French Firm, Veolia, Wins Consulting Contract with St. Louis Water Division
On October 29 another "Outside assistance" memo named four companies being interviewed for the contract: Veolia Water, Siemens, Missouri American Water, and Johnson Controls. The memo reiterates the promise of no layoffs and public ownership of the utility.
Finally, a memo sent to staff on November 30 acknowledged Veolia Water as the winning bid (emphasis ours):
There were four keys to their selection:
1. A plan to accomplish our goals and complete without layoffs. They have significant staff capacity within the St. Louis area and will bring additional expertise to work locally to complete the evaluation in the first four months of the contract.
2. An integrated communications strategy for both the public and SLWD employees to share results that improve service, keep rates low and maintain water quality.
3. A strong, local MBE/WBE commitment.
4. They presented a plan to identify a number of cost savings, efficiency improvement and revenue generating ideas they felt they can implement quickly, such that within five years their work is complete and are no longer engaged with the water system operations.
When we called the mayor's office to verify the content of the memos, Rainford confirmed only one detail through a spokesperson: "Absolutely no layoffs." A follow-up call from the city was promised, but has yet to take place (we'll update when it does).
Records show that the Missouri Secretary of State's Office granted a business license to Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies North America on November 16, right around the same time that a spokesperson for Missouri American Water tells Daily RFT that it was turned down for the contract with the city's water division.
Despite the emphatic assurances of "no layoffs," sources in the department say rumors are persistent and Veolia is being eyed suspiciously by workers.
But jobs are not the only concern being raised over Veolia. The worker who provided the memos to Daily RFT says he is doing so because he doesn't believe the public is being properly informed about what's happening with the city's water supply.
Later this week on Daily RFT: Why watchdog groups warned St. Louis about Veolia two years ago and why they say we should be keeping a close eye on them now.
Read the original RFP below.
Update: Click through to page three to read internal memos from Curtis Skouby to the water division employees explaining the RFP and Veolia's new role in the department.