News alert: AECOM files protest over flood recovery program contract

AECOM, the firm that lost out to IEM on the contract to administer the state’s $1.3 billion flood recovery assistance program, has filed a formal complaint over IEM’s selection.

In its protest to the state, AECOM, which had the second-highest score of the five teams that submitted proposals earlier this month, says IEM should be thrown out for no less than a dozen reasons. Chief among them, however, is that IEM’s price is $65 million to $74 million more than AECOM’s.

“The AECOM team will significantly help more low-income people than IEM,” a draft copy of the protest document obtained by Daily Report reads. “AECOM is the best value for our citizens and should have been selected.”

AECOM’s protest comes as the state is trying to finalize contract talks with IEM and get the flood recovery program off the ground. Federal money became available to the state early last week.

The protest is the latest headache for state officials in a procurement process that has been marred by controversy. In early March, the state picked IEM to run the program. Before a contract could be finalized, however, it scrapped the procurement and restarted the contract solicitation process because of issues about licensure requirements and concerns about costs.

At the time, state officials said they hoped the second round of procurement would produce cost savings for the state. But IEM’s proposal, which scored higher than any of the others on technical qualifications, is actually the second-most expensive of the five proposals submitted.

It is unclear exactly how much IEM would charge the state in bottom-line dollars because the proposal only gives per-unit costs, which are variable. Sources familiar with the situation say state officials are trying to negotiate IEM’s cost downward.

Officials with AECOM, which administers the state’s Shelter at Home program, decline to comment, as do officials from the state.

Read Daily Report PM for more details.

—Stephanie Riegel

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