Breaking News Amplifier

Thursday, April 12, 2012

#Bid #Reform #Needed to #Eliminate #Massive #Debt in #Marshfield #School #System

"Marshfield School District administrators are not following district policies related to competitive bidding of projects, have mishandled funds, have lost or destroyed documents and are not answering legitimate requests for records.
These allegations were made by John Nikolai of the town of McMillan during the public comment period of the Marshfield Board of Education meeting Wednesday night...'The district has been operating according to our legal counsel and the general operations and procedures of the district,' she said. 'There has never been a misappropriation of funds. We go through exhaustive audits.'
The seven-member School Board is responsible for the oversight of the operations of the district administration, which is managed by Geegan.
Under new business on the agenda, board members discussed Nikolai's allegations...
Peg Geegan

About a year ago, Nikolai began requesting documents from the district office related to contracts for electrical work, he told the Marshfield News-Herald the end of February. As the owner of a local electric company, Nikolai wanted to understand where he could find the information to bid on upcoming electric projects, he said.
But his requests for information prompted more questions that he wanted answered, Nikolai said.
Both Geegan and Pat Saucerman, district finance director, instructed Nikolai to make requests for records following the state open records law, which outlines documents from taxpayer-funded entities that are available to the public.
After making his initial open records request in November, Nikolai received the documents Monday through email from the district office. Earlier documents sent to him had the hourly wages paid to electric workers redacted.
Pat Saucerman
'This wasn't right that they redacted the hourly wage rate. I should be able to see what that was -- anybody should be able to see that,' Nikolai said.
Bob Dreps, an attorney who often represents the Wisconsin Newspaper Association regarding open records and meetings law, agreed, 'The hourly wage shouldn't be redacted.' He said after bids are opened, anyone can look at the documents.
In a Marshfield News-Herald interview earlier in March, Saucerman said he and other officials at the district office were following the district policies.
'Mr. Nikolai has sent numerous emails with questions, which we have answered. We are supplying the records he requests through the law,' Saucerman said.
The wage rate paid was redacted to ensure that there is a competitive bidding process for contractors, Saucerman said. He added that this was based on attorney advice.
'In order to have a fair and competitive bidding process, it is necessary that the rates used for the current service contractors not be disclosed,' said Saucerman, adding that he needed to evaluate, or weigh, what information could be released that would not jeopardize future bidding.
Based on open record law, the recourse for a citizen is to take the issue to the county district attorney.
'I talked with (District Attorney John) Henkelmann and he contacted the (Wisconsin) Department of Justice office,' Nikolai said.
Monday Nikolai got copies of past invoices dating back to 2007 for electrical work done for the district without the hourly wage rate redacted.
He also received a copy of the correspondence from the school district's attorney to Geegan about the records sought by Nikolai.
'The Wood County District Attorney has consulted with the Wisconsin Attorney General Office and believes that the redacted information should be released at this time, but acknowledges the 'weighing process' that was undertaken by the School District of Marshfield when it responded on November 16, 2011,' according to the correspondence from the school district's attorney, Dean R. Dietrich of Ruderware in Wausau.
However, Nikolai said he has not received all of the documents he has requested.
The district is processing the remainder of his requests, Geegan said after the meeting. Some of the documents Nikolai has requested, the district doesn't have, she added.
The School Board approved a new Purchasing and Service Contract policy Wednesday night, which creates a more thorough procedure, Geegan said. Development of the new policy began in July, she said.
'The fact was that it needed to be tightened up,' Geegan said."

Source: Marshfield News-Herald

Attention:Marshfield School District Taxpayers

Submitted for your consideration:

 "1-2-3/A-B-C Plan"

1) The Marshfield School District is running an 8.4 MILLION DOLLAR "STRUCTURAL" DEFICIT over the next 3 school years NOT including the Middle School Options.
2) The Marshfield School Board RAISED TAXES.
3) The Marshfield School Board is considering moving 6th, 7th and 8th graders out of the current Middle School and has discussed the possibility of selling the historic property for ONE DOLLAR.

A) Audits, Accountability and Accessibility to our School Government
B) Bid Reform/Building Maintenance
(Restore the Structurally Sound, Historic Middle School)
and Balanced Budget/Borrowing Reform
(Policy of Short-Term Borrowing to Make Payroll Must Stop) 
C) Cuts, Caps and Cooperation with state budget reform

Please present at least 10 Competitive Bids 
on the work that needs to be done due to the lack of maintenance since I went there 30 years ago that show 5.5 million is needed. 

As can be seen in a recent editorial in Marshfield News-Herald, the School District of Marshfield has not allowed for competitive bids in construction projects since at least 2007. 

How much does that practice cost us? 
It is inaccurate to present propaganda that one option was "cheaper" than another without any competitive bids which Dan Helwig, architect, told the School Board could come in as low as 35-40% lower than what would be expected. 

Time to get back to the ABCs of of a good, responsible school government. 

and Accessibility 
to our school government. 
Bid Reform, 
Balanced Budgets and 
Building Maintenance 
is not being done whatsoever. Cuts, Caps in Spending and Cooperation with state budget 
reforms could get us there. 

The "D" that I am working on adding is Discrimination in hiring for construction and staff positions. We need a lot of work done there as well!

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