Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman said a lot in the 18 minutes she allowed for an interview about the state’s prevailing wage law changes.
Maybe an apology to the construction industry would have come in the 19th or 20th minute.
The apology isn’t necessary for the law. DWD did not instigate the changes to prevailing wage reporting.
The apology isn’t even necessary for DWD’s 50-field spreadsheet interpretation of the law. The agency has, arguably, every right to craft a requirement it believes will lead to the most accurate prevailing wage reporting.
But Gassman had an opportunity Friday to tell the construction industry she is listening. She had a chance to say, “We hear you, and we’re sorry. We thought we did enough to prepare the industry for this. But, judging from the industrywide response, we were wrong.”
Such an apology would have opened the doors — not to changing the law, but to stepping back from a requirement that is causing so much strife and from a public stance of blaming builders.
Such an apology would have begun to restore trust.
But in steadfastly defending every DWD action between June and the Jan. 1 start date for the law, Gassman implicitly blamed the industry for the mess that is sitting on her doorstep.
Compared with the hours and days contractors are spending getting their heads around a law they were ill-prepared to handle, a simple “I’m sorry” would have taken no time at all.
Chris Thompson is the editor at The Daily Reporter. He apologizes for filing this blog after deadline. See, that was easy.