For one Northwestern city, efforts to encourage transparency and compliance with Federal requirements have improved recordkeeping to provide EERE Project Officers direct access to an internal information system that contains key compliance information. This system is expected to yield easily accessible records for future audits and ensure efficient and accurate notification of compliance with Federal labor regulations.

Project officers first observed the new system during a recent monitoring visit to a newly-commissioned, Recovery Act-funded powerhouse at the base of a local dam.   During the site visit, a EERE Project Officer discussed compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA - which requires that workers are paid the local prevailing wage for their trade) and discovered that the Recipient intends to employ a record-keeping practice proven effective by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Labor Relations. The practice includes collecting information to ensure compliance with the Federal labor standards by recording interviews with workers at project sites. The Recipient has taken this practice one simple step further, recording the signature of the interviewed worker to be better prepared for any future audits.

Representatives from the city government will work directly with their subcontractors to educate them about DBA protections and the importance of worker interviews. The Recipient will also begin using a Web-based document-management system to track payroll and records related to DBA compliance. The website is not only an organizational tool for the Recipient, but also a means for to allow EERE staff to monitor the project.

The new powerhouse at the center of this project will generate electric power using two Francis turbine/generator units with approximately 1.8 MW capacity, producing approximately 23,500 MWh annually. This is enough electricity to power approximately 2,140 homes. An upstream fish collection system will also be incorporated into the upgrades on the dam, enabling the steelhead and salmon- both endangered species- to return to their natural habitats. Since the 1920’s, the dam has blocked fish from being able to swim upstream. The completion of this project will clear the passage for fish and reacquaint the endangered species with their natural habitat.

By engaging workers and providing real-time recordkeeping, the Recipient is ensuring that the project continues to provide the local community with good jobs at fair wages, while working to restore habitat and power American homes and businesses.