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Back where we started: IEM selected, again, to run state’s $1.6B flood recovery program

The state announced this morning it has—for the second time—selected a team led by disaster recovery firm IEM to handle Restore Louisiana, the $1.6 billion flood recovery program that seeks to help victims from the 2016 floods rebuild their homes.

This is the second time in as many months IEM was chosen to administer the program. In early March, IEM beat out four other teams that submitted proposals for the nine-figure contract. Two weeks later, however, the state scrapped the procurement process and restarted the contract solicitation proceedings amid a controversy about licensure requirements and concerns about costs.

The selection of IEM comes three days after $1.6 billion in federal flood aid was finally made available to the state. Earlier this week, a line of credit that will enable the state to draw down the federal money was established. Also this week, flood victims were able to begin filling out online questionnaires about the damage their property sustained—the first step in the aid application process. Already, more than 11,000 homeowners have completed the survey.

In a statement, Gov. John Bel Edwards says he is pleased with the selection of IEM.

“It was our goal to hire a contractor that would provide quality work with rigorous oversight at the most cost savings for the people of Louisiana,” he says. “IEM has made that commitment to the state, and I am personally going to hold them to it. This is a difficult process, and sometimes takes longer than anyone, including me, would like, but I do believe it’s important for us to get this right.”

It is unclear how much IEM will charge the state to administer the program. A spokesman for the governor’s office says cost comparison figures will be released later today.

In its first proposal, IEM estimated its cost to administer the program would be around $250 million, which was significantly lower than estimates in the other four proposals. State officials have said they expected costs to be significantly lower in the second round of offers, which were due April 7.

IEM officials declined to comment this morning.

—Stephanie Riegel

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