A legislative joint committee PEER report is questioning some of the Department of Education’s Contracts.
“As a senator, it alarmed me that the contracts, they didn’t pass the smell test,” said Senator Gary Jackson. “They appeared to have been split up. Now, I know that the answer to that was that because of magic, our computer system, had so many codes and we addressed that in the PEER report under recommendations.”
Jackson, who is also a member of the PEER committee, said PEER found that some of the contracts were split to seemingly avoid going through proper channels and that some of the contracts which were split, went to acquaintances of Dr. Carrie Wright, the state Superintendent.
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“As senators and representatives, it raised more questions than it really answered by her responses,” said Jackson. “It seemed to be blaming it all on the computer system with so many various codes and it also seemed to be blaming it on the various personnel under Dr. Wright who were putting in different codes for these contracts and she also stated that they were different services which the PEER committee report did not agree with.”
James Barber, Executive Director of the PEER committee said the MDE paid vendors for services that well surpassed the purchasing thresholds.
“The committee found that the MDE entered into multiple contracts in fiscal years 2014-2016 having apparent similarities in the scope of work and for amounts that collectively exceeded bid thresholds, rather than competitively bidding contracts for such services,” said James Barber, Executive Director of the PEER committee.
PEER recommended that the State Auditor Review the findings of their case study. Jackson said that the State Auditor’s office has picked up the case and will begin their audit process of the MDE.
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