(Updated story posted May 16, 2022 5:30 p.m.)
SHREVEPORT, La. – Within an hour of posting a story about the city’s denial of copies of two proposals for management of the city’s swimming pools and the names of those who evaluated them, KTBS received the information.
(See original story below)
The city attorney had previously told KTBS the information would not be released because the contract had not been signed. The city’s spokeswoman confirmed today a contract still has not been signed.
City employees who evaluated the proposals from Rock Solid and USA Management include: Monique Reece, confidential secretary; Joseph Cornelius, recreation supervisor II; and Shalon Lewis, lead superintendent of athletics. All work for Shreveport Parks and Recreation.
The three scored Rock Solid low with only in “qualifications of project personnel” and the “ability to commit a capable staff and support for a project of this size under the time constraints.” For example, Reece gave USA Management 45 points, compared to 20 for Rock Solid, which led to a total of 58 out of 100 for Rock Solid and 93 out of 100 for USA Management.
Lewis gave Rock Solid zero points in the category of “demonstrated understanding of the problems and needs presented by the project,” while USA Management was given the maximum of 5 points. Lewis also gave Rock Solid only 5 of 20 points for equipment, compared to 18 of 20 for USA Management. Overall, Lewis’ scores were the lowest for Rock Solid at 31 out of a possible 100; USA Management, 74.
Cornelius gave the highest points overall, with 90 for Rock Solid and 95 for USA Management. He docked Rock Solid 10 points in the “qualifications” category but only took off 5 points for USA Management.
KTBS reviewed the personnel information included in each proposal. USA Management’s document – which included 91 pages and color photographs – states once the city decides to hire the company, its “fulltime management team will spring into action.”
USA Management cites 35 years of experience and lists the names of five people will be on the operations team. Included are a vice president of corporate operations from Georgia, a general manager/HR who oversees the sales, service and operations team, a service manager, an account manager and corporate instructor.
In its 35-page proposal that was void of colorful diagrams and photographs, Rock Solid lists its personnel as the executive director, the general manager of pools and training and administrative director.
Rock Solid included information about maintenance of the pool, strengths and weaknesses of the program, scope of work, pool hours, along with all other required signed and dated documents.
There was also a letter – Why Rock Solid? – that detained the tragic drownings of six Shreveport teenagers in August 2010 that led to Rock Solid’s Project Swim and over 18,000 free swimming lessons.
USA Management has as one of its red-letter assertions in its proposal, “USA Management can guarantee NO drownings.” It makes the claim by having swimmers wear wristbands that detect possible drowning by monitoring abnormal depth then sends an alarm. “No swimmer will be left unnoticed,” the document states.
USA Management included information about its marketing plan, objectives, consumer insights, examples of pool safety zones at the city’s pools, community involvement, aquatic and fitness programs, facility software, and signed documents required by the city.
(Original story posted May 16, 2022 12:24 p.m.)
SHREVEPORT, La. – Three Shreveport city employees who evaluated two proposals for operating the city’s swimming pools this summer rated the longtime manager much lower than an out-of-state company set to get the contract.
The evaluators scored Rock Solid Athletic Club low on the category of “qualifications of project personnel” and “ability to commit a capable staff and support for a project of this size under the time constraints listed” in the request for proposals.
Some also low-balled Rock Solid on “equipment” and “understanding of the problems and needs presented by the project.”
All that’s despite Rock Solid’s 13-year run as the swimming pools’ manager. 
The city instead is giving the contract to Atlanta, Ga.-based USA Management, which manages locations around the country.
Rock Solid’s score on the evaluation was 179 compared to 262 for USA Management.
KTBS wanted to compare proposals submitted by Rock Solid and USA Management against the evaluation criteria to see what information each company offered. However, requests for those proposals have been denied so far.
KTBS also asked for the names of the city evaluators. Evaluation criteria forms were provided in response to a public records request Wednesday, but the names were redacted.
Shreveport attorney Joseph Woodley, who oversees public records requests for the city, told KTBS he did not provide a copy of the proposals “as it is the position of the city of Shreveport that the proposals are not public record until a contract is entered into.”
And as for the names of the evaluators, Woodley said, “The City objects to providing the names of the committee members until such time as a contract is executed. There is not yet a confected contract.”
KTBS has objected to the withholding of the information and on Friday re-urged the request, asking the city to cite the state law it thinks is applicable to the denial of the station’s records request. No immediate response has been provided.
RFP PROCESS
The city advertised a RFP (request for proposals) in March, seeking interested parties to manage Airport Park, Bill Cockrell, David Raines, Southern Hills and Querbes swimming pools with an annual estimated expenditure of $125,000. Deadline for submission was April 14. Rock Solid and USA Management were the only bidders.
Emails were exchanged between the city and the two companies in April about amendments to the RFP that included additional questions. Questions ranged from the price of pool chemicals, to number of swimmers last year, to the number of lifeguards needed.
On April 25, Shelley McMillian, owner of Rock Solid, emailed Angela McNicoll, the city’s senior buyer, asking when she would know if she got the bid on the pools.
“I know the work it takes to get them up and running so I’m trying to stay prepared,” McMillion wrote in emails the city did provide to KTBS.
On May 3, McMillion again asked the city if she got the bid, saying, “I am getting nervous about the pools and staffing and certifying everyone. Do you have news yet on who got the bid?”
The emails provided by the city do not reflect an answer to McMillion’s question.
The evaluations were signed on May 4.
Thursday, emails between the city and Alison Abbott of USA Management included a question by the city about when USA Management would begin its hiring process for lifeguards. A response from Abbott stated, “No hiring can legally be started until contracts are in place.”
‘SHOCKED’ and “CONFUSED”
McMillian told KTBS in an interview last week she was “shocked” and “confused” by the apparent loss of the city contract. In addition to running the city’s pools, she’s led Project Swim, which has taught thousands of kids to swim – free of charge.
The issue was not about money, she said, since the contract amount was the same rate of $125,000 to handle staffing, equipment and operations. But she suspected she may have lost out because of a minority participation factor in the application process. Still, McMillian said racial minorities are among her staff of 80 who was ready to go to work in early June.
Then on Thursday, McMilliam said in a social media post it’s possible she lost the contract because of meeting she attended where mayoral candidate Mario Chavez was also attendance. Chavez has announced his intent to challenge Mayor Adrian Perkins.
The day after was when the evaluations were done.
“Pretty simple evaluations yet we got hammered by not knowing how to run programs that we created,” wrote McMillian.
City Councilman John Nickelson said in his own social media post that he and Councilman Grayson Boucher have asked the purchasing department for its complete file on the contract.
“After we have received and reviewed that information, we will be in a position to identify and address any deficiencies in the selection process,” he wrote.
Like Nickelson, Boucher said on his Facebook page he’s received numerous emails, calls and messages about the “abrupt change” to the pools’ management. He said there was no discussion between the mayor and council.
“I sincerely apologize to Rock Solid for the way this was handled. A 13-year relationship with the city deserves more than an email stating you’re out and an out-of-town company is in. Employees have been hired for the summer and I’m sure lots of work has already gone into getting everything ready for swimmers,” Boucher said.
He added: “I support local, especially local non-profits. Rock Solid has helped so many children in our community and has been a valuable partner to the city. I just don’t understand why this happened and I surely don’t understand how it happened.”

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