Lawsuits Initiated Against Plymouth Township, Colonial School District and West Norriton Township Over “Responsible Contractors” Ordinances

The Associated Builders and Contractors – Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter (ABC) has initiated lawsuits against Plymouth Township, the Colonial School District and West Norriton Township over their recent adoption of “Responsible Contractors” ordinances (and policy in relation to the school district). ABC represents “more than seventeen thousand merit construction employees who work for its almost five hundred-member companies in seventeen eastern Pennsylvania counties.” It has both union and non-union members.

We were notified of this through a press release we received this morning. It is below unedited:

(East Norriton, PA September 6, 2018) – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter has begun litigation in response to the latest assault on free and open construction market here in our local area.

So-called “Responsible Contractors Ordinances (RCOs)” and containing “Class A” Apprenticeship requirements were passed in each of the aforementioned areas, even after board members and many members of each community opposed them.
Earlier this summer, ABC Eastern Pennsylvania filed a federal court action against Northampton County challenging a nearly identical RCO language and we plan to take similar action here. In the instance of Colonial School District, President Felix Raimondo and Solicitor Michael P. Clarke (Rudolph Clarke, LCC), authored their RCO policy without the knowledge of the other board members and outside of the understood Board protocol. When the public asked about the fees Mr. Clarke would charge the district, his response was “I will waive them if the ordinance passed”. That comment was met with audible disgust from community members in attendance.

“When I volunteered to speak to the Colonial School Board, my comments were met with questions by Eunice Franklin-Becker meant, in my opinion, to undermine my credibility. In an attack on my organization by fellow Board Member Adam Schupack, a discussion about construction and procurement practices was twisted into a rant about political endorsements”. “Disrespect between the members of this school board, the general public, and invited guests seems to be a running trend there, just watch the videos or listen to the audio of many of this year’s meetings.” said Joe Perpiglia, President and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors of Eastern Pennsylvania.

The legal team at Associated Builders and Contractors is currently looking into the activities of each Colonial School Board member, specifically Mr. Clarke, as he serves as solicitor for both the Colonial School District, Plymouth Township, and many other municipalities in our area. Transparency seems to be an issue as was seen on August 15th, when residents addressed concerns about a possible lawsuit being filed to oppose this RCO, Mr. Clarke chose not to disclose that pending legal action was already started in Plymouth Township, just hours before the commencement of that evening’s Colonial School Board Meeting. Moreover, Karen Bramblett (Plymouth Township Council), also did not disclose knowledge of the pending legal action, as she advocated for the passing of the RCO. It was confirmed that she, David Gannon (Plymouth Township Council) and Mr. Clarke all had prior knowledge legal action was taken that very day. The public and quite possibly the school board members were denied information that was crucial prior to their final decision.

Our legal action is meant to stop discriminatory practices from going into effect and create an open, fair, and level playing field for all contractors looking to work on the upcoming projects planned throughout the Commonwealth.

Discrimination is not tolerated in any industry, so why is it being tolerated here?

We have a full plate today, so we will have more on this on Sunday evening.