More government waste. More outrage. You decide.
Steve Manser, president of Simon Roofing and Sheet Metal of Youngstown, Ohio, which was awarded an initial $10 million contract to begin “Operation Blue Roof” in New Orleans, acknowledged that the price his company is charging to install blue tarps could pay for shingling an entire roof.
The government is paying contractors an average of $2,480 for less than two hours of work to cover each damaged roof — even though it’s also giving them endless supplies of blue sheeting for free.
“This is absolute highway robbery and it really does show that the agency doesn’t have a clue in getting real value of contracts,” said Keith Ashdown, vice president for Taxpayers for Common Sense.
As many as 300,000 homes in Louisiana may need roof repairs, and as the government attempts to cover every salvageable roof by the end of October, the bill could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
The amount the government is paying to tack down blue tarps, which are designed to last three months, raises major questions about how little taxpayers may be getting for their money as contractors line up at the government trough for billions of dollars in repair and reconstruction contracts.
Simon Roofing, the Shaw Group of Baton Rouge, La., and LJC Construction Co. of Dothan, Ala. — the government’s three prime blue-roof contractors in Louisiana — have spent millions to lease hotels, hire catering companies and set up computer databases to track and bill the government for their work.
“When you have 400 or 500 people staying out of town, you’re paying a whole lot more overhead than you normally do,” Manser said. “I couldn’t imagine being paid any less, well, scratch that, I guess I could. People will do a lot to get work.”
Sheesh- Even I could do this and I sure could use the money. Maybe we should use the Katrina- Rita opportunity to make a quick buck and get some of our taxes back the FEMA way.
Waste not. Want not. Where did I read the duct tape suggestion? Wasn’t that after 9/11? I hope these tarps have a silver lining.