Monday, September 21, 2009

Smell test: proposed contract not up to sniff

Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek's former law firm will have to wait a bit longer to see if it will get some $650,000 in state contracts, according to this article by Advocate reporter Will Sentell.

A bevy of officials, including legislators and members of the state education board, complained that a no-bid contract about to be awarded to the Adams and Reese law firm did not pass what one member called the "smell test."

The contracts in question involve the state Recovery School District in New Orleans. One of them, for $500,000, is to help the RSD "obtain construction funds through state and federal tax credit programs."

Another contract, for $125,000, is for legal advice associated with construction.

As a rule, no-bid contracts can be awarded if only one vendor is capable of providing the requested services. Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education say there are probably firms other than Adams and Reese capable of doing the work.

RSD Superintendent Paul Vallas told Sentell that bids will be sought for the work, and that the three best proposals will be submitted to the BESE.

Those bids could be considered in November. Adams and Reese will also probably be under scrutiny at the October BESE meeting - the firm represents Louisiana Connections Academy, a "virtual school" that is attempting to become the first statewide charter school to operate almost exclusively on the Internet.

No comments: