SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield had hit most of its goals for contractors on the Brightwood/Lincoln school project, exceeding targets for minority and veteran contractors, but falling slightly short in number of women contractors, and 5% off in Springfield resident contractors.

A Responsible Employer Ordinance (REO) was approved in 2019 by Mayor Sarno and the City Council to require construction projects that exceed $500,000 to meet minimum hiring requirements for women, minorities, veterans and city residents.       

The project began in late spring of 2019, continued through the 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, and completed in 2021. The general contractor on the project, Daniel O’Connell & Sons, worked with the Compliance Department to meet the REO goals.

The workforce consisted of the following:

  • Springfield Residents
    • 35% Goal
    • 30.4% Actual
  • Minorities
    • 20% Goal
    • 27.47% Actual
  • Women
    • 6.9% Goal
    • 6.73% Actual
  • Veterans
    • 5% Goal
    • 6.17% Actual

The Brightwood/Lincoln project was the city’s first major project monitored by the Responsible Employer Ordinance (REO). It required 35% of work hours to be performed by residents of Springfield, 20% of work hours to be performed by minorities, 6.9% of work hours to be performed by women, and 5% of work hours to be performed by military veterans. 

Mayor Sarno states, “I want to commend the project contractor Daniel O’Connell & Sons for their efforts working on this project.  This was not an easy project to accomplish, especially during this unprecedented pandemic, however the general contractor not only finished this project ahead of schedule but also under budget, all while successfully reaching or exceeding our REO goals.”    

“I want to applaud our dedicated city team for their continued dedicated efforts in making our new REO 2.0 a tremendous success,” Mayor Sarno continued.  “Special shout-out to Senior Project Manager Patrice “Chae” Swan and Senior Compliance Project Manager Hope Button for their hard work and due diligence in checking to make sure that our contractors met these benchmarks.  My administration is committed to creating more opportunities for our diverse and capable workforce that will lead to more of that good four letter word – ‘JOBS’.  I am very happy we’ve been able to meet and exceed the benchmarks that were set.  We will continue to drive this revamped REO so that everyone will have an equal playing field.”

“My Administration will continue to work with City Councilor Melvin Edwards, REO Committee members, and our labor brothers and sisters in the Building Trades,” Mayor Sarno added.  “This project continues my Administrations commitment to investing in our schools.  To date, working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, we have invested over $700 million towards new schools and renovated schools in the City of Springfield – the most in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

“This is exciting news.  I’m appreciative of the Mayor and his Administration, especially Patrice ‘Chae’ Swan and Hope Button for their efforts.  In total, there was over 250,000 work hours performed on this project and over 76,000 workforce hours were performed by our Springfield residents.  This project provided over $3.5 million directly to our residents and by extension our local economy.  These are real numbers and money that went directly into the pockets of our working residents and families.  This is the data and the results we all envisioned seeing when we passed this ordinance and it is truly great to see the positive results from this first major project under our City’s amended REO.” said City Councilor Edwards, who also serves as the Chairman for the City Council REO Monitoring Committee. 

Senior Project Manager Patrice ‘Chae’ Swan stated, “I am humbled to be part of the work we have accomplished on the Brightwood Lincoln Elementary School. It was a total group effort, with my partner Hope Button, and the collaborating team at Daniel O’Connell & Sons, and the REO Committee. I’m excited for future REO projects as we seek to increase economic and employment opportunities for the citizens of our beautiful City.”

Senior Compliance Project Manager Hope Button added, “I am extremely proud of the success of the Brightwood Lincoln Elementary School project.  Working with my colleague, Chae Swan, the team at Daniel O’Connell & Sons, and the REO Committee we established that the goals of a workforce in the construction trades reflective of the community can be achieved.   This was a true team effort in every sense of the phrase.”

Chief Finance and Administrative Officer TJ Plante said, “I want to applaud our dedicated city team, especially Patrice Swan and Hope Button for their efforts on this project.  This was the first project under the new revamped REO and we are happy to report that it came under budget and ahead of schedule, while exceeding or closely meeting our REO goals set.”