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Jobs focus of Building Congress forum.

Barry Light, the new president of the New York City School Construction Authority, told some 150 Building Congress members at a recent General Membership meeting that SCA had the ability and expected to issue school construction contracts at a rate of $1 billion a year. The school system, he noted, "still is short 50,000 seats."

Light also said that SCA would aim, within its statutory authority, to issue contracts to New York City-area firms, limiting to the extent possible contracts that are awarded to companies in other states and other regions.

Construction jobs and economic development were in the forefront of the meeting's speaker agenda, and from the Building Congress's top officers the members heard:

* Chairman John F. Hennessy, who reported that the Building Congress has become a significant player in the public policy arena and will have an impact on key government economic decisions at city, state and national levels. In addition, he said, the Congress' 1993 action plan "will have to move to a new level, one that demonstrates public support."

* Vice Chairman John A. Cavanagh, who noted that hearings were about to get under way on the city's Capital Budget and who emphasized that the Congress would actively be involved in the process.

* President Louis J. Colleti, who declared that "the Congress will dedicate itself to one single mission in 1993: to create new construction jobs. It will be up to the Congress," he said, "business and labor together, to aggressively push public policy leaders to put rebuilding our city at the very top of their agenda."

SCA's President Light, highlighting SCA's ability to rapidly push out school construction funds, said that in fiscal 1990 and 1991 SCA had taken bids on $1.3 billion of contracts; in fiscal 1992, on over $1 billion and for fiscal 1993, he said, SCA "expected in the next few months to put final projects on the street bringing this year's total to an estimated $922 million." The SCA's '93 construction comprises 22 projects, consisting of new schools, modernizations, and school-building additions.

Light also said that the SCA has restructured its procedures to include issuing written performance notices midway through a contract and on completion, based on such criteria as use of minority firms, and conformance to prevailing wage regulations and apprentice agreements, plus adequacy of scheduling, bonds and insurance submissions, supervisors, and drawings. Contractors, he said, will be given opportunities to cure unsatisfactory ratings.

Congress Chairman Hennessy told the meeting that "year 1993 will be one of decision for the voters of New York City" and he urged members to become active participants in Building Congress programs. He said that in 1992 "from City Hall to Albany to Washington, D.C., officials have listened to us, worked with us and learned to respect our organization."

But, to achieve this in 1993, Hennessy said, the Congress, will have to communicate its message to the public and elected officials by the continued use of public opinion polls, policy papers, mass letter writing drives, and media and public awareness campaigns.

He noted that building Congress officers now meet regularly with local and state officials to discuss industry goals. He pointed out that in the quest for construction jobs, the Congress has become the N.Y. Chapter of the Rebuild America coalition and has met with the Clinton Administration on the need for a U.S. infrastructure plan.

Hennessy cited a number of construction programs that moved ahead last year with the help of Building Congress support, and he asserted, "We're going to put up the same fight in '93 we did in '92. The industry's aim, he said, "is an unemployment level of zero."

Some of the construction programs the Building Congress wants to see advance in '93, Hennessy explained, are new studios for ABC and a proposal for a development bank with a five-year funding capability of $250 million. In a similar vein, President Coletti said the Building Congress is watching the progress of development plans for the Commodities Exchange, the Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza, Riverside South, the U.S Courthouse in Brooklyn, the $80 million trash-to--energy project at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and city and state capital plans. History has shown the effectiveness, he observed, of utilizing the industry to improve the city's economy and quality of life.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 17, 1993
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