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Finance Committee proposes to amend bid policy

ALBANY -- The Dougherty County Board of Education's Finance Committee made a move Monday to go forward with something that has been in the works for several months.

The committee decided unanimously 3-0 to send to the school board a recommendation to modify the system's DJEA policy in a way school system officials say will be in greater compliance with the law. The school board's Finance Committee is made up of David Maschke, the Rev. James Bush and Anita Williams-Brown.

The policy, which outlines the district's rules and regulations in regards to equal opportunity in competitive bid purchases, has been in place in its current form since 1996. Amendments were brought before the board last year, which did not go through as a result of a 3-1-3 vote.

"It was before the board previously, but it needed further explanation," said Tommy Coleman, the school district's lawyer.

"(The policy) says we are not going to discriminate based on race."

The modifications are necessary to the documents now on the books to make it more in line with legal standards as well as how the district conducts business, officials say.

"(The policy) is not in compliance with what you are currently doing," Coleman said to the committee.

This is a move coming six months after the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization shifted its focus to small businesses regardless of race or gender after a study was done showing a lack of overt or passive discrimination. Up until that time, the department had operated under a consortium of members -- including the school district.

"We haven't really moved forward as far as replacing (SDBU) with a different approach," said Board Chairman Maschke.

The modifications set by the committee were to delete the last four items on the current policy. In the meantime, the committee also set an aim to schedule a meeting with a consultant who has experience in small, minority programs in the near future for the purpose of bringing the policy up to speed.

The recommendation concerning the policy put forth by the committee will be one of the agenda items discussed at the school board's meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

In other news, the committee recommended board approval for contracts concerning technology upgrade and maintenance projects as presented by Herb Benford, the district's management information services director. The funds proposed would go toward items such as network support supplement, basic network support and network hardware support.