State Officials Tried To Alter Bid Documents For Multi-Million Dollar Hurricane Contract
RALEIGH, N.C. - Just three weeks after the Cooper administration missed a self-imposed deadline to begin repairs to towns damaged by Hurricane Matthew, a new report reveals how state officials tried to alter documents related to a $15 million contract.
Leaders in the North Carolina Emergency Management office attempted to change the outcome of a multi-million dollar bid for Hurricane Matthew recovery by re-writing a memo recommending the contract be awarded to three companies instead of one, documents obtained by WBTV show.
The attempt to change the outcome of the bid process meant another delay in a recovery effort that has been filled with them.
Two weeks after the evaluation committee’s recommendation memo was sent to attorneys for final review, a different memo surfaced.
Nick Burk, who was then a deputy director at NCEM, sent an email to two members of the RFP evaluation committee—both of whom work at NCEM — onMarch 16 that makes it sound as though the committee had written a memo recommending all three companies be awarded the hurricane recovery contract.
“We are in receipt of the recommendation memo for the CDBG-DR Contact (sic), signed by Director Sprayberry,” Burk’s email said.
Attached to the email was the second contract, dated March 16, recommending all three companies be awarded the contract.
There are no emails to show the committee met after issuing its March 1recommendation to discuss making a different recommendation.
In an interview arranged by staff from Governor Roy Cooper’s office, Mike Sprayberry, the Director of Emergency Management, said he re-wrote the memo.
“I thought, as Director of Emergency Management, that we could possibly take advantage of some of the contractors that we had been using with the skillsets that they had and the capacity they had,” Sprayberry said. “I found out that I didn’t have that authority.”
Sprayberry said he and he alone wrote the second memo but did not explain why he had Burk write the email in which it sounds as though the recommendation he signed off on had come from the committee. He also could not provide an explanation as to why he would try to steer a contract to a company that the evaluation committee found had not adequately performed under its current contract.