua County NAACP, UF Faculty Senate, UF Student Government, Indivisible Gainesville, Pride Community Center, Alachua County Democratic Party, ACEA (K-12 teachers and staff union), Greater Duval Neighborhood Association, Graduate Assistants United, League of Women Voters, National Womens Liberation, North Central Florida Labor Council (AFL-CIO), Suwanee St. Johns Sierra Club, United Faculty of Florida, and many others.

Utilizing new construction, inclusionary zoning, linkage fees, and other development oriented strategies has proven to be a heavy lift in creating minimal to zero affordable housing across the nation. On the other hand, renters rights programs that include landlord licensing, energy efficiency, anti-discrimination rules, and tenant rights education could improve living conditions and affordability for tens of thousands of our neighbors. On Tuesday your subcommittee will hold a pivotal meeting to discuss landlord licensing and energy efficiency. Our community looks forward to good policy that dovetails racial, economic, and environmental justice. Gainesville can’t meet sustainability goals–of the human or environmental kind–without the ACLC provisions. We look forward to a robust program from the subcommittee.

Regards,
James Thompson

Alachua County – Fair Housing Month

*See Below Announcement From the County on Fair Housing Month*

March 26, 2019 10:15 a.m.

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL –

April is Fair Housing month in Alachua County. The Human Rights Ordinance of Alachua County prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or familial status in the sale or rental of housing. The following are unlawful and discriminatory housing practices because of a protected status: Refusing to sell, rent or lease housing to an interested tenant or buyer. Applying different sale, rental, or occupancy terms for different people. Misrepresenting the availability of housing when housing is in fact available. Providing inferior conditions, terms, facilities, or privileges in connection with housing. Steering customers to/from a certain neighborhood, or refusing to serve certain customers by real estate professionals. Redlining or limiting lending in a particular area because of the demographics of that area or imposing different terms or conditions on a loan. Refusing to permit reasonable modifications when accommodations may be necessary for an individual with a disability to use and enjoy their dwelling. Harassing tenants and homeowners in connection with housing accommodations. For more information, or to file a Fair Housing complaint, contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275. TDD/TTY users, call 352-374-5284 or 711 FL Relay.
If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at (352)374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users, please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).

Jenn Powell – Gainesville City Mayor – Questionnaire

EDITORS NOTE: All candidates running were asked to fill out questionnaire and given the same access to the questionnaire. The content of each questionnaire response has been left in its original format and has not been edited in any way by the Labor Coalition. The Labor Coalition does not endorse any candidates and the inclusion of these questionnaire responses to our website should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind.

What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

The recent United Way study shows 50% of our community living paycheck to paycheck, “asset limited, income constrained, employed.” Working people literally can’t afford to live in Gainesville. Since taking City office in 2010 our mayor has not addressed these issues by demanding that University of Florida, his own employer Santa Fe College, and the City itself pay a living wage. And his Commission majority are only just during this election cycle beginning to address contractor wage loopholes and East Side bus deficiencies. As an ACLC Committee of 100 supporter I know how lucky we are to have the ACLC pushing for living wages, but we need a mayor that will use the office to be aggressive. As your Mayor I will publicly demand change, not just send things to committee for study.

Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $15.08 an hour)

Absolutely, I do. Support is one thing. Demanding action is another. I hope to join a growing majority on the City Commission that cares about these issues. I have also pledged not to accept a salary greater than the hourly rate of our lowest paid City Employees which is currently $13.50/hr.

The Gainesville Living Wage Ordinance for contractors has so many loopholes that it applies to almost no contracts the City currently has. To address this issue, Mayor Brady started to look into updating the Ordinance in December 2015, but no action has been taken until December 2018 when a six-month study was started. What will you do to ensure the timely and effective changes needed to the Gainesville’s Living Wage Ordinance?  

There is no excuse for waiting on this. Labor leaders and community activists have challenged these loopholes for years while the mayor has been in office. My first action on taking office will be to make a motion to close this loophole and to negotiate contracts already in effect that do not follow it.

What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

In the past city officials have limited themselves to what managers will let them do, or claimed that some things are outside their duties. I will be a mayor who uses the position to advocate for improved wages and benefits for all of Gainesville’s workers. This includes UF’s OPS employees, all UF employees, Santa Fe College, Alachua County, and the Alachua County School Board. We need to press each other to lift all workers out of poverty.

What do you envision as the role of large local employers in Gainesville in helping to improve wages, benefit workers, and reduce inequalities? How have/would you encourage these large local employers to address these issues?

The first thing we can do is welcome UF’s main campus into our publicly owned utility power grid at GRU. This will keep a huge amount of money from leaving our community to Duke Energy corporate shareholders, and put it back into salaried positions and other jobs at GRU. Gainesville’s Utility Advisory Board is excited about this, but the mayor and some of his colleagues are not moving on it.

The second thing we can do is turn campaign promises into an actual public campaign from the Mayor’s office. I will stand with my ACLC fellow workers and supporters as your next Mayor to explain to the public who is paying what, where the profits or dollars are going, and to encourage all businesses and institutions to create local hiring and contractor preferences with living wage jobs.

Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to a natural disaster)?

Yes. This should be a part of the reforms we make to our wage structure and our contractor loopholes.

If you are an employer: Do you pay all your workers a living wage? If you do not: How are you making an effort to do so?

I own a small business on top of my regular job. We are an IBEW local 1205 union shop and are Living Wage Certified.

Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • Offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages.
  • Protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy and water efficiency.
  • Require universal licensing and safety/health inspections of all rental property.
  • Offer protections against discrimination based on source of income and citizenship status.
  • Ensure greater disclosure of renters’ rights and responsibilities.

I fully endorse the ACLC Renter’s Rights policy. The City Commission has this in committee and is, according to one of the mayor’s supporters, going to “see what staff will let us do.” I promise to take action and have a debate with my colleagues. We already have the data and have heard the stories. Committee time is over.

What are some policies the City of Gainesville can enact to improve access to quality, safe affordable housing in our community?

Properly utilizing the tools already available such as The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, The Sadowski Fund along with a strong the renters rights program is a start.

Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Yes.

Lauren Poe – Gainesville City Mayor – Questionnaire

EDITORS NOTE: All candidates running were asked to fill out questionnaire and given the same access to the questionnaire. The content of each questionnaire response has been left in its original format and has not been edited in any way by the Labor Coalition. The Labor Coalition does not endorse any candidates and the inclusion of these questionnaire responses to our website should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind.

What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

Many issues intersect to present significant challenges to Gainesville’s working people. Transportation challenges limit access to jobs based on geography, times and employer expectations. Housing is a huge challenge both because of cost issues, including but not limited to rent, locations, utility costs, access to quality schools, food or healthcare, and so on… Quality of employment opportunities is also an issue. A job that offers benefits, opportunity for advancement, work hour flexibility and paid time off all create barriers. Additional barriers include quality healthcare options, access to nutritious and affordable food, quality out-of-school programming for working families, competition for jobs with part-time students, and the list goes on.

Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $15.08 an hour)

Yes, and I continue to be committed to implementing the living wage plan agreed to between the city and the ACLC two year ago until we achieve a full living wage for all city employees.

The Gainesville Living Wage Ordinance for contractors has so many loopholes that it applies to almost no contracts the City currently has. To address this issue, Mayor Brady started to look into updating the Ordinance in December 2015, but no action has been taken until December 2018 when a six-month study was started. What will you do to ensure the timely and effective changes needed to the Gainesville’s Living Wage Ordinance?  

We have full implementation of the living wage extended to all people contracted to work for the city as part of our FY20-22 budget and are working on a verification procedure. The latter is more problematic, as most cities do not have a good verification procedure in place. I do not want to extend LW payments to contractors just to have them pocket the increased profit and pass none of the benefit along to the actual workers. I look forward to working with the ACLC to resolve this matter.

What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

I would like to continue working with programs like GEAP (Gainesville Entrepreneurs facing Adversity Program), the Gainesville Housing Authority entrepreneurship program, Project YouthBuild, Career Source and other programs. This emphasis will help, in addition to of helping a resident find a good job, be able to create their own (and hire more people as they grow). I also think there are good opportunities to work with apprenticeship programs to create a pipeline between well-paying trades and jobs in areas of critical need such as masons, mechanics, and electricians. Better partnerships between the various trade organizations, UF, SF and the private sector can reap incredible benefits for our area’s underemployed.

What do you envision as the role of large local employers in Gainesville in helping to improve wages, benefit workers, and reduce inequalities? How have/would you encourage these large local employers to address these issues?

I have urged some of our largest employers to raise their floor, including my own employer Santa Fe College. The University, city, county and school board are some of the largest employers, not just in our county, but in the region. If we can set the standard, the private sector will need to follow in order to attract top talent.

Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to a natural disaster)?

Yes, and we are currently developing a policy in order to do so.

Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • Offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages.
  • Protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy and water efficiency.
  • Require universal licensing and safety/health inspections of all rental property.
  • Offer protections against discrimination based on source of income and citizenship status.
  • Ensure greater disclosure of renters’ rights and responsibilities.

Yes, and I am hopeful we will get this passed by late spring/early summer.

If you are an employer: Do you pay all your workers a living wage? If you do not: How are you making an effort to do so?

We have committed to a plan with the ACLC to fully implement a living wage within the next three years.

What are some policies the City of Gainesville can enact to improve access to quality, safe affordable housing in our community?

There is not enough space to do this question justice in the questionnaire, but some of the elements that need to be part of the discussion and possible long-term solution include: a more enhanced partnership with the Gainesville Housing Authority to build more public housing, allow Accessory Dwelling Units in all zoning areas, encourage rehabilitation, partnering with community land trusts, and pass an inclusionary zoning policy with teeth. All of this needs to be done with sensitivity towards issues of displacement and gentrification.   

Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Yes, and I am excited to understand more about the significant value this could bring to both the city and our community workforce.

Adrian Hayes-Santos – Gainesville City Commission District 4 – Questionnaire

EDITORS NOTE: All candidates running were asked to fill out questionnaire and given the same access to the questionnaire. The content of each questionnaire response has been left in its original format and has not been edited in any way by the Labor Coalition. The Labor Coalition does not endorse any candidates and the inclusion of these questionnaire responses to our website should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind.

What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

Affordable and safe housing, cost and ease of transportation, and good jobs that pay a living wage.

Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $15.08 an hour)

The Gainesville Living Wage Ordinance for contractors has so many loopholes that it applies to almost no contracts the City currently has. To address this issue, Mayor Brady started to look into updating the Ordinance in December 2015, but no action has been taken until December 2018 when a six-month study was started. What will you do to ensure the timely and effective changes needed to the Gainesville’s Living Wage Ordinance?  

Yes I fully support paying all city employees a living wage of at least $15 an hour, and I have voted in favor of budgets that have moved employees toward that every year I’ve been on the commission. When I first came onto the city commission, there was significant push back from the more conservative commissioners to not include seasonal and temporary employees in living wage increases. I, along with mayor Poe, were successful in pushing back and were able to include seasonal and temporary employees in the increased living wage. I do support removing all loopholes in the living wage ordinance as it concerns contractors. Contractors should be included in the living wage increases, and I will push for them to be included in this years budget.

What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

While there may be no direct way for the city to force wage increases for the community, the city can work to make housing more affordable by passing the “Renters Rights” ordinance. I also support the city continuing to increase minimum wages for city workers and contractors which would help pressure other businesses in the community to raise their wages.

What do you envision as the role of large local employers in Gainesville in helping to improve wages, benefit workers, and reduce inequalities? How have/would you encourage these large local employers to address these issues?

An increased minimum wage law for the city would make the most significant impact; unfortunately the state of Florida has preempted the city from taking action on this issue. I have strongly supported a real living wage for city workers and while on the commission the city has increase wages for the lowest paid city workers by $4.70 per hour. I support the city moving towards a $15 minimum living wage. With wages increasing at the city and county, this should put pressure on larger employees in the city.

Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to a natural disaster)?

When a hurricane comes, there are areas of our government that shutdown, but there is also a huge need for other work in the city government. I think it’s important that we cross train and have opportunities for every city worker to work and get paid when a hurricane comes.
When unplanned events happen like a bomb threat, those employees should be paid.

If you are an employer: Do you pay all your workers a living wage? If you do not: How are you making an effort to do so?

I’m not an employer.

Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • Offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages.
  • Protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy and water efficiency.
  • Require universal licensing and safety/health inspections of all rental property.
  • Offer protections against discrimination based on source of income and citizenship status.
  • Ensure greater disclosure of renters’ rights and responsibilities.

I fully support the “Renters Bill of Rights”! I’m proud to have collaborated with the ACLC to create the proposed “Renters Bill of Rights”, and to have helped push the proposal through the city commission. My goal is for the ordinance to be passed by mid year.

What are some policies the the City of Gainesville can enact to improve access to quality, safe affordable housing in our community?

The biggest thing that the city can do is to pass the proposed Renters Rights ordinance. This ordinance would ensure that everyone who rents in the city has a safe and healthy place to live, and that their rental unit is energy efficient to help lower utility costs. The city should also look at increased density along major corridors to help reduce the housing shortage, and to make transportation an easier and more affordable option for renters. I also support inclusionary zoning policies and community land trusts that would help increase the amount of affordable housing in our community.

Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Yes, I do! I believe the city should add this to the requirements for city construction projects.

Janice Gary’s Renters’ Rights Letter

Click on the link at the bottom to read the incredible letter written by Janice Gary, local Gainesville landlord, to the City Commission about the need for a comprehensive Renters’ Rights ordinance in the city and voicing her support for the Labor Coalitions Renters’ Rights campaign.

We will be presenting our position paper and white paper at the November 8th, 12:00 PM City Commission Meeting at City Hall.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Ltr to City Com Renter’s Rights Signed (1)

Tina Certain – Alachua County School Board District 1 – Questionnaire

1) Do you support paying a living wage to all School Board workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour).

Yes

a. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage?

To ensure that workers are paid the living wage, the requirement needs to be adopted by ordinance or policy by majority of board.  I would support that policy. The Increased costs would have to be incorporated into the budget.

b. What is your plan to get us there?

After an initial increase, have a phase in period of say 3 years to get all employees to the 14.78/hr or indexed rate.

c. What ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

Pay and benefits usually correlate to skill set; those with greater skills usually fair better in the job market.  Increase vocational and career technical training in high school, apprenticeships and/or post-secondary training would prepare our local workforce for jobs that offer higher wages and benefits.

2) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted school board workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricanes)?

Yes.  I support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal and contracted school board workers in the event of emergency work closures for natural disasters like hurricanes.  The money has already been budgeted and the employee would have worked if the disaster had not occurred.

3) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency

Yes

4) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Yes

Randy Wells – Alachua County Commission District 2 Candidate Questionnaire

1) Do you support paying a living wage to all County workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour).

I absolutely support paying all public employees and contractors a living wage, thereby serving as a role model for other employers throughout the county. I specifically support the pledge to budget funds to bring all employees up to $15 an hour, and the existing county ordinance that requires contractors to pay a minimum wage of $13 per hour plus benefits or $15.04 without benefits.

a. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage?

I strongly support the existing right of contracted workers, if they are not paid the required minimum wage, to file a Wage Recovery Complaint through the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office. I am open to strengthening this process if needed.

b. What is your plan to get us there?

A living wage for all public employees and contractors is within reach, and I will be a determined voice to get there and stay there. However, political and budget constraints remain a challenge to keep that wage from being eroded by inflation and living costs. For example, the Federal minimum wage in 1968 was approximately $11.60 per hour, adjusted for inflation.

The only way to achieve that goal, given limited resources, is to insist on quality, collaborative management that empowers every staff person to create great value and a meaningful career path. As county commissioner, the challenge of quality management will be the metric by which I judge our top management—and in particular the rubric for selecting and evaluating our county manager.

To protect the living wage, we must capture the benefits of paying a living wage. Providing a living wage will help us build and retain local talent, and help address wide income disparity throughout the county—saving dollars and strengthening the local workforce. Investing in the skills of our staff will create value to both the employee and the taxpayer.

c. What ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

My campaign is all about improving the livelihood of workers across Alachua County. My vision is to make ours a premiere “community of opportunity”—and my election would be a strong message by voters that all local stakeholders—public and private—must work together in that cause.

Thus, I am discussing specific policy proposals with voters across the county, in six areas:

1) Healthy Environment for All; 2) Wages; 3) Apprenticeships; 4) Entrepreneurship for All; 5) Quality, Integrated, and Affordable Homes; and 6) Safe & Accessible Transportation. Progress in each of these areas will help improve the livelihoods of all workers, and I have a track record both as a city commissioner and civic activist leading, advocating, and voting for action in each of the six policy areas.

Wages are one critical part of improving the quality of life for all residents. I will be a steady but strong voice encouraging every major employer to join the cause for living wages.

Over the long term, we must continue to grow our local economy, primarily by investing in the skills of our residents. And we must celebrate the many private employers already paying living wages or better—and encourage more to join us through efforts such as the ACLC’s Living Wage Certification Project. I am proud to have encouraged many business owners I know to pursue certification.

I also support the two ballot initiatives that will help make 2018 the Year of the Child in Alachua County, and will do much to help the livelihood of families with children: The Children’s Services Council, and the School Facilities Sales Tax.

2) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted county workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricanes)?

Absolutely yes. All county workers should receive the same leave benefits in the event of emergency work closures. We can no longer leave our most vulnerable workers and their families “out in the cold” during times of emergency—precisely when income is most needed to deal with crisis.

3) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency

Yes. We can and should do a better job of informing renters of their rights and provide an easier way for renters and property owners to cheaply adjudicate disputes. I propose that the county establish a special magistrate (similar to one I helped establish for city codes enforcement) to adjudicate disputes under the proposed “Renters Bill of Rights” ordinance. I also support requirements for landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency, provided they can be shown to be cost effective, and will seek ways to cheaply finance those improvements so as to not harm landlords make those investments.

4) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Yes. I favor a local hiring preference (as clearly provided for in state law) for taxpayer funded projects, to include the use of high quality, certified apprenticeship programs. Hiring local talent and expertise ensures our tax dollars stay within our community and support additional local jobs and business development. Apprenticeship programs are an excellent way to develop our local workforce and the county can be a leader in supporting these programs. My vision (outlined above) includes making Alachua County known as Apprenticeship Central – with an eventual goal of creating or maintaining 2500 paid apprenticeships and internships countywide.

Gunnar Paulson – Alachua County School Board District 3 Questionnaire

1) Do you support paying a living wage to all School Board workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level- currently $14.78 an hour).

Yes

a. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage?

This is one of the five priorities of our strategic plan. This ensures it will be part of the budget being developed at the present time as the strategic plan drives the budget.

b. What is your plan to get us there?                                                                                       

We will raise the minimum wage significantly more than the overall raise given. We have adhered to this the last two years by increasing the minimum wage by 13%.This is in comparison to an overall 4% raise. Both the union and our staff have been informed they need to continue working on the salary schedule to keep its integrity so that we can continue to raise the minimum wage towards our goal of at least $15 per hour including health insurance. I say at least because we provide 100% paid health insurance to any employee who works at least half time. (Half time is defined as 4 hrs). I brought up two years ago during our setting of our priorities that we needed to raise the minimum wage. This will continue to be a major priority of mine. I have made it known to our staff an added increase to the minimum wage  must be budgeted right at the beginning of the budget process each year for us to continue to progress towards our goal and I will not agree to any budget that does not continue to make progress towards reaching this goal.

c. What ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

I served as chairman of the health insurance committee while union president and wrote the committees long range plan. We have kept the costs of our health care plan down by making subtle changes when needed allowing our employees to have health insurance fully paid by the district with good benefits while freeing up money like we did last year that can be used for raises and help raise the minimum wage. Every board member, commissioner, etc should look for ways to find money and then use the money for wages and benefits. I see the ultimate solution is that we provide universal single payer health insurance. In the meantime we will continue to provide Health Insurance free of charge.

2) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted city workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g. hours missed due to Hurricanes)?

Yes! Specifically we had an experience with Hurricane Irma last year. We operated shelters not only for our local community, but for people coming from as far away as Miami. Our schools were closed for 6 days. If an ESP (custodian, aides, etc.) worked at a shelter or school during this time, they received overtime pay. If a teacher or administrator worked when they didn’t have to work they received their regular pay because they were not allowed to receive overtime pay. Even our after school employees were made whole. No employees lost money because of lost hours. We were willing to go to great lengths to make sure all our employees were not penalized by an emergency work closure. We are still waiting for some reimbursement from FEMA, but this may take some time. (Years)

3) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights” which would:

  • Inform renters of their rights under existing law
  • Offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages
  • protects renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require
  • Landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency.

YES!

5) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified? Apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded programs?

YES!