Friday, February 06, 2009

Does James read Stephanie's column?

Stephanie Grace made a good point last March:
Every time Nagin touts his own transparency and accountability, he all but begs for scrutiny.

And whether or not he's done anything wrong, every time he refuses to tell the public what he's up to, that shtick becomes a little less convincing.

I understand that it's vitally important for James Gill to keep his readers up to speed on every detail of the ongoing saga of Vince Marinello and his hairpiece,* but he should consider Grace's implicit advice and comment on some of the statements that Nagin and his staff have made this week:
The New Orleans City Council will vote Thursday on whether the decision making process concerning certain city contracts, worth millions of dollars, should be open to the public.
The mayor told Eyewitness News that he feels the process is already transparent, and he says if the council passes the ordinance his administration may end up fighting the decision in court.

The mayor's director of communications, Ceeon Quiett, released a statement a few hours after the vote, saying, "Under Mayor Nagin's leadership, city government is and will continue to be transparent.”

As of this writing, it's a dead link, but the mayor told WVUE that his administration was the most transparent in the city's history. Of course, he also brought along a former Morial City Attorney to vouch for his way of doing business...while he claimed to be such an improvement over his predecessors.

A brief history of Nagin Administration transparency as it relates to the santation contracts:

Times Picayune, Oct. 5, 2006:
City to award trash contracts
But bid details kept out of public eye

But with Nagin poised to hand out the mammoth deals, city officials have failed to produce any contract bids or their rankings by a technical committee that reviewed them, despite repeated phone, e-mail and in-person requests for the public records during the past two weeks.

Oct. 28, 2006:
Sanitation Director Veronica White said bid documents are never available for public review within minutes of being opened. Andrée Cohen, a city purchasing administrator, said the bid proposals would not be available until after the contract is awarded.

Fred Wilde, a lawyer with the city attorney's office, said the documents are public but that anyone wanting to view or photocopy them would have to make a request in writing.

That request comes on the heels of a similar exchange regarding the other two garbage-hauling contracts, which Nagin awarded Oct. 5.

Though mayoral spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett acknowledged that bid documents received for those deals were public, the city held them back for more than a month after they were submitted. They were provided four days after Nagin announced the winners -- Metro Disposal and Richard's Disposal -- during a City Hall news conference. Those were the only companies to bid on the deals, which each cover about half the city.

Nov. 18, 2006:
City officials refused to provide bid documents following the 10-minute conference, despite requirements of the state's public records law that in general oblige public entities to grant immediate access to available public documents. Assistant City Attorney Shawn Lindsay first demanded a written public records request, and after one was provided, said that only one lawyer in the city attorney's office handles requests for public records, and she was out of the office Friday.

Nov. 30, 2006:
Council seeking details of garbage contracts
Administration hasn't disclosed fine print

With a slew of questions still swirling around three proposed trash-collection contracts, New Orleans City Council members will meet in emergency session today to press for answers before they vote on the deals Friday as part of the Mayor Ray Nagin's proposed 2007 budget.

The most heated issues are the contracts' cost -- more than triple the current price of garbage collection citywide -- and the fine print of the pending deals with Metro Disposal and Richard's Disposal, which the Nagin administration has refused to disclose, saying the deals have not yet been signed. The contracts would call for twice-weekly pickup in most of the city.

That's all that I have time for this morning. As the Oct. 28 makes clear, some of the bid documents were finally made available, but by the time the council and public were informed of all the details, it was too late to rebid the contracts. Also, I'll repeat that to accurately judge the sanitation contracts that were signed, they need to be compared to the RFP's that allegedly frightened other potential bidders. If the council really wants to foster transparency, it should enact an ordinance requiring that all RFP's should be available for viewing by all citizens.

*Three columns about one wig in one month, you think maybe the T/P reassigned the wrong columnist? There may have been two wigs involved; I rarely pay much attention to crimes, even murders, in which the victim knew the assailant.

A wig and, arguably, no eyebrows.

Plus maybe a pair of clear braces?

Strong post. Thanks.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts