Work without contracts raises eyebrows at PPC meetingJul 16th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
“Something is happening here that’s not right— how was the work done without a contract?” asked bewildered Belle Chasse resident Arthur Henry.
Henry and several other audience and Councilmembers were perplexed when it was revealed that the Stuart Consulting Group has already completed planning and zoning work for the parish but the ordinance up for discussion related to signing the contract that authorizes them to do the work. The price tag for their work is $20,000.
District 2 Councilman Keith Hinkley, who offered the ordinance, stated that President Nungesser didn’t have the legislative authority to sign the contract at the time the work needed to be done, so the ordinance would be giving him the authority to sign the contract. District 6 Councilman Burghart Turner said frankly that the process was “hypocritical”.
“He’s not signing contracts when he has made payments to Riverside Recycling and Industrial Pipe without contracts,” Turner stated. “It isn’t lining up when he had previously paid people for work without a contract.”
Councilman Turner cited an ordinance that says the council must award and sign all contracts.
Parish Attorney Renny Buras offered his legal opinion and said that based on his interpretation, “the council can’t override the Parish President on contracts; According to the Attorney General’s office, that ordinance violates the Charter in that it is taking powers away from the Administration”.
Turner argued that the issue isn’t with who signed or didn’t sign contracts, its a process issue, as according to the ordinance the Parish President is required to seek for proposals for the job.
“Did we receive proposals to hire this company? Did we even request proposals? I’m going to assume your silence means NO,” Turner said frustratedly.
Councilchair Byron Marinovich and Councilman Hinkley both argued that the process was indeed convoluted, but the company completed work and needed to be paid.
After a lengthly debate, the ordinance was approved by a 7 −1 vote, with the no coming from District 6.
In other contract-related council business, an ordinance defunding a line-item in the General Fund Operating Budget to stop Riverside Recycling from getting paid without having a contract to collect garbage and trash in the parish was withdrawn after lengthy debate. Turner said that “we couldn’t find any way to stop it (payments to Riverside Recycling), so we have to remove the funding”.
Director of Administration Janice Acosta, and Scott Lott argued that several bills are paid through that line item, and if defunded completely, Environmental Operators LLC, the company that does have a contract for garbage and trash collection, would not be paid.
Turner withdrew the ordinance after he was assured by member of the administration that Riverside Recycling has not been paid since April of 2012.