CATS contract leads to board finger-pointing

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Scrutiny could be a word to describe the Baton Rouge bus system's board meeting Tuesday night. It was a night of finger-pointing over whether a contract was awarded above-board.

"Dalton, the bylaws call for respect for all board members," said CATS board member Deborah Roe.

"I will respect him when he begins to respect me," said Dalton Honore.

The finger-pointing was over an IT contract with CATS.

Honore, who was named interim board president after Isiaah Marshall resigned July 25th, said the contract was meant to be temporary. But at Tuesday's meeting, board chair Jared Loftus said procedures were not followed when a specific contract was issued to CMC technology on May 22, 2013.

"At $4,200 a month, open-ended, no expiration, would put us around $50,000 a year, which means it should have come to the board, and we have not seen this contract yet," said Loftus.

E-mails show the former CATS Chief Financial Officer Gary Owens trying to bring the issue before the board twice - June 10th and July 3rd, but it never made it.

Instead, Honore said any contract less than $20,000, a CEO can sign off without the board's approval, claiming that's why it never went before the board.

But that's not all. Loftus said the contract needed two signatures, Honore and Owens, but the contract only had Honore's signature on it.

Owens said when Honore called him in and asked him to sign off on the CMC Technology contract, he suggested to Honore they needed bids and he had one from last year.

"That was for $2,600 a month," said Owens.

Honore said he took it upon himself to call Calvin Mills with CMC about providing IT services. So was Mills a friend?

"I would not characterize him as a friend. I will characterize him as someone I've known for years who performs IT services," said Honore.

The issue now will go back to the Finance and Executive committee for further investigation.

Also Tuesday night, Marston Fowler was elected to serve out Marshall's term. He will be board president until January.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.