OKLAHOMA CITY – Allegations are being leveled against a state agency, accusing that agency of wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
The Coalition for Competitive Public Construction was formed by about seven different companies who say the state’s Roof Asset Management Program, or RAMP, for short, is violating state law.
“This program right now is violating the state law by letting contracts on public construction for over $50,000,” Mark Nestlen said.
Nestlen represents the coalition.
He said state law requires any state project totaling more than $50,000 must be put out for public competitive sealed bid.
“I think people are just waking up and figuring out the fraud and abuse that’s being committed by the state agency against the taxpayers and the business people of the state of Oklahoma,” Nestlen said.
Roofing companies bid to be a part of RAMP for five years and then any state entity needing a new roof or repairs can go through the program.
There are currently only two companies in the program and critics said projects cost excessively more compared to competitively bid ones.
“It’s a huge waste of taxpayers money,” Denver Green said, President of Saratoga Roofing & Construction. “I hate to see the amount of schools that use the program when we have issues with funding our schools.”
Gerry Shepherd is the president of Oklahoma Roofing, one of the companies under RAMP.
He said the program provides higher standards.
“When it was done under the same high standards that the state requires in this program, it came out to a wash,” Shepherd said. “It was not higher when it’s done that way. If you put it out for bid and lessen the requirements on the bid, then certainly you can get a cheaper roof and that will happen at times.”
RAMP officials deny they’re breaking the law and said the program is saving tax payers money in the long run.
“We think it’s important to get the best quality roof at the lowest price,” John Estus said, spokesperson for RAMP. “And if we ever thought this program wasn’t providing that, we would be the first people to abandon this program.”
Estus said the program saves time and money to those using it and points out that it is completely voluntary.
No state entity ever has to use the program.
There is a bill making its way through the senate that would regulate the RAMP program.
Representatives with the coalition said, if that bill is not successful, they plan to file an injunction against the program.