Baldwin-Whitehall School District security deal not unanimous
A new, three-year contract with the Baldwin-Whitehall School District's security firm comes as a gift, with the inclusion of a one-time, 2 percent increase in costs, the board president said.
Yet others had their concerns, after the district has been working under terms of an expired contract with AlliedBarton Security Services since 2005.
“And we're not going to put this out for public bid?” board member Martin Michael Schmotzer said at a meeting on Feb. 12. “I'm not going to support this.”
In 2008, the district gave the security firm, which provides eight security guards spread out between the middle and high school buildings, a 2 percent increase in rates. The district spent about $250,000 on security guards in the 2012-13 school year.
Board members in a 6-3 vote agreed to a three-year contract with AlliedBarton, based in Conshohocken, Montgomery County, for security services, that includes a 2 percent increase in rates. “If we are not dissatisfied with this service, I would be very cautious about going out to bid,” board President Larry Pantuso said. “This is a gift. I think we say, ‘Thank you,' and accept it.”
Board members Diana Kazour, Patricia Nixon and Schmotzer dissented.
Schmotzer warned his colleagues that they're walking on a “slippery slope” by accepting the contract. He said he doesn't think it qualifies as a professional service, and the district should seek proposals from other firms.
“I think you'd be hard pressed to say that a $10 per-hour employee is a professional service,” Schmotzer said. “I think you're really stretching the limits.”
School districts in Pennsylvania are not required to seek bids for professional services, business manager Mark Cherpak said.
For other purchases, they must advertise for bids or request proposals for any purchase greater than $19,300, and seek three written quotes for any purchase greater than $10,500, Cherpak said.
Past practice in Baldwin-Whitehall, though, has been to seek requests for proposals for such contracts, he said.
The new contract with AlliedBarton allows the district to exit the agreement with 30 days notice, without cause, Superintendent Randal Lutz said. If district leaders wanted to pursue requests for proposals to seek a lower cost, they still could do that while working under the new contract with AlliedBarton.
The contract also allows the district to add a security guard at each of the three elementary schools, as district officials have discussed, for the remainder of the year, at the given rate, Lutz said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Brentwood’s Noctis racing team makes final push for trip
- Overgrown trees leave Brentwood residents frustrated
- MRTSA staff able to train the ‘smart’ way with simulator
- Baldwin settles lawsuit for $7,500
- Baldwin Community Day to have something for everyone
- Baldwin Borough woman awarded $5K for damages to apartment
- Baldwin Borough pool closes for repairs, residents may use Brentwood pool