Not only did Livingston Parish fail to competitively bid out contracts for debris removal and monitoring following Hurricane Gustav, the companies it hired didn’t obtain necessary federal permits, overcharged the parish for unnecessary debris removal and violated provisions of the Clean Water Act in the process, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Citing those reasons and others, FEMA has rejected the parish’s $46 million reimbursement appeal. The parish’s initial reimbursement request was rejected by FEMA in June. A 20-page letter sent to the parish Friday says FEMA debris management experts determined none of the cleanup work performed along the 425 miles of streams and canals in Livingston Parish following the 2008 hurricane is eligible for reimbursement.
Among those with whom the parish contracted to perform the work, International Equipment Distributors Inc. charged the parish $21.7 million for debris removal. Alvin Fairburn and Associates collected $4.4 million for monitoring debris removal, while Professional Engineering Consultants Corp. received $3.3 million, also for monitoring. All three were singled out in the FEMA letter as having not adequately satisfied requirements for reimbursement. Livingston Parish President Mike Grimmer, who has long maintained the cleanup work was not properly bid out or managed, provided a copy of the letter but says he has no further comment at this time. The Livingston Parish Council has 60 days to decide whether or not to file a second and final appeal to FEMA. —Steve Sanoski