Daily "Recent Prince George's County News" updates were suspended in early March 2016. They were compiled primarily from retweets of news headlines. Those retweets continue, but in unformatted and unarchived form at PG-Politics-Briefs. To follow such headlines on a current basis, follow @pgpolitics on Twitter.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Washington Plaza $11,000,000 wasted

Thanks to  Sen. Muse and his interfering, micro-managing, oath-breaking colleagues the school system is now out $11 million with absolutely nothing to show for it--no benefit for the children and no new offices either. $11 million down the drain--completely wasted--thanks to a bunch of posturing politicians who thought it more important to score a cheap political point than to keep their promises to honor the Constitution and their oaths of office.

Also all the Maryland "Republicans" who think legislative courtesy overrides their oaths and the Constitution.

On Tue, May 19, 2009 at 10:20 AM, <jls401@aol.com> wrote:
This is outrageous and exactly why PG County continues to have such a bottom-of-the-toilet reputation in education!!!! 11mil down the drain. How exasperating!!!! On this, the BOE should hang their heads in shame. To put the self-interest of the comfort of administrators and professionals above the needs of students is more than a disservice.
-----Original Message-----
From: marcy_canavan <marcy.canavan@gmail.com>
To: PrinceGeorges_Discussion@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Mon, 18 May 2009 10:36 pm
Subject: [PrinceGeorges_Discussion] Washington Plaza - the finale
Well, folks. The outcome of the legislature's action is that the BOE will wind up paying more than 1/3 of the TOTAL cost of the building and have absolutely nothing to show for it.

And who will ever do business with the BOE will always wonder if a contract has any meaning?

$11 million that could have been spent on education. And thanks to the legislature there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to show for the $11 million!

AND since both the legislature and tonight, the BOE, did this as an "emergency," meaning that the public had essentially no chance to comment meaningfully before this happened.

After you read the article in the Post (below) tell me how proud you are of PG County.
Board Retracts Lease for Headquarters
Canceled Deal, Which Will Cost System $11 Million, Succumbed to Legislative Pressure

The Prince George's County Board of Education last night voted to back out of a lease for a new headquarters, in response to the Maryland General Assembly's passage of a bill that would strip the school system of millions of dollars in education aid unless officials killed the project.

But the school board's 5 to 2 vote to terminate the deal will draw a penalty of $4.8 million, officials said, bringing the school system's total cost for the venture in rent and other expenses to $11 million. The move into a new headquarters will be canceled, and the old headquarters will remain operating.

As they debated what to do, board members voiced dismay.

"So it's a total of $11 million, that if the board votes on this, we have nothing to show for?" asked board member Pat Fletcher (District 3).

"This is nothing more than blackmail," said board member Rosalind A. Johnson (District 1). She and Fletcher voted against the lease-termination measure in the meeting at Laurel High School.

Board Chairman Verjeana M. Jacobs (At Large) abstained, and board member R. Owen Johnson Jr. (District 5) was absent.

Board Vice Chairman Ron Watson (At Large), part of the five-member majority in the vote, said his goal was to cut losses. "At this point, it's all about minimizing further exposure to the county," Watson said. "I still think the legislature has overstepped."

The plan to move into an office complex in Upper Marlboro along the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, near Andrews Air Force Base, became a target of criticism from state lawmakers and county residents soon after the sharply divided school board approved a $36 million lease-purchase deal for the buildings last June.

The buildings were supposed to have consolidated scattered school offices into a central place, saving the system money long-term. The project also was meant to replace the aging, decrepit Sasscer Administration Building in Upper Marlboro with attractive buildings befitting a 128,000-student school system that is the state's second-largest.

But the complex has been nearly vacant for almost a year, even as the school system paid $262,500 a month in rent. The initial $36 million price tag, spread over 10 years, also did not include millions of dollars in moving and renovation costs.

State legislators said spending on the buildings could not be justified when the school system was closing eight schools and eliminating 900 jobs because of the economy. The General Assembly pressed forward with a bill that essentially orders the school system to cancel the headquarters plan, or lose $36 million in education funding. The bill passed in April. As of last night, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) had not acted on it.

Jacobs and Watson signed the agreement immediately after the meeting. The agreement had already been signed by the building's owner, Dean F. Morehouse, president of MTM Builder/Developer Inc.

Asked about the $11 million cost to the school system for a project that went off the rails, Jacobs said: "It's bothersome. It's very bothersome."

1 comment:

  1. It wasn't just Muse. The state bill was sponsored by several senators and delegates. The contract for the building shouldn't have been signed in the first place and would have taken far more than $11M away from the children. If the state didn't do that, there were plans for a possible suit by an organization, because it was believed to be an illegally arranged contract by BOE.

    Still the $11M seems like a real waste and it would be nice if we had a way to get out of that. I don't think this would keep companies from having contracts with BOE as this seems to have been a windfall for MTM Builder/Developer Inc.