September 24, 2019
In a landmark decision, today the Ohio Supreme Court held that R.C. 9.75 is a lawful enactment of the Ohio General Assembly, in prohibiting local hiring preferences in construction projects.
That section provides that “No public authority shall require a contractor, as part of a prequalification process or for the construction of a specific public improvement or the provision of professional design services for that public improvement, to employ as laborers a certain number or percentage of individuals who reside within the defined geographic area or service area of the public authority.”
The City of Cleveland Ordinance Chapter 188 nevertheless remained on the books, requiring that a minimum of 20 percent of the total construction work hours be performed by Cleveland residents, and that no fewer than 4 percent of those resident work hours be performed by low-income persons.
Cleveland sued the State of Ohio claiming that its Ordinance prevailed over the state prohibition under Constitutional “home rule” authority.
The Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County) found the state statute unconstitutional, ruling that, “It is readily apparent that R.C. 9.75 is no more than an attempt to preempt powers of local self-government and to restrict the contract terms between public authorities and contractors who choose to bid on local public improvement contracts.”
The State of Ohio appealed. On June 29, 2018, AIA Ohio filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief with the Ohio Supreme Court in support of the State of Ohio, to prevent local residency quota requirements in public works construction.
The decision and briefing of the other parties are available on the Supreme Court’s website at: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Clerk/ecms/#/caseinfo/2018/0097