Wisconsin might break federal laws if it reduces thousands of highway engineering contractsWisconsin News
Washington says the state might break federal laws if it goes ahead with a plan to reduce thousands of highway engineering contracts by more than 3 percent.
Washington says the state might break federal laws if it goes ahead with a plan to reduce thousands of highway engineering contracts by more than 3 percent. The DOT asked engineering consultants to take the same pay cuts as state employees.
The workers are having their pay cut by more than 3 percent as a result of the 16 unpaid days off they must take over the next two years to help balance the state budget.
William Stark of the Federal Highway Administration told the DOT that the across-the-board consultant cuts are “viewed as sideways with federal laws and regulations.” The rules apply to road projects costing more than $100,000.
Stark said the American Council of Engineering Companies complained about Wisconsin’s action.
But DOT chief counsel Robert Jambois said the federal agency has heard one side of the story.
He said his department has put together a plan it believes will comply with federal rules – and he plans to submit it to Washington this week.
He said the DOT will ask consultants to cut costs, perhaps by using lower-paid workers for certain jobs.
Jambois said consultants have signed about 200 highway contracts so far and the reductions will not be finalized until they get federal approval.