Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's the Systems Above NOAH

Did you know that New Orleans does not have a complete list of all the contracts on which it is currently spending our tax dollars?

The uncovering of impropriety at NOAH is certainly illustrative of these larger issues.

From WDSU:

CityBusiness did a story on that topic in July. In the story, New Orleans Inspector General Robert Cerasoli said, "Someone somewhere should have a list of every contract the city is engaged in."

That remark prompted City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields to send Cerasoli a letter. In it, she said, "No city office maintains or practically can maintain an authoritative list of all city contractors ... currently working under contract."

From City Business a month ago:

For the second public records request, a list of all current contracts either through public bid or professional services procurement was requested through Moses-Fields’ office, as well as through the purchasing department at Moses-Fields’ direction. The Law Department’s response to the request stated, “The city does not maintain or possess such a list and is unable to comply with your records request.”


No city office maintains that list or practically can?

Kenner does. New York does too.

Cities and towns big and small all across this great land know where they're sending checks, to whom, and for what services. New Orleans does not.

No wonder it's been so difficult to parse what other city contracts some of these NOAH players currently hold.


Schroeder said...

160,000 CTO's won't help. The city needs to dump it's civil service job classifications overboard, and start from scratch, giving more oversight to managers over their hires and fires, and providing for an entire corps of technology professionals to staff departments. Yeah, it's gonna cost money, and yeah, people in old job classifications who don't produce aren't going to like it. The city could save a lot of money by dumping overboard a lot of useless perennial contractors.

Civitch said...

This really is inexcusable. Would you give money to a group that couldn't tell you how they were spending what they already had? Even the tiniest non-profits are held to that standard of accountability. Here we have a city with thousands and thousands of employees, and we can't assign a few of them (or hire new ones) to keep track of our contracts?

Sounds like deliberate ignorance and plausible deniability. These people don't WANT to be able to provide the public with the information.

startrekchess said...

That's funny. The airport manages a list of contractors; it's titled the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Registry of Certifications, and Ms. Moses-Fields is herself on page 43 with her business consulting firm. You'd think someone with a degree in law and a background in accounting would know it's important to keep the "right" lists on hand for such things as public records requests, if not for audits.

I'm really not comfortable with a City Attorney who stonewalls and demands notice regarding the IG's public statements running a consulting business on the side with no transparency regarding who she has worked for. Don't we have ANY conflict of interest clauses in this town?

The questions to ask on the Him Store are lease terms, compared to other Canal Place stores, and if anyone was used for consult in arranging that particular business. What is Penya hiding?

Anonymous said...

Contracts, contracts.....we dont need no stinking contracts!