There is no lack of work in our field. None at all. Dayton has 7000+ blighted houses that need to be removed. They are being removed. Our particular contract was taken off the table and not voted on several times until in mid 2012, we laid off 25 workers and the last two (myself included) went down to part time hours while we continued to scrounge for work since Dayton had let us run dry and had not delivered their promises to us. ARC was aground. It was almost 2 months before a different contract was offered to us after Boss was chastised for his (OMG) fraternization with a (OMFG) Republican politician at the state level to try to get our company more work so we could train and employ more workers. Imagine that. We wanted to TRAIN and HIRE more WORKERS. Aren't Democrats supposed to be in favor of the little guy? the common man? the downtrodden? the WORKER? Anyway, our paltry contract was for less than a 10th the amount of the previous one. And each house was released like it was a precious commodity. The end result was that we could only bring back one team of workers at a time, and we did not at any time have enough work to bring back a third team. As Summer 2012 crept by, we desperately tried to negotiate with the City about our contracts. They promised us that we needn't worry that they would have work for us. Dayton issued 6 bid packets for 60 houses each. They required such outrageously high performance bonds that only one contractor could qualify, and he because he's so wealthy now that he can self bond, has his own landfill and can hardly even be considered local any more because he's spread through several states. Well Kudos to him for being successful. that's great, but he doesn't help Dayton meet any of the green or social goals they purport to want to meet. So he's not getting ALL the work available in Dayton. We bid on two of the packets, after negotiating about the performance bond.
Anyway, this dragged on and we understand that 4 of the 6 packs of demolitions were awarded. Our two were removed from consideration. permanently apparently. Then the city ran us around for a while, and finally issued a 'request for qualifications' which we spent time and energy working on, and turned in... and waited. And waited. And waited all through the winter into spring they said they were assessing it. Then the funding for our current project ran out and the City pulled two houses off our board, one of them already under permit and starting deconstruction. We laid off 4 of our 9 remaining disadvantaged workers. Each week, Dayton promised that they almost had our next work ready. Then about three weeks before the end, we were told that the only thing holding up the works was 16 properties that we had open permits on. of those 16, about 10 had new homes built on them and the City of Dayton had never closed the permits even when they issued new ones. the other six were either waiting for adequate grass to grow on the new clear lots to be inspected, or were the most recent ones we'd deconstructed and were still in excavation. So I toured them, asked for inspections on the ones that could have them, and gave updates on the rest. By the end of the week, all but 3 had finals. Still no contract. When I came in on Tuesday the 11th, Boss told me that he'd decided to close ARC. At the time, he just said there was no work, which was a true statement.
What I learned a couple days later by reading on esrati.com (David Esrati is a local politician and who owns a marketing firm. He's very outspoken about the problems in our city and he tells it like it is) about his feelings about ARC closing was that while they were stringing us along, the city was awarding work to another contractor by using what is called a 'change order'. It means an existing contract has extra funding added to it and extra work. This company is not in the City of Dayton, and their contract apparently was extended twice by more than twice the contract they strung us along on all summer of 2012, and we just found out about it. There was no reason for Dayton to make us bid on the same set of work over and over and over and still never give us anything while promising they would have work for us. So my question is "What gives Dayton? Why'd you screw your own local contractor and cost the city a total of 28 jobs while giving work to two companies out in the suburbs, not even IN Dayton, one of which did not even have to bid for the work as is supposedly required.
So today was the day that Boss told me he didn't intend to bring ARC back at this point even if the city does come back and tell him to come and sign a contract and here's 60 houses to deconstruct this year. I think he's lost heart, and I don't blame him. It's a real crappy situation and Dayton treated a very decent man trying to do something good in the world and an extremely shoddy way. Meanwhile, I have no job, and I really liked my job. I'm really quite angry about this. I want to march down to city hall and have a few sharp words with some people. people who pretty much lied in MY face as well, since the last two visits for consultations were made by ME as I tried to get all the information together for the Community Development Block Grant that we were also trying to get so that we could offer better pay to our workers, but which Boss never turned in, because he became convinced that we wouldn't get any work to use the money one and it would go to waste. I'm really livid about this and I want to chew some heads. I want to mouth of in the way that Esrati does. I'm going to ask Esrati what I can do to help him the next time he runs for office.
In the mean time, I haven't decided what to do yet. I have unemployment for a while. Last summer I got by on half pay for several months. I can this summer too. I can step up my Mary Kay Business to make more money. I had said that if it became clear that my job was not coming back that I might consider going back to school for real. Full time, and have that be my job. I'm pretty much on the verge of making that decision now. I can get started with school while I'm not working and still have an income. My grants will cover my classes and then some extra most quarters. So I'd be pretty well set until my unemployment runs out. Then I can decide if I want to hack pizza or something while I'm in school, or if I want to go ahead and go the student loans route and take out enough to live on too. I don't have to cross that bridge yet. I just need to decide what I want to do, and what path of studies to take. Linguistics, or prosthetics? Or architecture? I was very interested in architecture in high school. I loved drafting classes, but I know I applied a lot of my drafting knowledge to design artificial limb structures. I wanted to find ways to make them move in the most natural way possible. Back then, the technology wasn't really there to make them work in that complex way, but now? Yah... now the technology is moving. It's interesting. I don't really have to declare right away either. I'll still need a language, so I can study both at the same time while i get my gen eds out of the way. I think I'd better fill out my Fasfa pretty soon though. I don't know the deadline date for this year.
Wow, this took forever to whine about. I better go to bed. *grumble* Unemployed and STILL don't have enough damned hours in my day!
Oh I did forget thought that I'm working out a schedule, and that I'm going to get back to writing while i have time to get my brain back on it. I have had Chasing the Trail chapter 15 open and have worked on it. Right now I'm looking for a reference. If anyone remembers what chapter it was that Winry promised Ed he could get up and use his crutch once he showed her he was going to be able to do it (or something like that) I'd appreciate knowing, as I'm trying to find it.
Anyway, night all.
So anyway, unfortunately today my boss has pretty much confirmed that ARC is pretty well gone forever. It's a real shame too. It was a good job. Best job I have ever had even though the pay was not stupendous. This will be the second time a job I really liked has disappeared out from under me through no fault of my own. In this case, the blame falls squarely on the City of Dayton for leading us on a merry chase after our contracts. In 2011 we had a roughly 70 house contract and we were able to train and maintain on staff 25 disadvantaged workers, many of the, ex-offenders. Recidivism in Ohio is something like 44%, so there is no question such an enterprise is needed. By training workers not only with physical job skills that they can carry forward into other jobs, we also helped them learn important traits to keeping in good standing with their job. Work ethic, punctuality, compatibility with coworkers, leadership and various other skills. It makes sense to help these people empower themselves to become contributing members of their communities as they reenter society. We thought that Dayton agreed, however it has become clear that they don't care about that at all. In early 2012, Boss was working with our state Attorney General to help develop the Moving Ohio Forward Grant which would use some of the money that the banks had to pay states in settlement for the immense fraud they perpetrated on new home buyers just prior to the collapse of the housing market. Unfortuanately for us, in this case, our Attorney General is a Republican and every city commissioner except our departing Mayor is a Democrat. Oh heaven forfend that we should talk to anyone who is not politically aligned with all the City Commissioners. They got mad and started dragging their feet on our next contract (already promised from NSP3 funding).