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DeKalb gives Parsons ‘full responsibility’ for school construction — at least for now
Parsons, the engineering and construction firm, will oversee DeKalb County schools’ $466 million construction program for the next six weeks. After that, who knows?
Parsons’s Construction Technology Group and another firm, Jacobs Project Management Co., will be paid $644,150 through Dec. 11 for their trouble, the Board of Education agreed at its Monday meeting.
The two firms won a contract in June to provide “supplemental” construction management services. But Superintendent Crawford Lewis, in an Oct. 22 letter released today, gave Parsons “full responsibility” for the district’s Capital Improvement Program and asked the firm to provide “all pertinent services,” including:
- weekly status reports
- financial accounting and analysis
- managing proper resources for all projects, and
- identifying critical issues for projects.
Parsons’ Barbara Colman, the new interim operations officer for construction, will report to deputy superintendent Ramona Tyson.
The company takes the reins from Patricia Pope, the school system’s embattled chief operations officer, whose office is the subject of a criminal investigation by District Attorney Gwen Keyes-Fleming. Authorities have been tight-lipped about the inquiry, but TV cameras were rolling Oct. 14 as search warrants were executed at Pope’s office and at the home and business of her husband, architect Vincent Pope, who has designed a number of DeKalb school projects.
Pope’s status remains unclear since she was reportedly relieved of her duties Oct. 22 (a move that school officials will not officially confirm). She’s reporting to work, but not at the Sam Moss Service Center where she’s overseen construction projects for the school district since 2005.
Pope is earning $198,760 a year under a contract that runs through June 2010. Parsons and Jacobs’ personnel are bringing in monthly compensation of up to $28,000 a month, according to work orders submitted to the school board last night.