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2013-476
Opinion Type
Advisory Opinion
Docket Number
2013-476
Requesting Party
Leslie Ellison
Vice President, Orleans Parish School Board
Parties Involved
Ellison Builders LLC
Recovery School District
Phyllis Wheatley
Eleanor McCain High School
Gibbs Construction LLC
Jacobs-CSRS
Orleans Parish School Board
Agency at Issue
Orleans Parish School Board
Decision Date
5/17/2013
Law
1113
1112
1114
1120
Caption
Ms. Leslie Ellison, Vice President of the Orleans Parish School Board, requested an advisory opinion regarding Ellison Builders, LLC which is a company owned by Ms. Ellison's brother, may enter into a subcontract with the Orleans Parish School Board.
Ethics Subject Matters
Participation
Disclosure - Other
Prohibited Contracts
Recusal
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STATE OF LOUISIANA
'` !'pE i.oujs.. DEPARTMENT OF STATE CIVIL SERVICE
44 . y; LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
r. Ir` „' P. O. BOX 4368
l`��s ; BATON ROUGE, LA 70821
` e t - imeo o' (225) 219 -5600
y.. °' FAX: (225) 381 -7271
1- 800 - 842 -6630
www.ethics.state.la.us
May 23, 2013
Ms. Leslie Ellison
Vice President, Orleans Parish School Board
3520 General De Gaulle Drive
New Orleans, LA 70114
RE: Board Docket No. 2013 -476
Dear Ms. Ellison:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics at its May 17, 2013, Board meeting considered your advisory opinion request
regarding whether Ellison Builders. L.L.C. (Ellison Builders) a company owned by your brother, may enter
into subcontract with companies who were awarded contracts with the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB)
and /or the Recovery School District (RSD), while you serve as a member of the Orleans Parish School
Board. Your brother owns the general commercial construction company, Ellison Builders. The company
may be hired as a subcontractor to perform work on the following school construction projects in Orleans
Parish: 1.) The Phyllis Wheatley new school construction ( "the Wheatley Project ") and 2.) The Eleanor
McCain High School new gymnasium ( "the McCain Project "). The Wheatley Project was bid out and
awarded to Gibbs Construction, L.L.C., by the RSD. The McCain Project was bid out and awarded to Ellis
Construction, Inc., by the OPSB.
To the best of your knowledge and belief you state that the Gibbs contract for the Wheatley Project is
supervised by RSD administrators in conjunction with the RSD's project manager, Jacobs -CSRS. Likewise,
the McCain Project is supervised by OPSB administrators in conjunction with the OPSB's project manager,
Jacobs -CSRS. The OPSB and the RSD issue payment to their general contractors for work performed, while
each general contractor is responsible for paying its subcontractors. Neither the RSD nor the OPSE3 pays
subcontractors d irectly.
For the Board's review, you would like to point out that Ellison Builders is a certified Disadvantaged
Business Enterprise (DBE). Both the OPSB and the RSD have instituted DBE programs that require general
contractors to put forth a good faith effort to retain qualified DBE's as subcontractor's on their projects.
Pursuant to these DBE programs, both the OPSB and the RSD monitor the general contractors' compliance
with the established DBE goal. Failure to establish a good -faith effort to comply with the established goal
may be cause for termination of the general contract. Also, both the OPSB and the RSD may refer general
contractors to a list of DBE's that are certified by public bodies or agencies external to the OPSB and the
RSD (e.g. the City ofNew Orleans or the Louisiana Unified Certification Program) in order to assist general
contractors in their efforts to meet their DBE goals.
Finally, it should be noted that while the OPSB is the elected school board for the entire Parish of Orleans,
it does not have any jurisdiction whatsoever over the RSD or any RSD contracts. The RSD is an
intermediate educational unit which falls under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Department of Education.
In light of the foregoing, you request the Board's advice on the following:
1.) Is your brother's company, Ellison Builders, L.L.C., precluded from entering into
subcontracts with general contractors hired by the OPSB or the RSD, pursuant to R.S.
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER