Wednesday, July 18, 2018

MABE Partner Milestone Communications has Contract Thrown Out in Virginia

Remember that in Maryland hundreds of thousands of education dollars a year go to pay the dues of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE).  MABE partners with no bid vendors like Milestone Communications and provides those vendors exclusive access to Board of Education members at meetings and at their annual event in Ocean City, MD. 

...The contract refers to the School Board as “Owner” of the public school property being offered as potential tower sites, as the Board is empowered to enter into contracts involving school land. However, the agreement was signed by Dean Tisdadt, former Chief Operating Officer of the school division who retired in June, instead of by a representative of the School Board. Though Tisdadt often signed contractual documents in the course of county business, in this case he had not been authorized to do so by the School Board in a formal vote, and thus was not a valid signatory on the contract...
...Since the agreement did not go before the School Board for approval, most Board members were not aware of the agreement’s existence even as they deliberated over the proposed cell towers at Albemarle High School and Western Albemarle High School over the last two years. “I certainly did not know of any marketing agreement with Milestone,” said School Board member David Oberg, who represents the White Hall district. As the Board has already approved the proposed WAHS cell tower, that plan will continue on to the Board of Supervisors for consideration this fall...
...In addition, a confidentiality clause in the agreement barring disclosure of its terms and conditions to any third parties meant that local school officials, parents, and owners of neighboring property had little chance of learning about its existence. Indeed, even Charlottesville attorney Lori Schweller, tasked with representing Milestone at the Crozet Community Advisory Committee public meeting about the WAHS tower, was unaware of the agreement.
The proposed WAHS tower site was approved by the School Board last year, though it was not recommended for approval by the Planning Commission at its June 26 meeting, due to zoning ordinance violations and in deference to the county’s Architectural Review Board, which also did not recommend approval. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and discussion of requested special use permits related to the project at its meeting September 12.

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