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Attorney General: Salem Public Schools violated bidding laws

Posted by Ryan Mooney  August 9, 2012 11:59 AM

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Salem Public School officials have reached a settlement to remediate allegations of construction bidding violations uncovered in an investigation by the state's Fair Labor Division.

According to a press release from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, state officials launched an investigation and discovered the violations after a former district employee - who the statement did not identify - came forward in the spring of 2011.

The complaint, according to the Attorney General's office, alleges that from October of 2006 through December of 2010, the School Building Services Department "engaged in practices that violated the public construction bidding laws for various construction and maintenance services."

Salem school officials were not immediately available for comment.

Among the issues brought to light by the investigation were failure to properly open jobs to formal bidding, dividing procurements into multiple smaller components to avoid the formal bidding process, failure to properly estimate the cost of routine and emergency services pertaining to HVAC and elevators, and failure to require the payment of prevailing wage for work on public buildings.

According to the press release, city officials launched an extensive internal investigation, and have since implemented steps to remediate the problems identified.

It is not immediately clear what specific actions have been taken, but according to the statement the Building Services Department will be monitored by the Attorney General's office through March 2013.

For more information visit the official website of the Attorney General's office.

Ryan Mooney can be reached at globe.mooney@yahoo.com.

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