FEMA to call for bids
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told a Senate panel on Thursday that the agency would seek new bids on $400 million worth of contracts that had originally been awarded with no competition in the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort.Now promise to pay workers the prevailing wage, rather than leaving the poor people of No Man's Land more impoverished than ever.
In announcing the move, R. David Paulison, the agency's acting director, responded to sharp criticism after FEMA suspended normal contracting rules in the frantic first days of trying to help storm victims and rebuild the Gulf Coast.
The contracts up for bidding - worth up to $100 million each - were awarded to four giant firms specializing in construction, engineering and consulting, said Nicol Andrews, an agency spokeswoman. The businesses have long records of work for the federal government, and some have executives or lobbyists with close ties to the Bush administration.
Mr. Paulison did not indicate that his agency had found anything inappropriate in the contract awards, but he appeared to agree with critics who have warned that awarding contracts without bids could result in abuse and waste.
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