Decision on management of Mississippi DMR's CIAP program expected Tuesday

jphampton@sunherald.comSeptember 13, 2013 

BILOXI -- The state Personal Service Contract Review Board will vote Tuesday on the Department of Marine Resources recommendation for a firm to manage its Coastal Impact Assistance Program.

"We have made a selection and made a recommendation to the State Contract Review Board," DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said. "That recommendation will go before the board Tuesday and they will ratify that … then we'll go to actually contracting with a program management firm."

The DMR received three proposals for the contract.

The DMR is in the process of closing out the program, which brought $100 million to the state. The state has 105 CIAP projects. Some of them are ongoing but must be finished by 2016.

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 administers the program for the state.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers it for the federal government.

Both were criticized roundly by the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General for lax oversight of the program that led to "widespread conflicts of interest."

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.

This time, Miller said he wants to hire a full management firm.

The agency could be close to hiring a chief financial officer as well.

"We're getting close to making some offers for a chief financial officer," Miller said. Thirty-five people applied through the state Personnel Board.

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