DeKalb schools may pay $15 million to manage construction program
DeKalb County school officials want to pay private vendors nearly $15 million through 2012 to manage their districtwide construction program.
The Board of Education will be asked Monday night to pony up $6.1 million to pay Parsons Corp. and Jacobs Engineering Inc. for work through December 2010, according to the board’s online agenda. Overall, the companies have given DeKalb a $14.6 million cost estimate for project management through 2012.
Parsons and Jacobs were hired in June to provide “supplemental” management of the capital improvement program. But Barbara Colman of Parsons took control of the program in late October, replacing Pat Pope, who was reassigned to special projects while an investigation by District Attorney Gwen Keyes-Fleming was under way.
Officials say Pope’s reassignment did not jack up the cost of the Parsons and Jacobs contracts. “Their dollar figure would not have changed” if Pope were still at the helm, schools spokesman Dale Davis said.
It remains unclear whether Pope will return to her duties as chief operations officer. She is being paid about $200,000 a year under a contract that expires next June.
Keyes-Fleming has been investigating irregularities in school construction contracts since February, when Superintendent Crawford Lewis forwarded the results of an internal inquiry in February. The significance of the investigation was downplayed until October, when Keyes-Fleming issued a terse statement describing the probe as “complex and enormous.”
A week later, GBI agents working with DeKalb prosecutors seized records from the office of Pope, the district’s chief operating officer, as well as the home and office of her husband, Anthony Pope, an architect who has designed DeKalb school projects.
The DA’s office has given no further sign as to when the investigation might wrap up.