Monday, June 7, 2010

New Orleans Reforms Corrupt Contracting Practices

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a series of significant contracting reforms on June 3, 2010, designed to make selection of consultants and contractors more transparent and open to the public. 

The changes follow years of questionable practices by previous mayors.  Mayor Landrieu noted that "We are going to institute a new way of doing restore credibility and faith that the public should always have in the way government handles its money."

Chief Procurement Officer:  A new Procurement Office headed by a Chief Procurement Officer position will be created to implement and manage the contracting reforms and new processes.  Click here to read the mayor's Executive Order MJL 10-04 on this subject.

Consultant Selection Practices:  A key change will shift the decision making for selection of professional service consultants, such as architects and engineers, away from the mayor.  Instead, a selection committee of five high-ranking city employees will make a recommendation to the mayor.  The mayor will be required to either sign a contract with the recommended firm or state in writing why he is not doing so.  If the mayor does not agree with the selection committee recommendation, a new procurement process must be conducted.  

The selection committee will be subject to open public meetings and public records laws.  The new consultant selection procedures will apply to all contracts of $15,000 or more.  The ten page Executive Order also details procedures for development of standardized RFPs and RFQs, advertisement, selection criteria, and contract negotiations.  Click here to read the mayor's executive order MJL 10-05.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE):  One of the mayor's Executive Orders establishes a provisional certification program for DBEs, creates an advisory committee to reform and strengthen the City's DBE program, creates a contract review committee for procurements, commissions a disparity study, and explores the creation of a surety fund for bonding DBEs.  Click here to read the mayor's Executive Order MJL 10-02.  

Another of the mayor's executive orders creates a new position of Director of Supplier Diversity.  Click here to read this Executive Order MJL 10-03.

Other Information:
  • For a June 3, 2010 news article about the new contracting regulations in The Times-Picayune, click here.
  • For a June 6, 2010 editorial in the The Times-Picayune, click here.
  • For a history of some of the contracting scandals that have plagued the City of New Orleans, click here.

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