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Common Council and Board of Education attempt to get on the same page

cross post from HatCityBLOG

With questions lingering regarding school administration’s concessions, as well as the decision making behind the latest copy machine contract, yesterday, members of the Board of Education addressed these concern with members of the Common Council at their first meeting before the start of the school season. In a meeting which became a bit testy at times, last night was an opportunity for elected officials from the board and Common Council to get on the same page.



Common Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi questions Lewis Brey, Director of Human Resources about the terms of the school administrator concessions

As noted in previous posts, Minority Leader Tom Saadi has been vocal about his concerns regarding the recent concessions made by the school administrators:

From the News-TImes article dated 07.28.09

School administrators who agreed to take two unpaid furlough days as a contract concession could have done more, according to at least one city official.

Common Council Minority Leader Thomas Saadi has asked representatives of the school district to attend an upcoming council meeting to address the issue.

“I don’t want to drag anyone into an inquisition,” Saadi said. “I just want to get some answers to questions people have been asking me.”

He questioned how the giveback, which amounted to an estimated total savings of about $40,000, equated to about 1 percent of the administrators’ total salaries, as school officials said last month.

“I would also like to know why there wasn’t a give back of an actual pay increase,” Saadi said. “The teachers stepped up and actually gave back a percentage of their raises. The teachers stepped up and the supervisors didn’t.”

From last night’s meeting BOE meeting, here’s footage of the conversation between Saadi and members of the board.



Elio Longo, Director of Finance points to the terms of the
Request for Proposal document with Common Council member Benjamin Chianese.

The recent decision of the board to deny a $900,000 copy-machine contract to a company in Bethel to operation based in Middletown, although the winning bid was 100,000 higher than the local company, has caught the attention of the public.

From the News-Times article dated 07.24.09

The owner of a Bethel copy company is furious that Danbury school officials awarded a $900,000 copy-machine contract to another bidder.

Mike Boyle, president of Base Technologies in Bethel, said his bid was rejected although it was $100,000 lower than the winner, who’s had the contract for the past four years.

The contract is worth $232,000 a year for four years, for a total of about $928,000.

School officials said Boyle’s bid did not satisfy all the specifications listed in the Request for Proposal document.

The Board of Education discussed the bids behind closed doors at its meeting July 22 and voted to award the contract to A and A Office Equipment in Middletown.

“We took a look at eight vendors and there were price differentials among all eight, as well as differences in the machine specs that they were giving us,” Danbury schools finance director Elio Longo said Friday.

“Of the bidders, not all met specifications. According to the bids that are public, Base Technologies did not bid to specs on all the aspects of the RFP.”

Boyle said he’s written to Superintendent Sal Pascarella and members of the Danbury Common Council, who must approve the multi-year contract, to have them look at the contract.

“We knew we didn’t meet the specs for one of the 62 machines, but I told him if he didn’t accept the alternative I would give him the exact same machine he had spec-ed, and he told me he would get back to me,” Boyle said.

Based on concerns raised by Base Technologies to the media and Common Council, the issue surrounding the decision making behind the copier contract was also addressed.


Danbury Public Schools Request for proposal: Full digital multifunctional devices (Download: pdf file)