- Elliott Stonecipher
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 … 6:38 P.M. …[Given the new developments, I suggest that those unfamiliar with the matter read this previous article: http://realshreveport.com/a-dramatic-turn-in-city-hall-wat…/]
Apparently irreparable, systemic failures within the city’s water and sewer services continue, making it clear that Mayor Ollie Tyler cannot, for some reason, right the ship.
Now, newly available public documents spotlight a pattern of mayoral actions which call into question Tyler’s willingness to confront the corruption at issue.
In an article last Friday (SEE link #1 below), I explained how the mayor continues with her years-old refusal to order an external forensic (investigative) audit of this city department.
At a candidate forum on August 6th, Tyler publicly pronounced that she would not order such an audit “… unless something has been done wrong.”
The statement is so ridiculous, and ignores so much evidence of wrong-doing, that City Hall sources I have consulted are flabbergasted that Tyler, campaigning for a second term, said it.
What has happened in the wake of that show further exposes Mayor Tyler’s inability, if not will, to make any difference whatsoever in the deterioration of these vital city services.
Last week, thanks to documents produced by a Public Records request, Tyler directed City Attorney William Bradford, Jr., to issue a statement admitting that the audit she had loudly claimed was unnecessary had, in fact, been “undertaken” seven months ago.
But, as some of these documents detail, her “admission” is just one more Tyler action which assures NO audit is done while she is mayor.
Not only is the subject audit neither external nor investigative – it is an “operational compliance and efficiency review” – but the firm selected to perform it is both close to Tyler and not in the business of performing such audits.
The emerging timeline of mayoral actions and inactions is very revealing.
The first related lawsuit against City Hall was filed by political players Scott Pernici and Michael Wainwright in October 2016, after which Tyler promised the City Council and public that external audits of the department would be conducted.
After enduring months of Tyler’s stalling, the City Council’s Audit & Finance Committee, taking the only action it could legally take, ordered internal audits of the department.
The public reports of those audits are dated October 4, 2017. (SEE links #2 and #3, below.)
At least one Council member then asked Tyler about her progress in contracting external investigative audits and was told a “RFP” – Request For Proposals – had gone out, but no qualified applicants responded.
In fact, as these newly released documents show, Tyler had put “RFP 17-811” in the pipeline at least as early as July 7, 2017, and required a response from bidders by August 3, 2017.
Then, on October 6, 2017 – two days after the public release of the internal auditor’s reports – the contract resulting from RFP 17-811 was suddenly approved by Tyler.
The winning contractor, at a cost of at least $183,150, was CRI … Carr, Riggs and Ingram, LLC, the Tyler fave. Its contract was NOT, however, for an external investigative audit.
Tyler’s delaying continued.
Although the CRI contract was approved by Tyler on October 6, 2017, she held it … unsigned … for five months, until March 6, 2018.
Even now, not included in the newly released documents is the contractually required “Notice to Proceed” from Tyler to CRI.
Again, even if that Notice to Proceed was issued by the mayor, the resulting audit would be only an expanded duplicate of the internal audits released last October (2017).
To a lot of people, this supposed incompetence has begun to look more and more like a cover-up.
Why, after all, is an external investigative audit of water-sewer services so scary, and to whom?
… to be continued …
© 2018 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
1. Elliott Stonecipher, September 14, 2018 article, RealShreveport.com:
2. October 4, 2017: Audit of the Water and Sewerage Customer Service Water Billing Process
3. October 4, 2017: Limited Scope Performance Audit of the Water and Sewerage Customer Service Water Billing Process