Manpower Follows Money

Sometime ago I was elected chairman of a building commission and charged with oversight of a $25 million dollar school building project. My colleagues and town elected officials had faith in my experience and gave me the lead on many issues relating to construction. At one of our initial meetings, I asked the town financial director if he would like to be part of the success of the project before it even started. “Of course”, he said, “What do I have to do?” “It’s simple” I stated.  “Have all subcontractors invoice the project on the 25th of the month to the general contractor. Have the contractor invoice the town on the last day of the month. Pay the contractor in five days. Contractor is directed to pay the subcontractors in five days.” ”Sounds fair” he said.

Because I attended all subsequent meetings I never heard a discussion regarding manpower shortages, material shortages or backorders or slippage in schedule. In fact the project finished eight weeks early giving the town ample time to load their goods and familiarize staff in their new surroundings. When citizens asked the secret to our success the answer was simple. We created a work site where good workmanship, effort and cooperation were exchanged for prompt payment.

I guess I wish I had a say in the places we go as a subcontractor. Maybe someday.