Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration has put the city's janitorial contract out for bid, the prelude to bringing it in line with a "living wage" ordinance that went into effect more than a year ago.

The city’s existing deal with ETI was the most high-profile example of how the city was lagging behind on its promise to pay workers on most city contracts a "living wage" of at least $10.55 an hour and give them at least six paid days off each year.

The workers now employed on the contract make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to clean City Hall, various courthouses, New Orleans Recreation Development Commission centers and New Orleans Police Department buildings.

Under the terms of the bid package released by the city on Friday, whatever company gets the new contract will have to abide by the living wage ordinance. 

The contract will cover the cleaning of more than 1.7 million square feet. Bids are due near the end of April.

The living wage ordinance went into effect in January 2016, and its provisions have been included in new agreements signed by the city since then.

But those requirements were not added to existing contracts, something that the City Attorney’s Office argued would require rebidding them in order to comply with the state’s public bid law.

When those contracts came up for renewal, a process that the ordinance specified should trigger the inclusion of the new pay requirements, the city chose in some cases simply to extend them at the old wage rate. The administration said requiring the higher rate would have unknown effects on the budget and the way services are delivered.

Councilman Jared Brossett, who sponsored the living wage ordinance, blasted administration officials during last year’s budget hearings over the city’s failure to adhere to the new requirements. At the time, administration officials said they planned to put the janitorial contract out for bid this year.

The delay in implementing the higher pay rate also drew complaints from labor activists and some of the dozens of workers on ETI's $800,000-a-year contract. Some of those workers are now suing the city for back wages.

The status of the city's other contracts with lower wage rates is unclear, though officials have said they are reviewing them to determine how to go about rebidding them and adding the living wage requirements to them.

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​