Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Pardon the musical interludes folks, but there's trouble...

...right here in River City....

...with a capital "T", which rhymes with "C", and that stands for "Crime Cameras":

Finding 1. The MOT (Mayor's Office of Technology) used subcontracts to evade open competition for professional service contracts.

Finding 2. The City failed to observe fundamental rules for accountability and transparency in its dealings with subcontractors.

Finding 3. The MOT lacked the expertise to successfully plan the surveillance camera project and chose not to retain the services of a professional consultant.

Finding 4. The MOT relied on one vendor for assistance in implementing a pilot project to the detriment of fair competition.

Finding 5. The MOT issued an open-ended Request for Proposals (RFP), which invited vendors to propose different equipment and technology and gave an unfair advantage to one vendor.

Finding 6. The Request for Proposals (RFP) process did not ensure that the City received the benefit of competitive prices for equipment and materials.

Finding 7. The City should have used an Invitation for Bids (IFB) rather than a request for proposals to procure a contract that was primarily for equipment, materials, and non-professional labor.

Finding 8. The MOT failed to establish a realistic budget for the project or to ensure that adequate funds were available.

Finding 9: After awarding the contract to Southern, the MOT complained that contract prices were inflated.

Finding 10: The contract did not hold Southern accountable for system performance or provide a meaningful warranty for Southern’s work.

Finding 11. The MOT failed to maintain project records to document inspections or identify performance problems.

Finding 12: The MOT failed to control expenditures under the Southern contract, which exceeded the contract price by 50 percent.

Finding 13. The MOT gave additional, no-bid work to Southern for a City Hall surveillance project that was not included in the contract.

Finding 14. The City’s records show that the City overpaid Southern by $286,423.85.

Finding 15. The city made payments totaling $770,624.52 to Dell, Inc., without documentation to show what was purchased.

Finding 16. The MOT arranged a no-bid deal for deployment of cameras purchased from Dell.

Finding 17. The MOT named a Veracent employee as the project manager responsible for overseeing Veracent’s work on the project.

Finding 18. The MOT tacitly approved an improper lease deal that allowed a subcontractor to profit from self-dealing.

Finding 19. The City circumvented the state contractor’s license requirement by treating LSI’s price bid as the total contract amount.

Finding 20. The City ignored fiscal safeguards when it approved LSI’s contract without determining the availability of funds.

Finding 21. The MOT undermined fair competition by allowing LSI to change its bid and failed to control the cost of the LSI contract.

Finding 22. The MOT failed to maintain project records to document work performed and inspections done under the LSI contract.

Finding 23. Many of the cameras installed by LSI were not operational because the MOT failed to obtain an assessment of the scope of work required to extend the surveillance camera network into all areas of the City. (More on those non-operational cameras can be found here, here, and, ah, here.)

Finding 24. In 2008, the MOT entered into a no-bid, open-ended agreement for a major project to enhance its communications network without determining the likely cost.

Finding 25. The communications network Ciber built does not meet the MOT’s expectations for reliability.

Finding 26. City officials ignored fiscal controls and allowed the MOT to overspend its 2008 budget.

Finding 27. The MOT failed to include adequate standards or specifications in any of its contracts for camera installations.

(big thanks to The Gambit's Blog of New Orleans for posting the full report)

...yes, that capital "T" that rhymes with "E" and stands for "E-mails"...

...which the City Council has filed to keep under wraps:

The City Council has filed for a temporary restraining order in Civil District Court to prevent the release of their e-mails to the public, according to WWL-TV Reporter Paul Murphy.

An inter-office memo distributed in February of last year detailed how city employees should handle public records requests.

In it, it states that if a city employee gets a public records request, they have four hours to hand deliver, e-mail or fax it to the law department. Yet in December 2008, 10 months after the memo was issued, local attorney Tracie Washington submitted a public records request to Sanitation Director Veronica White.

The request was for three years of e-mails from four City Council members: Arnie Fielkow, Stacy Head, Shelley Midura and Jackie Clarkson, as well as their staff.

The city attorney admitted yesterday that copies of CDs containing those e-mails were given by the mayor's Office of Technology to Veronica White, and that she gave those CDs to Tracie Washington.

Chief Administrative Officer Brenda Hatfield said Tuesday that the city is looking into why the City Attorney's Office was not aware until recently of the request granted by the Office of Technology.

("T" stands for "Technology" as well, kids. Why is the MOT involved in so many of the recent revelations about botched procedures and possible criminal intents?)

...and don't forget that "T" rhymes with "V", as in Trash Diva Veronica White, who, like Pharaoh with the Israelites, let those emails go:

The city can’t keep the mayor’s emails (more on that from Dambala here) but the city Office of Technology can compile the emails of the 4 white council members, their staffers and a special assistant to Ed Blakely, burn them to a disk, and give them to Veronica White, the head of sanitation. And she can give that CD to a local lawyer who promises to post everything she’s gotten on the web... To me, though, it looks like White thought she was finally going to get her revenge on The White Folks for dissing her–though it seems like she was caught in a lie rather than racially attacked, though in the Nagin administration, disapproval or questions are the same as a noose, the n word or hundreds of years of slavery–and Washington was happy to help her. Why did Washington, allegedly still stung by the council’s unanimous vote to demolish the Lafitte, St. Bernard, CJ Peete, and BW Cooper housing developments, request only the records of the white council members when the vote was unanimous...It also puts the Nagin administration in a tough legal spot–why would any person, much less a judge, believe that the city can keep and store all emails except that of the mayor? Why does Nagin act more and more like Bush, like he was elected emperor?

...and not only is there capital "T" trouble right here in River City's City Hall, there's also trouble in its public housing management and its emergency management as well (thanks, E).

As Conan O'Brien once sang in reference to NBC, that capital "T" rhymes with "G" as well.

As in "Gee, we're screwed!"

All of us.

Update, 4:01 PM: Dambala goes in-depth on the crime camera report...a subject on which he had many feelers out well before the OIG began poking into things.


Cold Spaghetti said...

Does Nagin rebuckle his knickerbockers BELOW the knee!?

Leigh C. said...

If "SWELL" enters his vocabulary, RUN.