Board Meeting Thoughts from Last Night

OK.. I have to say I asked for this. I remember sitting around Judge Hardy Mayes conference table with other parties to the lawsuit a couple of years ago hashing out the terms of an agreement for consolidation. One of the central pieces was preservation of current board members and 7 appointed members to represent all of Shelby County creating a 23 member board. In order to tilt the board suburban, I agreed.

SO fast forward to last night: AS I listen to Sara Lewis rant about a conspiracy, Patrice Robinson castigate our staff, and Martavious Jones throw up monopoly numbers, for the 100th time, I regretted cutting that deal.

Last night’s board meeting was tough. It was filled with drama. It was filled with unethical, dirty underhanded tricks from vendors. It was filled with insanity and sanity. However, at the end of the day, we protected educational services in the county by restructuring our custodial and benefits packages to generate cost saving in the area of 28-30 million.

These were not easy decisions. They were hard.These are people’s lives we are dealing with. However, our old SCS board was used to making these hard decisions. The old MCS board hung these decisions on the back of the quality education for all of their students.

It has become clear to me as I spend more time in this system that it can be so much better. And you will see as our board contracts and as we begin to lay out a 10 year strategy that we can fix the inefficient, jobs-centric entity known as the MCS.

The final thought from last night that struck me was the entry of Aramark at the last second by making a public plea before board members that they would match the GCA bid for contract services. We use a closed bid process with a scoring matrix to choose the vendor bringing integrity to the process and leveling the playing field to get the best bid. Once Aramark saw the bid, they stood up and promised to match it and also invest 14 million back in the community.

Obviously, they influenced the board and now the staff has been asked to get lowest bid from both Aramark and GCA. What Aramark did was dirty and totally outside of our board process. I will not vote for them even if they are lowest bid because they sacrificed the integrity of the process. Who’s to say that they would not screw us if they get a chance?

We are making progress… Slowly but surely..  But it can be directly attributed to the decision that we made with the judge 2 years ago.

And he may be ready to fix it…


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