Two of the state administers working with Nicastro to create the original "memorandum of understanding" (ie no bid contract), were on the panel that "scored" the different bids:
State administrators Margie Vandeven and Robin Coffman, who emails showed had helped craft the original memorandum of understanding with CEE-Trust, were two of four evaluators who scored the bids.With those two scoring, CEE-Trust won the evaluation process by a single point, after a competitor that cost 1/3 the price of CEE-Trust received ridiculously low scores on a category that is normally their strong suit:
CEE-Trust edged the closest competitor — Community Training and Assistance Center, known as CTAC — by a single point, 70 to 69.
CTAC, because its bid of $124,700 was less than one-third of CEE-Trust’s $385,000 bid, earned the maximum 45 points under the major category of cost.
CEE-Trust earned the maximum 45 points under the other major heading, “Experience, reliability and expertise of personnel.”
CTAC received only 20 points for its personnel despite a proposal that described a 34-year history of assisting school systems in 40 states.Here's what the executive director of the company that lost the bid by a point had to say:
"That’s a section (personnel qualifications) that we usually knock out of the water,” said CTAC executive director William Slotnik, who had not been aware of the details of the scoring until he was reached by The Star.No one could look at this with clear eyes and not have alarm bells go off. So though I agree with the group of Missouri Democrats calling for Nicastro to resign, I think the other part of their request is probably even more important:
In addition, we are asking the State Board of Education to open an internal investigation into potential bid-rigging by Dr. Nicastro to ensure that an education department contract was granted to an organization she favors, despite the fact that its bid was more than three times more costly to taxpayers than the bid of the next closest competitor.This process needs to be investigated, transparently and by an independent entity. It's sad that the president of the state education commission, Republican Peter Herschend, so far has shown no interest in transparency or openness, and has not even discussed the possibility of investigation.