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EPSB to examine its own bidding process

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Associate Editor

At Wednesday night’s Evangeline Parish School Board meeting, an informational item that board member Arthur Savoy requested to have put on the agenda concerning the district’s air conditioning bidding process became an action item so that individuals from the audience could speak on this matter.
Savoy had requested the item be placed on the agenda because he said he “had been receiving calls from people in his district asking why they never get a chance to bid on jobs for the schools.”
Fontenot’s Appliance & AC Repair owner Barney Fontenot addressed the board concerning this issue stating, “I’m here tonight because I want to clear my name. I had been working for the school board fixing window units for five years, but now I don’t get calls for jobs and I don’t ever get the chance to bid on jobs.”
At the meeting, Fontenot went on to explain that he feels the reason why he no longer gets to work on units at the schools is because “a group of janitors got together” and started saying that Fontenot “was asking them to make work orders.”
While Fontenot did not deny requesting work orders for jobs, he said it wasn’t to try to make more money.
Fontenot said, “I requested more work orders in the summer because those units have to be cleaned. That’s the only way to try and keep them from breaking, and honestly, it is much easier to do that work when the students aren’t there.”
District Maintenance Forman Mike Hazelton, who is in charge of receiving bids and quotes for A/C jobs in the parish, was asked by the board how many businesses he has on his list that he calls for quotes and bids. Hazelton’s response was “three.”
Board Member Ellis Guillory said, “We have around 20 of these businesses in our parish, and we should start giving everyone the opportunity to get these jobs, and not just a few.”
The board was in agreement, and decided that a committee would be formed to look into how many A/C businesses there are in Evangeline Parish, and also determine who has the correct certifications to be allowed to bid.
Other items approved:
•Accept low bid of $17,297.00 from Associated Food Equipment for a walk-in freezer for Vidrine Elementary School.
•Ratify payment to First Student for April 2016 for the amount of $345,413.70.

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