School board committee recommends copier contract

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County Board of Education's Building & Grounds Committee recommended using Automated Business for its multifunction copies contract Friday afternoon after the Lee County company submitted a four-year bid of $1,405,666.

The committee of board members James Bush, David Maschke and Michael Windom voted 3-0 in a phone poll after Bush was the only member able to attend the meeting in person. Maschke had a prior business commitment. DCSS Executive Director of Operations and Business Services Robert Lloyd called Windom before the meeting. Windom told Lloyd, who relayed the message to those in attendance, that couldn't make the meeting either.

New Superintendent Joshua Murfree, who starts Tuesday, attended the meeting.

In the 17-minute meeting that turned into an informational session due to the lack of a quorum, Lloyd explained that the original low bidder, Oce, was disqualified because it was using 10-year-old desktop-based software.

Automated Business had the second-lowest bid, ahead of Ikon's four-year bid of $1,415,333 and Ricoh's bid of $1,719,000.

"We met several times and gave Oce several opportunities," DCSS Assistant Director of Purchasing Jason Renfroe said. "We certainly thought it made the most sense to go with a network-based system for the Dougherty County School System because we're scanning more documents everyday."

Mary Barkley, information technology project specialist, said Automated Business' copiers wouldn't require as much training as Oce's copiers.

"This program, you hit as a Word document and it does it automatically," she said. "The other network, we have to do more training."

DCSS Management Information Services Director Herb Benford noted that the copiers from Automated Business will help the school system in its effort to do more things electronically.

"We've put a lot of time into this and we think this is the best solution for the Dougherty County School System employees as we go more paperless," he said.

Bush concluded the session by congratulating the school system officials for their efforts.

"I thank all the people involved with their work and clearly support the local work," said Bush, the chair of the Building & Grounds Committee. "I think we should do all we can do legally and possibly to keep money in the metro Albany area and all of Southwest Georgia. That's how we get out of the hole we're in is employing the people from our area."