CATS board chair defends, apologizes to evaluator who gave zeroes
Among the questions swirling about the RFP process for the awarding of a $1.5 million CATS management contract are the zeroes that one of six evaluators gave in certain categories on his evaluation of Veolia, an internationally renowned mass transit firm that submitted a failed bid for the contract. But CATS board chairman Isaiah Marshall defends the scores—which tipped the scales in favor of a less experienced local engineering company, SJB Group—and the evaluator who gave them, Jason Wilson. "A zero may be a curious score to give," says Marshall. "But nowhere in the process does it say he couldn't give a zero … and there is no reason to have to throw his scores out." Wilson, an employee of Baton Rouge Metro Airport, was one of six evaluators asked by Marshall to evaluate the four RFPs. He was the only evaluator not affiliated with CATS; the others included CATS board members and one CATS staff member. Marshall says Wilson has "no blemish on his record," and that his decade-long experience at the airport includes "evaluating some proposals and managing people who do work." Marshall says he has not spoken with Wilson since the scores were made public except "to apologize to him that he, as a private citizen who volunteered to serve, has taken such a beating." Wilson has not returned calls seeking comment. The CATS board meets Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. to decide whether to begin negotiating with SJB Group over the contract. —Stephanie Riegel
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