"That's not a lot of new hires, especially when there are thousands of unemployed carpenters, sheet metal workers, electrical contractors who can do this work," he said. "That's not enough to soak up the currently unemployed people, because our construction industry is in the tank."
The new programs also are bringing some complaints about paperwork and government restrictions. The $40,000 given to the Passamaquoddy tribe, for example, will do little more than audit and insulate three houses. The tribe has to prepare time-consuming grant requests and was required to bypass free audits and hire a state-approved auditor for $75 an hour, grumbled Steve Crawford, environmental director for the tribe.
"It's off to a slow start. I've never seen this kind of oversight," said Crawford. "But once they get it ironed out, it will be a good thing."