Council votes 4-1 to accept Manchac contract

District D Councilman Michael Roy (left) and District E Councilman Andy Pendergrass.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden City Council voted Monday to sign a contract that will allow Mayor Nick Cox to enter into a professional services agreement and task order between the City and Manchac Consulting Group.

The contract will allow the Baton Rouge-based company to pursue grants for the city.

“This is an engineering company that has had pretty good luck getting grants,” Cox said. “The agreement is capped at $50,000 and is not to exceed that amount over two years.”

Cox said the City added a “termination upon convenience” clause.

“In no way are they going to be running our public works or anything like that,” Cox said. “Our attorney has thoroughly reviewed it a number of times and says we are in good shape with the contract.”

With all councilpersons present, Monday’s vote was not unanimous. District D councilman Michael Roy had the one dissenting vote.

“It was a contract representing sidewalks,” Roy said. “I’m not sure how Manchac came to play for the City of Minden, but since then, looking at this contract it shows that we are not going to do just sidewalks, we are going to entertain all infrastructure projects.”

Roy said grant writing is not the reason for his opposition.

“We only met one time as a council and during my research, it has come to light that Manchac is not a very reputable company, in my opinion,” Roy said. “I have some personal relatives that have worked under Manchac and were asked to do things that are not ethical.

“I just don’t see that the City of Minden should put themselves into that situation, doing business as such,” he continued. “Personally, I think this should be tabled and we look at other options as far as different companies that do the same work. Then we can sit down as a group in workshop and decide what direction we go from there. At this time, I am totally against this contract.”

District E councilman Andy Pendergrass said he appreciates Roy’s candidness about the subject.

“In my discussions with and about Manchac with the gentleman we have servicing the City of Minden, things of that nature have been brought up,” Pendergrass said. “We’ve had multiple references that these gentlemen are top quality and have a track record of success in what we are pursuing.”

Pendergrass added he feels the mayor and attorney have “done a good job looking at our contract and making sure we have a termination clause, so if it’s not to our liking we can terminate the contract.”

Roy said he feels that by the time the contract is terminated, “we will have spent $50,000 on something we may get nothing out of. I just don’t think it’s prudent that we take the first company that we’ve looked at.”

Roy said he was basing his decision on talks with other engineers.

“I think we are getting ahead of the ballgame by going with the first company we find,” Roy said.