Tuesday, November 15, 2005

FEMA Hasn't Honored Pledge To Re-Bid Katrina Contracts

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has failed to honor a pledge made last month to reopen four of its biggest no-bid contracts for Hurricane Katrina work.

The no-bid contracts for temporary housing, worth up to $100 million each, were given to Shaw Group, Bechtel, CH2M Hill, and Fluor right after Katrina struck.

On Oct. 6, acting FEMA chief R. David Paulison declared he was "no fan of no-bid contracts" and pledged to reopen the four deals. But in testimony to Congress on Tuesday, Greg Rothwell, Homeland Security's chief procurement officer, said rebidding will not be done until February.

But the four firms told the Washington Post that they had not been notified of the rebidding other than from news reports following Paulison's announcement. And remarkably, CH2M Hill and Fluor told the Post that their contracts could end in January.

In other words, the "rebidding" is not scheduled to take place until after two of the contracts may be complete.


How are no-bid contracts examples of wasteful spending? Consider the much criticized case of Akima Management Services. The politically connected Akima received a no-bid $39.6 million contract to provide temporary classrooms across Mississippi. The classrooms cost FEMA nearly $90,000 each. That is double the wholesale price and nearly 60 percent higher than the price offered by a local company that has a long resume selling modular classrooms.

What makes the situation worse is that the classrooms Akima provided were not secured to concrete foundations, violating a state regulation. The classroom contract has already prompted a lawsuit and a government investigation, the New York Times reports.

"The fact that natural disasters are not precisely predictable must not be an excuse for careless contracting practices," David E. Cooper from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, told Congress last week. Discussing the Akima contract, Cooper said, "We found information in the corps' contract files and from other sources that suggest the negotiated prices were inflated."

Why did Akima get the job over the local player, Adams Hardware and Home Center? Politics.

Akima's majority owner is the NANA Regional Corp. It is represented in Washington by Blank Rome Government Relations, a lobbying firm with close ties to the Bush administration and particularly Tom Ridge, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA's parent agency. Akima has 22 federal contracts, mostly with the military. It also has an agreement with the Army to supply modular buildings.

Adams Hardware doesn't have a lobbying firm with a huge retainer and ties to the Bush Administration. It did have a lower bid, though.


Anonymous Bob3 said...

So they were lying. Imagine that. Hard to believe yes?

Good God does it never stop? Can't they even once in a while pretend to do the right thing? Do they have be this evil, stupid, greedy, and just plain incompetent every single waking hour of every single day? You just can't keep up, it goes on and on and it gets worse and worse but you're benumbed so the latest outrage is greeted with a grimace but not much else.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous texpatriot2004 said...

Big Shock there. FEMA lies. FEMA's boss lies.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Tom Rinaldo said...

Classic Tactic

Do damage control by apologizing for a past mistake, get some favorable press for doing the right thing, without changing a damn thing until after it doesn't matter. Clasic "Photo Op" strategy, "Look, we're closing the Barn Door!" (AFTER THE HORSE IS GONE).

12:58 PM  
Anonymous ctaylor1973 said...

Don't let them Forget If we are to get some control back in Texas (or else where) we have to show people we are ready to take the issues to the mat.
Here in Texas we have people in and out of state who are just pissed off that people in New Orleans. We have to remind these people, get them involved, get them established, get them REGISTERED TO VOTE. I am not an organizer or planner. Just a guy who thinks that with the right campaign we can give the REP. a run for their money down here in Texas or in the whole of the south.

Here are the issues as I see them:

- if the storms had been a terrorist attack we would have been screwed. this was not 9-11 we had 4 weeks to prepare.

- the Reps. where prepared for the storm (they where setting up construction contracts for there buddies)

- it wasn't a matter or black or white in New Orleans it was a matter that the poor (uneducated, non-voting poor)where left to suffer.

I am willing to work very hard for this effort. Can anyone help me? We need to:

-get these people established as citizens of the state they are in so the REP. Party cannot block them at the voting booth in the 2008 elections.

-remind them of what the REP. party did for them in the first 24 - 72 hours after the storm.

- get other states in the south doing the same thing.

12:59 PM  
Blogger don dzikowski said...

If the JABBS story on the phooney contract representations were to gain any traction, it would likely be attributed to the Democrats.
The media is allowed to downplay the story, the same way it has downplayed in recent days factual information countering Bush pre-War intelligence claims.
Why must this be?
Heaven forbid, might it actually get out that the Bush Administration cannot be trusted? Isn't it better off to keep the sheeple in ignorance or lied to rather than to tell them the truth, or to give them enough information to allow them to discern the truth for themselves?
How terrible might it be to our national interests if more people started pondering the question: "why should we trust anything this administration says ever again!?"

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go get 'em CTaylor.
It's nice to see someone taking real action beyond making statements on a blog. An example for us all wanting to take down these incompetents and criminals destroying our country.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Humor_In_Cuneiform said...

That is why I think of them as the promise you anything, give you nothing administration.

They do this over and over and over.

Say they will do something just to temporarily stop the uproar or concern, then do nothing and hope nobody notices.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Tom Rinaldo said...

Great information. Thanks.

4:41 PM  

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