Colonial School Board Claimed in February that “Responsible Contractor” Policy Not Being Considered

Yesterday reported on concerns from a member of the Colonial School Board and a watchdog group about a “Responsible Contractor” policy being considered by the Policy Committee of the Colonial School Board.

What is interesting is that at a February 5th meeting of the Facilities Management and Transportation Committee Meetings, a parent asked if a “Responsible Contractors” policy was being considered. Here is the discussion from the minutes of the meeting (we added titles):

Mrs. Epstein (parent) spoke on “responsible contractors” being hired for the work on the projects. She asked the Board if they had been in discussion on this issue and they stated that they had not and asked where she had heard this rumor. Mrs. Patruno (parent) and Mrs. Saulino (parent) also said that they had heard the rumor but did not offer the source. Several Board members commented that they have not had any discussions involving a responsible contractor ordinance.

Board members in attendance that day were Eunice Franklin-Becker, Adam Schupack, Mel Brodsky, Felix Raimondo, Leslie Finegold, Sue Moore, Rosemary Northcutt and Jennifer Dow. The only member not present was Cathy Peduzzi.

What is also interesting is that on or about January 29th (so just before the meeting mentioned above), former Colonial School Board member Alan Tabachnick (D) commented on a article on the Colonial School Board. He wrote:

I would also suggest that the community watch out for the introduction of a Responsible Contractors Ordinance, or RCO, in the CSD. This was examined and discussed and evaluated thoroughly by the previous board, of which I was a member, and we decided, at the recommendation of our administration, not to adopt one. It was the right decision and the success of our PWHS renovation project supports that. Reintroducing this at this time would be most likely be politically motivated. Quality contracting, budget and schedule management, is the result of a strong administrative team and a proactive and thoughtful Facilities committee who can work with the talented staff at the CSD. Look at the PWHS project, and the gym, to see how well this was planned and executed. No reason to change a system that works extremely well and the students, staff, and community have benefited from. As with the Solicitor, why make a change? No reason to.

We reached out to Tabachnick, who no longer lives in the area, to inquire about the timing of the previous consideration of a “Responsible Contractor” policy and who on the Board introduced it. Tabachnick responded that it was considered in 2014 (maybe into 2015) and that he was actually the one who introduced it. He stated:

I was given information that this system worked well for certain municipalities and that it might be a good fit at Colonial. I met with Whitemarsh who was in favor, and did a lot of research. The administration was against it as was the majority of the board.

Tabachnick continued:

But it is one of the check marks for Union support and donations to campaigns that this policy is pushed.

So you have the person who introduced a “Responsible Contractors” policy about four years now warning against a new board adopting one.

More to come.