Contractors in D.C. are required to hire local firms, but compliance has been spotty at best.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wants tougher penalties for the city's troubled contracting program.
District law requires that small D.C.-based businesses get a percentage of city contracting dollars. Publicly-subsidized land projects, for example, require the developer to spend more than a third of the project's discretionary budget on these local firms during construction.
But the contracting program has been plagued by non-compliance and abuse. One developer recently paid the city $1 million as part of settlement after a city launched an investigation into the company's alleged abuse of the program.
To improve compliance, the mayor's task force is recommending larger fines and other penalties as well as more resources for the city agency that monitors the contracting program.
Until recently, the District had just one employee on staff charged with making sure the 1,100 businesses in the system were following the rules. Mayor Gray says that number is now up to five. The proposed changes will be submitted to the council for consideration.