I have been following the articles and arguments pro and con for Cobb County to require all contractors who do business with the county to be IMAGE certified. As a business professional working for a large corporation who has had to manage compliance projects, my first reaction to the news articles was to agree with Commissioner Helen Goreham’s cautious approach.
I understand we need to hold employers accountable if they hire illegal aliens, and there need to be consequences when they do. I also know from experience how time-consuming compliance is. My company estimates that we spend about 25 percent of our resources on compliance. That’s 25 percent that could be applied to productive, revenue-generating work.
So the government says it’s a “free” program. OK, so there aren’t any fees that need to be paid, allegedly. But what about the time spent by company resources on registering and maintaining compliance? What about small companies that don’t have the resources to dedicate to the program? Those companies would have to pull resources off of productive work, resources that they may not be able to afford to pull off.
The government web site lists members who fall into one of three categories: charter, endorsee and certified. Has anyone involved in this argument talked to any of the members to find out how much time was involved in becoming certified and in staying certified? Has it really benefited them?
The county needs to take a serious look at the IMAGE program and really consider unintended consequences so that small businesses already struggling in this economy are not completely left out because they can’t afford to dedicate resources to a federal program that could be just as messed up as Obamacare.