BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two of the four businesses that had previously submitted proposals to East Baton Rouge Parish to offer online driving courses made their pitches to Baton Rouge Metro-Council members Wednesday evening.
The first was Sharon Naim, the owner of a California company called Cyberactive, which according to parish attorneys, received the highest score.
"Not approving without a legally sound reason, to me, is just puzzling," said Naim.
The second was Don Luther, owner of Angelwood Driving School in Baton Rouge.
Luther and his attorneys had filed a protest of the process that awarded Cyberactive the highest score.
"I've employed people for the last 29 years here so it is personal to me and I do want it to be from this community," said Luther.
Councilman Trae Welch spoke in support of Luther's bid despite parish attorneys saying his proposal scored the lowest out of the four submitted.
"Our recommendation is to award the contract to Cyberactive," said one parish attorney.
"One of the people is already providing this service currently. They're already doing the online driving school and they're approved in all five courts here," said Welch.
Welch faced opposition from several other council members who questioned Angelwood's higher price for customers.
"On top of that we have this high cost to make the city rich and you're ok with that?" asked Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel.
"I certainly favor local business but I favor fairness," said Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards.
After several substitute motions, a motion awarding an executive contract to Cyberactive for an online driving program goes to vote. With an 8-3 vote, council awarded a five-year contract worth just under $3 million to Naim's company.
"I think I won the process fair and square and for a while I was very nervous that Baton Rouge had this appearance of impropriety and I thought how can these people be in each other's pockets like this it doesn't make sense but at the end of the day they all did the right thing and I think that's the most important thing," said Naim.