Tuesday, March 5, 2013

State Tells Kenner That Generator Maintenance Bid Was Wrong

Last week, ClickJefferson.com reported the City of Kenner awarded a bid for generator maintenance to a Mississippi company that, according to Kenner resident Jack Zewe, did not possess the required licenses to bid on the job.

The bid was for a two-year contract to maintain Kenner’s 49 generators. The generators provide backup power to City Hall, the Police Department, the Jail, Fire Stations, sewerage lift stations and more. Taylor Power Systems won the “sealed” bid with a bid of $49,900 per year, although the legislation approving the bid said “at an amount not to exceed $100,000 per year”.
Zewe maintained that Taylor Power Systems did not possess a valid State of Louisiana Contractor’s License or a valid City of Kenner Electrical Contractor’s License, both requirements for bidding on the contract.

City of Kenner CAO Mike Quigley defended Taylor saying that Taylor “has given us all Electrical licenses and so there is absolutely no concern in regards to licensing at all.”
The City also has maintained that, since Taylor was subbing out the electrical work, it was the responsibility of the sub-contractor, not Taylor, to hold the Electrical license.

Taylor previously held a no-bid contract to work on the generators for the past several years.
Now, there’s even more information to prove Zewe’s claims.

In a “Bulletin” dated February 15th, six days before the Council meeting that approved the bid, the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors wrote:
“(A)ny contractor who bids or performs work on electrical or mechanical projects with a value of $10,000 or more must have a commercial license with the relevant classification requirements.”

Clearly, a valid license is a pre-requisite to bidding whether you use a sub-contractor or not.
ClickJefferson.com has obtained a copy of a letter that was sent to the City of Kenner by the State Licensing Board for Contractors regarding this bid.

The letter, dated March 1st, from State Compliance Director Marianne Sullivan, says:
“This office is in receipt of information concerning the above referenced project with was bid on January 22, 2013. After careful review of the documentation, we concluded that a properly licensed Electrical contractor would need to be in place to perform this work.”

An earlier email, dated February 27th, from Doug Traylor the Director of Examinations and Assessments, is even more direct;
“I have read the attached documents and find that this is an electrical job for which a license would be required if the cost of the job would reach $10,000 or more. Given the bids submitted, it appears that the bidders expect the job to reach a much higher amount than the $10,000 threshold. If the job is given to an unlicensed contractor and the contract cost reaches the $10,000 threshold, the contract would be in violation of the Contractors Licensing Law (La. R.S. 37:2150-2192).”

Since it appears from Mr. Traylor’s email that the contract has not yet been given to Taylor Power, it seems that this email is a warning to the City of Kenner to not proceed with the awarding of the bid.
The City Council now faces options:

-          Cancel the bid, which may mean that the City cannot bid the job for 12 months.

-          Ignore the information from the State and face a possible fine.

-           Extend the current no-bid contract with Taylor

-          Submit an RFP instead of the sealed bid
The latter two options would still require Taylor to obtain the appropriate licenses.