[Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information supplied by the Lafayette Consolidated Government.]
Faced with a long list of problems surrounding its selection of a group health plan provider, the Lafayette Parish School Board instead zeroed in during Wednesday’s meeting on the most minute of the issues to emerge during this year’s selection process.
The board, despite so many unanswered questions, has opted to get a legal opinion on the validity of its Oct. 2 vote awarding the group benefits contract to Key Benefit Administrators and whether it was in line with Robert’s Rules of Order since the agenda item was moved from introductory to action without a two-thirds majority vote.
LPSB's insurance consultant Rina Tikia
Sure, following proper meeting procedures is a must, but in the case of this year’s renewal process, Wednesday’s decision addresses the least problematic of the issues to emerge since July, when the original Request For Proposals was sent out.
If the requested legal opinion comes back saying the board’s Oct. 2 vote was legit and KBA is awarded the contract, here are a few of the questions that will have been left unanswered:
• Why were six companies disqualified for submitting bids without an aggregate quote, when the original RFP did not call for an aggregate quote?
• Why was Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana disqualified, but then allowed back into contention, so-say as a “courtesy,” while the other disqualified companies remain disqualified?
• Why did Rina Tikia, the board’s hired consultant, not reveal to the public that she also was an independent insurance agent?
• Why has the board not hammered down a firm contract with Tikia? And if it does approve her suggested $200,000 flat rate fee, isn't that a little expensive considering the Lafayette City-Parish Council recently went through the same insurance selection process and paid its consultant $108,500 ($64,500 for the preparation and issuance of the RFP and $44,000 for evaluating the eight proposals submitted).
• Why did Tikia not just revise and reissue an RFP explicitly asking for an aggregate quote?
Selecting the school system’s insurance provider is a big decision, worth millions, and considering KBA’s claim of $8 million in savings compared to the bid submitted by Blue Cross has not been substantiated or vetted raises even more questions, the most pertinent coming from a group of retired LPSS teachers: Why not restart the process? Because it seems if Tikia would have had her way from the start, there would have only been one option for the board to consider: KBA.
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
OCT 21 Two St. John Parish employees were indicted in connection with the amoeba found in the parish water supply, WVUE reports in this post. They are accused of lying about testing the water for proper chlorine levels, the story says, claims that were contradicted by their government vehicles' GPS records.
OCT 21 Here's an interesting story from the National Journal about New Orleans almost 10 years post-Katrina. There are demographic information and charts, as well as some commentary about the corresponding changes in the way the city looks and works.
OCT 21 Gambit offers its endorsements for the upcoming election in this post, including an endorsement of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. The best way to protect Louisiana's clout is to re-elect the senior senator, the paper opines. Sending a Republican in her place won't accomplish anything, the paper adds.
OCT 21 The McClatchy DC blog posts this fascinating view of Louisiana's political landscape. It's a little heavy on the cliches, and also a little heavy on the quaint Cajun/Creole shtick, but it's still good reading -- if only for the outside view of our insides.
OCT 21 An audit finds very little federal oversight of coastal restoration grants, the Advocate reports here. Two federal agencies charged with overseeing how the money was spent didn't oversee the grants properly, didn't know enough about how the grants were supposed to be spent, and provided conflicting records about the money, the audit found.
OCT 21 The first Senate debate featuring all three candidates was a big ho-hum, columnist Jim Beam writes in this post. Nobody said anything new or interesting, and nobody emerged the clear winner, he says.
OCT 21 Bobby Jindal can't seem to leave Daniel Malloy alone, this post on NOLA Defender says. On a recent trip to stump for another GOP'er (Ever wonder: does any of his stumping really help these guys? Or is he just trying to get his name in other newspapers?) Jindal again ran afoul of Connecticut's Governor, who has no problem calling Bobby on his claims, the post tells us.
OCT 21 Jeremy Alford writes about David Vitter's playbook in this post, and frankly, there are some things we don't want to know. We've all heard about what's in that book, haven't we? That kind of stuff is not our idea of a good -- oh, wait. Jeremy's writing about Vitter's political playbook. Never mind.
OCT 20 Remember those great posts from blogger Jason Brad Berry that featured emails and letters related to the BP claims process? Well, apparently Patrick Juneau (who was featured, but not in a positive way, in those documents) ordered a background check on Berry because of it, this story in Louisiana Record says. Huh?
OCT 20 The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper, has posted its story on Louisiana's coastal loss here. In it, author Omar El Akkad clarifies it neatly: it's "a battle between prosperity and the planet's well-being." Are jobs and money worth the trade we're making? As Jonathan Foret says in the story, Mother Nature may come and answer that question for us.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly