Despite a favorable ruling in court, former Columbia County School Board member Lee Muns berated his former associates at a Tuesday meeting for awarding a building contract to a company that initially didn't comply with bidding procedures.
"This board chooses the disciplines that best suit them," said Muns, who stepped down in January after he chose not to seek re-election in 2004.
At the school board's meeting March 22, board members granted low bidder McKnight Construction Co. an $11.26 million contract to build the new Evans Middle School on Hereford Farm Road. McKnight sent a required subcontractor's list to the board nearly two hours after the bids were opened. The board chose to waive that requirement.
The board's decision was recently challenged in court, but Superior Court Judge Neal Dickert sided with the school board in a Monday ruling.
In a brief speech at the start of Tuesday's School Baord meeting in Evans, Muns said the subcontractor's list was critical to the bidding process. He also accused the board of placing a price on ethics.
"What lesson is learned?" Muns asked. "Oh, I know. Money is everything."
Schools Superintendent Tommy Price called Muns' speech "fodder for the press."
"I would categorize it as hogwash," he said to board members.
Price said he plans to draft a transcript of Muns' speech, which he called baseless, and might seek to hold him accountable for any inaccuracies. He would not specify how.
Other board members also called Mr. Muns' statements unfounded.
"It's easy to make accusations if you don't have to substantiate them," said Regina Buccafusco, the school board chairwoman.
"If these are accusations then we should have the opportunity to answer them before they are blasted all over the community," board member Wayne Bridges said.
Also at the meeting, the board gave final approval to River Ridge as the name for a new elementary school on Hereford Farm Road.
Buccafusco lamented the choice and said she would have preferred the more historical Oakey Grove name.
"I would be remiss if I didn't state my disappointment in the decision," said Buccafusco, who was unable to attend the meeting when the name was first voted on.
"This may be one of my biggest regrets on the board," she said.
The board approved River Ridge 3-1, with Buccafusco the lone dissenter.
Some community members, in addition to Buccafusco, pushed for the Oakey Grove name with the school's naming committee.
Oakey Grove was the name of a former schoolhouse nearby that closed in 1957.
Although the school will be called River Ridge, trustees agreed to name the entrance to the school Oakey Grove Drive and establish a permanent display in the school's media center for Oakey Grove memorabilia.
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