Wednesday, September 12, 2012
We don't know.
So we decided to ask the Maryland State Board of Education.
Did the September 11, 2012, vote of the Montgomery County Board of Education to enter into 4 different transactions for a total of $14,541,477 without Requests for Proposals (RFPs), bids, or even contracts comply with Maryland procurement law?
We filed the following appeal on September 11, 2012.
September 11, 2012
Maryland State Board of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Re: Appeal of Montgomery County Board of Education Decision
Dear Members of the State Board of Education:
This letter appeals the September 11, 2012, decision of the Montgomery County Board of Education (Local Board) to approve Consent Agenda Item 4.4.1 of that date. (See Attachment A: Consent Agenda Item 4.4.1) This appeal is filed pursuant to Maryland law and regulations. This appeal is made by Janis Zink Sartucci, Agnes Jones Trower, and Louis Wilen (Appellants) to the Maryland State Board of Education (State Board). The appellants are Maryland state and Montgomery County residents.
The Maryland State Board of Education (State Board) can substitute its judgment for that of the Local Board because the Local Board’s action in approving Resolution 4.4.1 on September 11, 2012, was arbitrary, unreasonable, and illegal. The Local Board’s vote was contrary to sound educational policy and violated Maryland State law and Local Board Policy. A reasonable mind could not have reasonably reached the decision reached by the Local Board.
On September 11, 2012, the Local Board approved resolution 4.4.1 to spend $14.5 million dollars on four separate transactions without issuing Request for Proposals, without taking bids, and without obtaining contracts.
The Local Board action was for two purchases; $8,949,719 for 2,000 Promethean brand Interactive White Boards, and $5,591,758 for Cisco wireless networking; and, for financing with Dell Financial Services, LLC and Banc of America. In all, this Local Board action initiated four separate transactions without any Requests for Proposals, bids or contracts. Local Board failed to follow any of the requirements of Maryland procurement laws and regulations with regard to these four transactions. Local Board Resolution 4.4.1 of September 11, 2012 is in direct violation of Maryland State Procurement law.
Maryland State Procurement
Maryland State Procurement law (Title 21) Polices and Purposes are contained in 21.01.01.03 of the Code of Maryland. Local Board’s action violated the principal policies and purposes of these regulations by not following Maryland State procurement law. The Policies and Purposes of Maryland procurement law are:
.03 Policies and Purposes.
The principal policies and purposes of these regulations are to:
A. Provide for increased public confidence in the procedures followed in public procurement;
B. Ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all persons who deal with the procurement system of this State;
C. Simplify, clarify, and modernize the regulations governing procurement by this State;
D. Permit the continued development of procurement regulations, policies, and practices;
E. Provide increased economy in State procurement activities and to maximize to the fullest extent the purchasing power of the State;
F. Provide safeguards for the maintenance of a procurement system of quality and integrity;
G. Foster effective broad-based competition through support of the free enterprise system; and
H. Promote development of uniform procurement procedures to the extent possible.
Local Board Policy
Resolution 4.4.1 passed by Local Board on September 11, 2012, was introduced and voted on in one meeting in violation of Local Board’s policy on new business. Local Board did not vote to waive this policy.
Local Board Handbook Page 21
4. A new business item shall lie on the table until the next business meeting before being voted upon by the Board. This provision may be waived without notice if all members are present and there is unanimous agreement.
We ask that the September 11, 2012, vote of the Local Board be overturned, and that the Local Board be directed to put these two purchases and two financing agreements out for competitive bids in compliance with Maryland law.