EERE conducts site visits to recipients of financial assistance awards to ensure that Federal funds are being spent properly. One such visit to a recipient of funds under the State Energy Program uncovered some questions about whether the recipient complied with the Davis-Bacon Act. The questions stemmed from missing payroll records, questionable wage determinations, incorrect contact information and whether or not wages were posted in the workplace. The state government, EERE’s prime recipient, erroneously thought that it was the sub recipient’s responsibility to collect and retain the original payroll.
The Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 established the requirement to pay prevailing wages on public works projects. All Federal construction contracts, and contracts for Federally-assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying on-site workers no less than local wages and benefits paid on similar projects. This ensures that workers are paid a fair, living wage, and all Recovery Act projects must adhere to these mandates.
DOE Legal Counsel and the Project Officer stepped in to assist the state in developing a plan outlining changes in order to meet the Davis-Bacon requirements. A follow-up visit two weeks later confirmed that the recipient was making the proposed changes in a timely manner.