WWL-TV (CBS) tonight reports that the US Army Corps of Engineers hired a Lafayette company to repair and raise floodwalls following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The company was awarded the contract even though they are not licensed by the State of Louisiana. According to Corps officials the Federal government is not required to consider Louisiana licensing requirements when selecting contractors.
As a St. Bernard resident who witnessed the “construction” points out:
“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on the hole of a gas tank of an airplane,” the resident said.
Instead of an airplane, it’s a floodwall, and instead of a Band-Aid, the witness says two years ago, he saw the contractor filling the expansion joint or opening between the floodwalls with newspaper.
“The whole length of the wall was stuffed with newspaper.”
The whole thing is both predictable and quite amazing. You can check out the full story here.
There’s an old Joke that goes something like this:
The Governor looks out one day and sees all the cracks in the front steps of the state capitol and orders his contracting office to hire someone to fix the them. The legislature agrees and quickly approves. The next week a request for bids goes out throughout the state.
On the day the bids are due several contractors show up.
The first contractor to present his bid is from Marksville. He comes in at $2000 but says he might only be able to fix half the stairs.
The second contractor comes in is from New Orleans, he comes in at $4000, won’t give a warranty on his work, but agrees to work on Mardi Gras if he has to.
The third contractor is from Alexandria. He comes in at $5000, but he guarantees his work, can finish in a week, and can start immediately.
Finally the fourth contractor presents his bid. It’s a big company from Lafayette. When the board opens his bid they’re shocked. The head of the committee immediately interrupts and asks the contractor: “Sir we’ve had a bid for $2000, a bid for 4000, and a bid for 5000. But this bid we have from you here is for $25,000!!!”
The contractor leans forward and tells the head of the committee “Look man, you give me $25,000 — I’ll keep $10,000 for myself, I’ll give you the other $10,000 and we’ll hire that guy from Alexandria.”
That is no joke, That is a sad reality.
What’s truly sad is the contractor is not licensed by the State Board of Contractors, yet they were able to receive a contract from the Federal Government. The oversight of projects performed under “emergency” circumstances was basically non-existent. Oversight has improved, but no one is going back to the former projects which were done as emergency repairs to make certain these repairs will last 5, 10 15 years down the road. The amount of waste of Federal Dollars is ridiculous. There are ways to perform repair work in an emergency situtation and have the work done correctly.
The specifications for the job actually required the same type of materials to be used as if the flood ball were being totally replaced. This contractor should have never been paid for the work performed. My only question is why did the witness wait so long to inform someone about what he saw. The report I saw on the news last night indicated he witnessed the act more than a year ago, in fact almost immediately after the storm.
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