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Stormy weather at the Governor's Energy Office

The Governor's Energy Office will consider a protest by a nonprofit agency into the state's decision to award a $9 million weatherization grant to a rival organization.

Rocky Mountain SER, which provides training and jobs for disadvantaged segments of the population, complained after GEO announced on December 1 that it had given the grant to Veterans Green Jobs. The money is part of a three-year, $80 million package that the state is supposed to use to weatherize 10,000 homes for low-income people.

Rocky Mountain SER complained at a December 18 public hearing and in a letter to GEO director Tom Plant, saying his office had skipped the public-comment portion of the bid process, and that their organization had offered to weatherize 2,400 homes in Denver and Jefferson County rather than the 1,700 in the Veterans Green Jobs bid. The group has hired an attorney, as Westword reported last week.

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Plant says he will review the transcript from that public hearing on January 4 and respond to it on January 8. "We take the concerns raised at the hearing all into consideration If an issue has merit, we consider it in final selection."

Typically, public hearings are held after a finalist is picked in case someone protests, he says. But in the past, "no one has every showed up a public hearing. The preliminary selection has always been the actual section," he explains. Still, Plant acknowledged that his office shouldn't have issued the announcement before the process was complete. "It's not final until we have that hearing."

Plant pointed out that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - which provide the weatherization funds - "has injected a lot of money into the program, so there is a lot on the line, and we are seeing added investment by different candidates."

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