Watchdog group to study consultant's procurement practices in New Orleans

Reported by William Reinhardt of Public Works Financing
additonal research by Larry Chertoff of Water Industry News 

Patricia Morris (pemorris@bgr.org) of Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit watchdog group with a $600,000 annual budget, wants to hire a consultant by May 23 to study the procurement process currently managed by consultant Verner Lipfert and its team of lawyers. The study would also examine the likelihood of competition for a long-term contract to manage the operations of New Orleans' entire water/wastewater system (annual O&M budget now $100M/yr).

The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) Draft RFQ/RFP for the study of the New Orleans' procurement and its accompanying Memorandum Of Understanding will be issued in late March. The BGR expressed concern about limited competition for the New Orleans O&M contract if large-scale USA municipal operating experience is requred for both water and wastewater systems. Only a few companies meet those qualifications.

The current New Orleans managed competition is being run by R. Stuart Broom of Verner Lipfert, The Washington, D.C. law firm, which also advises the City Council‘s Utility Committee, is teamed with Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc., Deloitte & Touche LLP, and Essential Environmental Engineering, Inc. Verner Lipfert engaged a local attorney, William Broadhurst, to assist in the effort.

First hired in June, 1999, the group was paid $325,000 plus expenses for a
feasibility study and $1.5 million so far for preparing the draft RFQ/RFP,
according to a local watchdog group, the Bureau for Government Research.

The original financial advisors‘ contract had a maximum price tag of $100,000 plus expenses. The contract was amended twice. In July 1999, it was extended and increased by $75,000; in February 2000, it was extended and increased again by $150,000 to its current amount of $325,000 plus expenses.

BGR did a study of the proposed privatization in April 2000. It can be found at www.bgr.org

Last year's Sewer Water Board budget can be viewed at the local budget page on that site.

Much of the New Orleans Draft Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals can be found at www.swbno.org/rfq-rfp/coverpage.htm

If interested, Please e-mail or call Ms. Morris at 504/525-4152 ext.17

CLICK HERE FOR THE BGR RFP