Tube City Almanac

November 22, 2012

Board Wants 'Fresh Eyes' to Examine Contracts

Category: News || By Jennifer Sopko

A call for "fresh eyes" to review "construction matters" in the McKeesport Area School District did not pass without controversy.

At October's meeting, the school board discussed at length a motion to authorize an outside law firm to investigate district construction projects, although school directors declined to specify publicly what matters were in question, citing the potential for litigation.

School Director Trisha Gadson called for "fresh eyes" from a third party to review what she called certain matters that have come to the board's attention over the past weeks, citing an "increased level of concern on behalf of the community." The firm she recommended, The Law Offices of Ira Weiss, specializes in education and municipal law, including construction litigation.

Gadson said she initiated the motion to seek counsel of someone not connected to the district for a "separate and objective opinion" on the matters under discussion.

"We're asking for additional assistance on something that could cause the taxpayers a great deal of money," she said.

Board members were concerned about the potential costs of a legal analysis that could stretch for an undetermined amount of time. School Director Tom Maglicco recommended that the board limit the firm's review to 40 hours.

Ultimately, with a vote of 6-2, the board appointed Ira Weiss as special counsel to the board of directors for construction-related matters with a 40-hour maximum limit. School Directors Steve Kondrosky and Patricia Maksin voted against the appointment. School Director Joe Lopretto was absent.

In other business, the board accepted a proposal from P.J. Dick for construction management services related to the new elementary/intermediate School being built on Cornell Street. The motion to accept the proposal passed with a vote of 6-2, with Maksin and Kondrosky as the lone votes against the proposal.

The board also approved a $114,640 proposal from Ideal Integrations, Inc. for hardware upgrades, standardization and consolidation of computer equipment throughout the district. Maksin abstained from voting.

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