FEMA has issued a major Request for Information (RFI) for all shipping, transportation, logistics, and delivery for disaster aid in response to Hurricane Maria. The award would be a mega-contract whose total value may exceed $100 million. This single vendor will be the critical link in the delivery of $1 billion in disaster aid.
Why Is This a Problem?
FEMA intends to entrust to a single vendor end-to-end responsibility to manage the distribution life sustaining resources for Puerto Rico and USVI for the next 12 months. Our concerns with this strategy:
FEMA tried to escape media and public scrutiny by issuing the RFI before the Thanksgiving long weekend with a due date of of Weds 11/29 at 10am
FEMA intends to bypass local business and NGO participation despite the success of innovative local and NGO teams like those led by Jose Andres and Lin Manuel Miranda.
What Else Is Wrong With FEMA’s Plans?
Additional, FEMA’s proposed work statement includes no provisions that many of us have come to expect:
No local preference for hiring or subcontracting
No prevailing wage provision or documentation for the contractor or subcontractors
No open data to improve transparency on the delivery of life sustaining resources
No community engagement or communication with local business, government, or NGOs
No public participation in setting quality standards or reviewing overall performance
What Is the Ask?
A coalition of civil society groups has jointed together to organize small business to respond to the RFI before the due date of Weds, Nov 29 at 10am. We are continuing to collect responses from small business and the general public at our website http://www.rebuildpr-rfi.org.
Do I Need to Be an Expert?
Anyone is welcome to share their view FEMA: small business, nonprofits, good government advocates, private citizens. We are expanding the opportunity to participate by overcoming the technical hurdles of responding to the RFI. We have provided a simple web form that led participants through a series of simple plain language questions and automatically sent the response to the FEMA contracting officer.
Why Does This Matter?
We believe the FEMA RFI is an open invitation to state on record that the FEMA must pursue a community-driven model for delivery of life sustaining aid throughout Puerto Rico & USVI. As an RFI, FEMA is compelled to incorporate well reasoned and informed responses into its final plans.
The coalition believes that FEMA’s final performance work statement must:
Ensure that life sustaining resources reach people in need
Achieve line-of-sight into the flow/quality of recovery aid through the principles of open data
Retain jobs and economic value in PR
Support local businesses and economic sustainability
Build the foundation for sustainable, local based, long term Federal recovery investment in Puerto Rico
Provide the best value to US taxpayers
What Is in the RFI
FEMA solicitation RFI #70FA301BR00000008 was an invitation for comment on the agency’s plans for delivery of life sustaining resources for disaster recovery. This includes water, meals, cots, tarps, plastic sheeting, blankets, sandbags, generators, and fuel.
Specific services that FEMA intends to single source include:
Local delivery to distribution points including towns where “roads are blocked or destroyed”
“Consolidation...and warehousing for storage” in Puerto Rico & USVI
Transition into existing shipping of “an average of 300 containers daily”
Cross dock/freight forwarding...of FEMA life-saving resources”
Specialized containers (20’x40’) and trucks (flatbeds, lowboys, refrigerated)
Air transportation for “time sensitive deliveries”
Vendors in these areas are urged to provide technical information about their firm’s capabilities and interest in bidding on this work at http://bit.ly/smallbizprofile.
Everyone is encouraged to review the RFI itself (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=b46546785bc575f0a8b99415b035f570&tab=core&_cview=1) for additional details about FEMA's proposed strategy.