School Board awards contract for fiscal auditor services

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

RESERVE — The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board recently awarded a three-year contract for fiscal auditor services to The Port CPA and Business Advisors during a special meeting at the Godchaux Grammar cafeteria.

The contract includes $85,000 for standard audit services, which decreases to $80,000 in 2022 and 2023, in addition to $24,000 for certain agreed-upon audit procedures for 12 schools.

The total yearly cost comes in at less than last year’s cost, which was $134,000.

School Board accountant Janice Gauthier shared that a request for proposal for the fiscal auditor contract was sent out following the November 14 School Board meeting. However, only one proposal was received from The Port CPA and Business Advisors, and it was deemed nonresponsive.

“It was nonresponsive because it was sent through an email,” Gauthier said. “The RFP stated that it should be uploaded on Central bidding, dropped off to the Central Office, on or before 1 p.m. December 17, 2021.”

After consulting with the District Attorney’s Office, Gauthier said the School Board has some discretion to dispense with the formalities associated with public bid law and award the contractor to the sole bidder. However, if another proposer were to fully meet the requirements, the hypothetical entity could protest the award.

Having only one bidder left the School Board between a rock and a hard place, as Board member Debbie Schum said the vendor’s failure to follow the rules of the application causes her to question their ability.

Board member Gerald Keller asked about The Port CPA and Business Advisors’ references. Gauthier responded that the company’s work experience includes but is not limited to the East Carroll Parish School Board, the Capital Area Planning Commission, the Town of Madison, the Livingston Parish Council and the St. Tammany Parish Library.

After Board President Nia Mitchell-Williams asked about the terms of cancelling the contact, Gauthier confirmed that the School Board has the power to terminate the contractor is not satisfied with the services provided.
The motion to award the contract passed with six yeas, five absent.