With protests over flood recovery contract mounting, Louisiana could cancel RFP and start over

    Concerns are growing over the request for proposals issued by the state in February to select a program manager for the state’s $1.2 billion flood recovery program.

    At a Restore Louisiana Task Force meeting underway this morning in Gonzales, the Division of Administration’s Office of Community Development is expected to address challenges to the RFP that came to light in recent days.

    Sources tell Daily Report the OCD may even recommend the task force cancel the RFP and start the entire process over. Officials with OCD, which oversees the advisory Restore Louisiana Task Force, could not be reached for comment before this morning’s meeting began.

    The state awarded the lucrative contract, which involves program and construction management, in early March to a team of companies led by IEM. That team—which includes several well-known Baton Rouge companies like Providence Engineering, Sparkhound and Emergent Method—issued a proposal that put the price tag to do the work at $250 million, $65 million less than the second-place finisher.

    The second-place finisher, a company called PDRM and led by CSRS, filed a complaint against IEM with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors, arguing that IEM did not have a commercial contractor’s license when it submitted its proposal.

    Even though IEM subsequently obtained that license, the board on Thursday issued an opinion that said a residential contractor’s license was required at the time proposals were submitted, a decision that could invalidate both IEM’s and, ironically, PDRM’s proposals.

    Meanwhile, several other unsuccessful teams that competed for the contract have already or were expected to file protests with the Office of Community Development by today’s deadline. It is unclear on what grounds they are challenging the RFP.

    Officials with the Division of Administration have been meeting for the past several days since the challenges and protests began to surface to decide what to do. Should the RFP for the contract be cancelled, it’s unclear how long that might delay implementation of the program, which will funnel federal recovery dollars to homeowners and others affected by the 2016 floods.

    —Stephanie Riegel

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