N.O. reopens bidding for position of consent decree monitor

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 1:39 PM

Brendan McCarthy / Eyewitness News
Email: bmccarthy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @bmccarthyWWL


NEW ORLEANS - The City of New Orleans and the U.S. Justice Department are re-opening the bidding process for the position of consent decree monitor over the New Orleans Police Department.

First reported back in October, the city is now publicizing its search, with two days left before the deadline.

The city and the Justice Department were apparently displeased with the number of companies that had bid on the high-profile, lucrative contract and had found that some companies were unaware of the deadline, court filings show.

The pair filed a court motion late last month seeking to re-open the process, and a federal judge granted their request.

Their request stated they had learned "some interested entities were unaware that the (Request For Proposal) had been issued," according to their court filing.

The city and the feds were "concerned that there may be additional entities" interested in applying.

The pair also seems concerned that they only received seven bids, "substantially fewer than have applied to other monitoring requests for proposals." The city of Seattle is also hiring a monitor for its police department. That consent decree is significantly smaller than the one proposed here in New Orleans.

The city and the Justice Department filed in federal court in late July a proposal for broad reforms. U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan will oversee the court-ordered reforms, though she has yet to sign and finalize the consent decree.

The police monitor is to oversee the NOPD and its actions, and will serve as a liaison to Morgan. The city has budgeted millions for the monitor position.

The monitor was to be hired and in place within three months, according to the proposed decree. And the initial deadline for proposals was Oct. 5. Now, the bid solicitation begins again.

Months ago, the request for proposals was publicized on the Justice Department, city and federal court websites. More than 55 people and companies, both local and national, were sent a copy of the request and corresponding guidelines. Several of them had experience monitoring decrees in other cities.

In the end, seven companies applied. They listed their proposed fees, as well as their platforms and ideas on how to best monitor the NOPD.

City Hall spokesman Ryan Berni said the solicitation process will only be re-opened for a small period of time. “The selection of a federal monitor is crucially important and all parties want to ensure that the (Request For Proposal) process is as open as possible,” Berni wrote in an e-mail.

In order to make sure more potential bidders learn of the open contract, the city and the Justice Department pledge to follow-up with each person on their contact list and issue a press release announcing the re-issuance of the request for proposals.

The city made the bids public within the last week. That move caused concern for the head of a major investigative and consulting group that filed a proposal.

“The fact is, I’m a little surprised to see that both parties moved to have the bid re-opened, especially since bids and comprehensive pricing strategies had been made public,” said Arnette Heintze, the CEO of Chicago-based Hillard Heintze. He added that putting the bids out there seems to “take out the fair competition in pursuit of this opportunity.”

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