Editorial: School District contract doesn't make the grade

School District contract doesn't make the grade

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - School is out for the Summer, but the Dougherty County School Board is NOT making the grade! Specifically, the failure is by board members: James Bush, Dean Phinazee, and Milton "June Bug" Griffin.

These are the three buildings and grounds committee members, who recommended awarding a $4.2 Million contract to Dukes, Edwards, and Dukes, a local construction firm WITHOUT a bond, which is a standard protection, in case the contractor doesn't finish the job or meet other financial obligations.

Even worse, WALB has learned Dukes, Edwards, and Dukes, which is owned by state representative Winfred Dukes, was picked FIRST by that committee, despite the fact it ranked LAST on their own checklist of standards, and that the board knew the firm was unbonded.

Fortunately, three other board members voted down the recommendation, but the question remains: Why would any school board members, who we entrust with making the best decisions for Dougherty County's children and tax dollars, risk working with a company that could leave taxpayers on the hook for unpaid bills?

School Superintendent Kenneth Dyer says he is investigating, but it comes down to the firm's past performances.

"They put a lot of weight on the fact that they're local and that that partnership also worked with the College Career Academy, and they're currently finishing up the Magnolia Education Center successfully, so they put a lot of weight on that," Dyer said.

Sorry, but this answer doesn't pass the test! Why would some board members want a company that's in last place by their own criteria? We all remember when the board chose the last place candidate for superintendent Dr. Murphree, which was a disaster.

Why didn't other local companies, that ALSO have good reputations and past successful projects, get a fair shake? The bidding process should be EQUAL for all companies—  not based on ownership by a politician!

It's the job of the school board committee to make sure companies at the bottom of their list of standards are moved OUT, not moved UP!

And those members that don't, should be held responsible!

Bottom Line: Dougherty County Schools needs a board with OUR best interests at heart!

Dougherty County students and taxpayers deserve nothing less.

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