DMR looking for a firm to help with CIAP program

jphampton@sunherald.comJuly 12, 2013 

Miller

JOHN FITZHUGH — SUN HERALD Buy Photo

The state Department of Marine Resources is looking for help in closing out the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.

Nearly $100 million in CIAP money came to the state. Most of that was administered by the DMR, which was roundly criticized in an audit released this summer by the Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General for its handling of the money. That audit suggested several ways the DMR should tighten its control over CIAP-funded projects; some of those recommendations the DMR has implemented.

CIAP money -- hundreds of millions of dollars -- comes from offshore oil leases and is divided among the six states that have oil production off their shores.

The DMR, in an ad this week, seeks "proposals for management, administration and closeout assistance" for the CIAP program.Elizabeth Barber of Barber and Mann -- a firm in Ridgeland that specializes in land appraisals, land planning, conservation planning and real estate development -- had been managing the program. Her contract with the DMR expired at the end of June.

DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said the description in the ad is similar to the work Barber did.

"It's described the same but we're looking for much more capacity than just an individual," he said. "We're going to look for a full management firm to help with compliance and closeout."

He said he hopes to have a firm selected in August.

The DMR had 105 CIAP projects, some of which are ongoing but must be finished by 2016.

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