Citizens for Good Government continues to call for procurement reform in Jefferson Parish

As has been our practice at recent council meetings, at the October 10th Jefferson Parish Council meeting Citizens for Good Government took the opportunity to call attention to resolutions for which we believe that implementation of the recommendations in the Bureau of Governmental Research’s report on reforming service contracting could be beneficial to the citizens of Jefferson Parish. The resolutions on which we focused were those for which the council was scheduled to select the winners of non-bid contracts which used the Request for Proposal, or RFP, process and the Statement of Qualifications, or SOQ, process for non-engineering professional services contracts.

We called attention to these resolutions because we strongly support BGR’s recommendation that firms should be selected for non-bid contracts because they rank the highest in an evaluation committee’s scoring of relevant, weighted, clearly articulated criteria. We believe that the role of the council should be limited to approving or rejecting the evaluation committee’s recommended contractor or ending the procurement.

CFGG believes that contractor selection should be based strictly on getting the best combination of quality and price for the citizens of Jefferson, as recommended by BGR. In speaking at council meetings, we have repeatedly emphasized how troubling it is to us that councilmembers are permitted to select contractors for these non-bid contracts who were significant donors to their campaigns, and we believe that this needs to change. Continue reading “Citizens for Good Government continues to call for procurement reform in Jefferson Parish”

Guest Post: What made Bay Waveland School Board President Sherry Ponder change her mind about the Bay Tech Building

What made Dr. Sherry Ponder change her mind about having the taxpayers purchase the Bay Tech Building?

She states in the Oct. 11, edition of the Sea Coast Echo that the school district had been looking at this building and others since Sept. 29, 2005. But, when the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government wrote to her on Sept. 6, 2011, asking that the school board look around the community for an older building to renovate for their business office rather than build a new one for two million dollars, she was not interested in our idea.

The business manager actually told me in an open meeting that FEMA was going to build it, and for me to think of it as a “gift.”

Now enter the architects!! From September 2011 to May 2012, the school board doled out over $90,000 in tax dollars for plans for the new building.

Then Bam!!! In July of 2012, the Board came out of Executive Session and announced that they were going to buy the Bay Tech Building and renovate it for their Business Office. Now, this was never discussed in open session since Sept. 2011, when they rejected our idea.

So what or who changed the Board’s minds and when? Let’s remember that nothing has changed about this building since 2005–no renovations, no improvements. It still has to be brought up to code, and cosmetic work has to be done to make it habitable for our Superintendent, her staff, and the children who will be housed there on a daily basis.

Wait a minute!! One thing did change in the last 9 months while our board was flushing $90 grand down the toilet and holding firm to their opinion that this building was not appropriate for their needs—-the ownership changed to LNG Investments- Gerald Rigby and Lloyd Nicaud.

But why would this be attractive to the school district?? And, why did the taxpayers end up paying $255,000 more than LNG paid for it only 8 weeks prior with no renovations to justify a quarter of a million dollar increase in price on a piece of property in a county where the mil de-valued this year?? That is $31,875 a week profit for LNG. Not a bad piece of change!

The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government has been notified that we cannot have a tour of the building at this time because it is unsafe. I personally doubt the building is unsafe, but what is unsafe is having this board negotiate real estate transactions for the taxpayers.

Now, I have no problem with anyone making a profit, but let’s remember this is a small school district that is trying to recover from the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history.

Kind of reminds me of buzzards on road kill.

I’ll just leave you with the explanation from Mary Bunch (Lloyd Nicaud’s mother) “in the Sea Coast Echo of Sept. 29—–“these guys bought that building–they re-sold that building. That’s what they do.” Really??!!

Lana Noonan, Chairman
Hancock County Alliance for Good Government

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