Board member argues administration either biased or incompetent; colleagues call on him to apologize
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — A school board member alleged Monday night that members of the administration are sabotaging efforts to get a fair look at outsourcing options for transportation, groundskeeping, janitorial and food service operations for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.
Dr. Paul Price claimed that it was a conflict of interest for the people “who stand to lose their jobs” if outsourcing is chosen to write the formal request for proposal, during Monday night’s combined work session/formal session of the Board of Education.
“When I read through these proposals, there’s almost nothing in the proposals about outsourcing,” Price said. Price, a retired dentist and investment counselor, who blogs about investing and writes for a paid site for TheStreet.com, suggested it was intentional and as a “professional writer” he felt that the RFPs were poorly written or that writing them were attempting to prevent outsourcing from being suggested.
Price’s comments were not met with anything like enthusiasm by his colleagues — and one member, who seemed to have an inking of what was coming prior to the meeting, mentioned to audience members that his opinion did not come close to representing that of the rest of the board. While Price spoke, numerous members of the board could be seen putting their faces in their hands, apparently upset over his comments.
“Each of these RPFs says in the very front that outsourcing is an option,” board vice president Frank Murphy said. Murphy later suggested that Price was “insulting” the people who work for the school district by suggesting either that they were either incompetent or unprofessional and called for his colleague to apologize.
Price was unrepentant and continued to argue he felt that there was a clear bias in the RFPs as presented.
“This is an efficiency study request,” Price said, saying what was written was biased outsourcing.
Board member Holly Manzone argued that bias issue with with Price — whom she suggested is pushing for outsourcing, regardless of the impact on service.
“Dr. Price is trying to put the bias in,” she said.
Other members said they thought the issue was properly addressed in the RFP.
“The language adequately addresses the question of outsourcing,” board member Jeff Lesier said.
“We’re not hiring them to go get bids,” board president Timotha Trigg said. “Without bids, there is a limit to what we can get without seeking bids.”
Price was pushed to offer concrete changes to the RFP, scheduled to go our by Dec. 17, and suggested he could have something in a week or two, which would be after that deadline.