Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Securatex Contract With Washington Township Schools Raises Concern

Fellow blogger Diana Vice has an intriguing post on her blog, Welcome To My Tea Party, about a $900,000 annual security contract Washington Township Schools has with Securatex, a private security firm at which former Marion Co. Sheriff Jack Cottey serves as a business services advisor. The contract has not been renegotiated for years according to Vice. Securatex's contract came to light after board member Greg Wright began asking questions about it. School administrators did not have a copy of the contract and only produced it after obtaining a copy from Securatex. Vice writes about how this story is expected to grow in the coming days:

In addition to the allegations of poor record keeping, many are left wondering why such a high contract item was not put out for public bid over the years, including competitors of Securatex, one of which reportedly claims the security services could be contracted for much less than what the school district is currently paying. Taxpayers also raised the issue that local companies are being shut out of the competition in favor of the politically-connected Securatex.

Perhaps this is an issue that the State Board of Accounts should look into.

When asked about the fact that the security contract was not put out for public bid, taxpayers were reportedly told that school officials had a good relationship with Securatex management . . .

What is known about Securatex? According to information received from the Secretary of State website, it is a for-profit foreign corporation based in Illinois. The Business Service Advisor listed for Securatex is former Marion County Sheriff Jack Cottey.

As a side note, here is a link to March, 2007 Advisory Minutes for the Marion County Community Corrections Department, which reports that Securatex was approved for a multi-million dollar contract for the department even though it was not the low bidder. More than one of the board members listed have been linked to a corruption investigation involving Tim Durham, who has also reportedly hired the firm to provide security for lavish parties that he has hosted.

Sources say that more shocking details about this situation will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead as members of the local media have reportedly been asking questions about the controversy.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Good for Diana Vice, and AI, and I am glad to learn that local media is investigating the Securatex contract with Washington Township.

guy77money said...

Comes out to about 60 grand per (13 school buildings) building a year throwing in the administration building and the bus depot. Does that by any chance count any actual employees of Securatex? Ya gotta wonder who is friends on either the board or in the administration with Cottey? I am throwing in J.Everet Light which I think is mostly subsidized by either the state or the federal govenment. Amazing what falls out the trees when money starts to get tight. Almost a million dollars a year and no one could find the contract! I wonder what else the school district has hidden in their budget. Washington Township has filed to try to vote in a Referendum in May of 2010.

Bob Cardwell said...

It makes you wonder how many no bid contracts Securatex has and with whom.