Silverman Introduces Bill to Increase First Source Job Opportunities for D.C. Residents

Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), chair of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, today introduced legislation to ensure D.C. residents have access to information about jobs and hiring outcomes from taxpayer-funded projects subject to the District’s First Source law. The bill, the First Source Community Accountability Amendment Act of 2019, proposes three changes to existing First Source law designed to increase transparency and accountability. First Source is supposed to benefit District residents by giving them first-shot at employment from taxpayer-subsidized projects.


“I’ve heard it at community meetings in every ward: Residents see cranes in the sky but don’t see themselves or their neighbors getting employment out of it,” Silverman said. “We have to get First Source right to help close economic and racial inequities in our city.”

First, the bill would require the Department of Employment Services (DOES), which is tasked with First Source enforcement, to provide a list of active First Source projects online and send notice of active projects to the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions where the projects are located. The project information made publicly available would also include associated employment agreements and plans, which contain basic information about projects, hiring projections, and strategies for hiring D.C. residents.  

Second, the bill would adopt recommendations on First Source suggested by a 2018 D.C. Auditor report. This would modify reporting requirements to be project-specific, not aggregate numbers that are currently provided to determine whether hiring requirements are met. Finally, any special hiring agreements between DOES and First Source contractors would be required to be developed prior to the start of a project, with that information also made available online.

The bill was co-introduced by seven councilmembers: Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), Anita Bonds (D-At Large), Robert White (D-At Large), Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), and Trayon White (D-Ward 8). Councilmembers Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5)were co-sponsors. The bill was referred to the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.