In the five years since Mayor Mitch Landrieu overhauled the city’s rules for awarding professional service contracts, contract managers and contractors have failed to file key reports with the city’s Procurement Office as required under the regulations, potentially allowing poorly performing contractors to continue to win work with the city, according to an investigation by the New Orleans Office of Inspector General released Wednesday.
IG Ed Quatrevaux’s office conducted an investigation to determine if contract managers in city departments and city contractors followed the policy that calls for the contract managers to submit interim progress reports and post-contract evaluations of contractors and for contractors to file post-contract disclosures.
Those reports are supposed to be used to assess whether a contractor performs on time and within budget. It also provides a record that future procurement selection committees can use when evaluating people seeking work with the city. Without such information, the city could continue to award work to a previously underperforming contractor, the OIG report said.
In his 2010 executive order revising the city’s process for choosing professional service contractors, Landrieu said such selection committees must meet in public to consider the firms seeking contracts and then make a recommendation to the city on which applicant should be chosen.
The order also added a requirement that contract managers must submit written reports on the contractors’ performance during the course of, and at the conclusion of, a contract. Contractors are required to submit post-contract disclosures containing, among other things, a list of all the subcontractors they used. That information is to be kept in a central location and given to a selection committee whenever the contractor is under consideration for another job.
According to the OIG report, the city did not put in place a system for distributing, collecting or monitoring the progress and evaluation forms from contract managers. Between August 2013 and May 2015, the Procurement Office collected just one post-contract evaluation form and no interim progress reports.
It also did not collect any post-contract disclosures from contractors, an oversight that could, among other things, allow a contractor to skirt the requirements for disadvantaged business participation, the report said.
“The informal manner in which the form was implemented and distributed was likely a significant factor in the failure to meet the standards outlined in the (executive order),” the report said.
The OIG recommended that the city develop a method to distribute, collect and monitor the contractor progress and evaluation forms. It said the city also should revise its procurement solicitations and contract forms to include language requiring contractors to submit relevant post-contract information to the Procurement Office.
In the city’s response to the report, Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin said he has instructed all city departments, boards and commissions to submit any outstanding interim progress reports and post-contract evaluations to his office. They will be on file and up-to-date with the Procurement Office by Aug. 31, he said.
The city also is developing a process to help the office collect the reports and will have revised procedures in place for how that process will work by the end of the month, Kopplin said.