Djou probe misguided, transit agency declares
City Councilman Charles Djou apparently did not understand the procurement process when he challenged a city contract awarded to study mass transit alternatives, a federal official said.
"It is clear also that you misunderstand the requirements applicable to the city's procurement of these professional services," said Sandra Bushue, deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, in a Sept. 25 letter to Djou.
Djou had asked for an investigation into the awarding of a public relations contract to a political supporter of Mayor Mufi Hannemann's.
Bushue's letter is a follow-up to an August letter the transit administration had sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general.
In the first letter, the FTA found that the city had not violated the federal procurement code when substituting Community Planning and Engineering for other public relations subcontractors, including Communications Pacific Inc.
Community Planning and Engineering is headed by Joe Pickard, a friend and political ally of the mayor.
Djou had questioned how Pickard's company got the subcontract without having gone through the evaluation process before the $9.7 million general contract was awarded to Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc.
The latest letter from Bushue to Djou reiterates the FTA's determination that the city did nothing wrong in awarding the contract to Parsons Brinckerhoff and that there was no evidence that "political connections" played a role in the change of subcontractors.
The award was "strictly in accordance with these principles. Likewise, the award of the subcontract to CP&E was consistent with the pertinent Federal and State rules," Bushue's letter said.
In response, Djou said the FTA was relying on state procurement rules, which a state court has found apply only to a general contractor, and not a subcontractor. The issue is now before the state Supreme Court as part of a lawsuit filed by Communications Pacific.
"I wished there could've been a third-party review of this whole thing that did not get caught up in the legal minutiae, which I again respect," Djou said. "In my opinion, they did not look at the substance of what had happened. Instead, they looked at the technical aspect of it."