Saturday, January 01, 2005

Of Parking and Patronage...

The city of New Orleans has again awarded a contract for high-tech parking meters with high expectations of resulting revenues. This is happening just four months after making the final $400,000 payment on the last such contract to WorldWide Parking Inc., a Maryland company.

WorldWide was low bidder on the new project, but without a local partner they did not have a chance. The project was awarded to a 50-50 partnership between Standard Parking, a national firm that has operated parking lots in New Orleans for 25 years, and Parking Solutions LLC, a local minority-owned company with political ties to City Hall.

Mayor Ray Nagin selected the local partnership over the low bidder, citing technological factors and the 50 percent minority participation. Nagin took the position that the lowest-bid criterion was inapplicable because the contract is for a professional service.

Did the old meters become obsolete as soon as the old contract was paid out, or was it simply perceived as an opportunity to award a lucrative deal to some friends? Do you think the deal could have withstood an objective financial analysis? Let me hear from you.

On a subject we reported on earlier, the Times-Picayune reported:

A day after the New Orleans City Council tried to grab the credit for keeping the Louisiana SPCA on the job next year, Mayor Ray Nagin tried to wrest it back Thursday, announcing an "agreement in principle" for the agency to continue providing animal-control services for as long as five years.
After some political brinksmanship, the SPCA got what they had asked for all along. Was it worth the exercise by our officials just to see who deserves credit? Let me know your opinion.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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