New York State Construction Industry Council (NYSCIC)
Meeting Minutes

November 13, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
The Fort Orange Club
110 Washington Ave., Albany, NY

  1. Introductions and Review of the Agenda, John Ahearn, NYSCIC Chairman, Rifenburg Construction Company.  The chairman opened the meeting with a review of the content and various presentations that were to be made that day. He then introduced Ken Pokalsky, Vice President, The Business Council of NYS, Inc. who would review the scaffold law. Mr. Ahearn also handed out information on recent NYS court cases that seem to run contrary to the case law supporting absolute liability. 
  2. Discussion of the Scaffold Law, Ken Pokalsky, Vice President, The Business Council of NYS, Inc. Mr. Pokalsky discussed the scaffold law, specifically the sections of the labor law cited in injuries resulting from heights and objects failing from heights. A discussion of comparative liability, especially in the context of what Congressman John Faso has inserted into federal legislation proposals pertaining to funding of NYS construction projects. The bill introduced into the NYS Legislature by Assemblyman McDonald also addresses the issue in this manner.
  3.  Assemblyman John T. McDonald III, New York State Assembly District 108, addressed the Council on Scaffold Law Repeal, and his bill, A.5624 (S.6876 Akshar). The Assemblyman stated that it is an obvious cost of doing business in NYS that can be addressed. Something that takes away from the overall amount of work able to be performed. In this area the report by the Empire Center, Prevailing Waste, was cited by the Council as part of the impact on the amount of work lost due to the excessive costs of general liability due to scaffold issues. The Assemblyman stated he would continue to push for his bill in the State Assembly.
  4. Michael Elmendorf of the Associated General Contractors of NYS (AGC) discussed the NYS MWBE study and the controversy surrounding the 30% goals for MWBE on state projects. AGC has filed a lawsuit, in which The Business Council filed an Amicus brief, to have the FOIL request made by AGC granted. To date the case has not resulted in a release of the information. However, the additional attention on the MWBE issue has energized the industry as to the difficulty in making the goals and the contention that the goal cannot be reached in many instances, and the fact that the 30% goal is not in the law. The recent release of Disparity Study seems to make it appear as if the contentions in the study are hard to believe. It contends that over 50% of all contractors are MWBEs – something the industry strongly disagrees with. Many other flaws with the study were discussed. This will be a major issue in the 2018 legislative session with the law expiring. 
  5. The implementation of the 2017 Workers’ Comp changes, Ken Pokalsky, Vice President, The Business Council of NYS, Inc. Mr. Pokalsky discussed the recent debate over the Workers’ Comp (WC) changes made within the 2017 State Budget now that they have gone to the WC Board for implementation and regulations.  The Business Council is working hard to insure that the WC Board does not weaken the regulations due to pressure from the Democratic Conferences in the State Legislature that have been attempting to have them weakened now that they must be put into regulations. 
  6. The 2018 NYSCIC Legislative Program Review, Johnny Evers, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. The annual program of the NYS Construction Industry Council was reviewed by the council. There were no changes suggested.
  7. Review of Key Administration and Regulatory Issues, Johnny Evers, The Business Council of New York State, Inc.:

    • Executive Order 162 – Mr. Pokalsky discussed the status of EO 162. Talks with the Administration continue and the implementation date has been changed from earlier in the year until the start of 2018.

    • Prevailing Wage Legislation/Issues – Mr. Evers discussed many of the bills being discussed in the legislature to make all projects that receive any state aid prevailing wage projects, specifically S.2975-A (Murphy) / A. 5498-A (Bronson). The Business Council will again fight these bills in the 2018 session.

    • Construction Industry Workforce Development – Mr. Evers and Mr. Ahearn discussed the need to have NYSCIC engaged in the workforce development issue in the areas of Construction. A separate email to all NYSCIC members will outline the issue.