The way New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration hired its contractor to perform extensive construction work on Bourbon Street has raised questions, according to a WWL-TV report.
Work the size of the $6 million project, which is now expected to cost even more, is typically put out to bid as a capital project. Instead, the city used an existing pavement maintenance contract with Hard Rock Construction to get the project started more quickly.
But Hard Rock's vice president, Jan Langford, said her company had no idea when it was selected that its pavement maintenance deal would be used to perform the far-more-involved Bourbon Street work.
Hard Rock obtained its three-year, $3.9 million contract with the city on Feb. 2, a little more than a week after Landrieu unveiled a public safety plan that included sprucing up Bourbon Street, fixing its long-standing drainage issues and converting it to a pedestrian mall.
New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan acknowledged there's a lot more to the Bourbon Street work than simple pavement maintenance, but said there wasn't enough time to go through such a long contract-procurement process to get the work done as soon as possible.
Jernigan also said its was entirely within his authority to use the generic maintenance contract for the Bourbon Street work and it complied with all state public bid laws.
Read WWL-TV's full report here.
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