Lawful employment ordinance

L to R: Andy Patrick and Larry McElynnThe nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help,’” said President Ronald Reagan in one of his many famous quips. So what is a Beaufort County business owner to think when a former United States Secret Service agent calls to say that he’s coming to audit your business for the county?

Technically, Andy Patrick and Larry McElynn are not with the government. They used to be. Patrick served as a special agent in the Secret Service and McElynn is a former special agent with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Drug Investigation Division Chief at Interpol. Now they run Hilton Head Island-based Advance Point Global (APG), a security risk management firm. Beaufort County hired APG to conduct Lawful Employment Ordinance audits of county businesses.

“Wow, that’s pretty heavy,” is what you’re probably thinking. Terms like “ordinance” and “special agent” sound pretty ominous and there is a perception out there that the county initiative is some sort of dragnet to round up illegal aliens. You can relax, though, because it’s not that, at all.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Spending on home remodeling projects in the United States hit $215 billion in 2005. (According to the CIA World Factbook the GDP of the country of Argentina was $210 billion at the official exchange rate in 2006.) Home remodeling costs account for approximately 40% of all residential construction spending and makes up nearly 2% of the U.S. economy. That’s a serious amount of coin.

Numbers don’t lie; Americans love investing in their homes, and for good reason. Usually it’s a win-win situation. Not only are homeowners improving their residence, they are increasing the equity – the difference between the value and what is owed – on their home.