Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Watkins Security gets another extension

Watkins Security, the controversial winner of the DCPS security bid, will apparently continue to provide that function through the end of the school year despite an audit finding that the company was both the most expensive and least qualified bidder.
School officials yesterday did not respond to a request for comment on the multimillion-dollar contract with Watkins Security, but the company yesterday confirmed that it has been retained through at least June.

"Naturally, Watkins Security's management and staff is quite pleased to remain until June," said Donna Henry, a spokeswoman for the company. "But it has been very challenging to work under such a constraining situation, with workers coming up and asking if they have to go find new jobs."

The contract to hire Watkins Security as the school system's security contractor has been under scrutiny after city auditors last summer found that school-system contracting officials and the D.C. Board of Education last year mishandled the contract.

According to the inspector general , school officials overpaid Watkins Security by as much as $8.8 million when they picked the firm over other bidders for a three-year, $45.6 million contract in 2003.

The inspector general found that a technical evaluation panel that reviewed contract proposals made basic math errors in its calculations and that a school board committee never approved the security agreement. [emphasis added]

Interim Inspector General Austin A. Andersen yesterday said his office is finishing two more reports that look into school security practices.
The District can't even field a "technical evaluation panel" that understands basic math, and people still wonder why DCPS is such a hornets nest of fraud, waste and abuse.

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