CCS Building & Grounds director issued over a million dollars in contracts to his former employer with NO LEDE participation

By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher

I did a public records request from Columbus City Schools.  Word on the streets is that the Buildings and Grounds Director is giving his former employer contracts. Moreover, most contracts don’t include any LEDE participation.  I asked the board president if the district has an ethics policy regarding former employees rewarding previous employers with contracts.  She is researching it.

DeJuan Hood used to work for Johnson Controls. The district’s documentation indicates that his dates of employment with Johnson Controls can’t be confirmed (page12). The application is confusing.  Per his reference, “He provided contracted services. DeJuan managed a business which provided contracted services to Johnson Controls. Eric Daniels provided those services. “

Since his hire, Johnson Controls has received 12 contracts totaling $1,098,232.11.  Only one project had LEDE participation.  A contract for $82,725 had 5% LEDE participation. All the other legislation forwarded to and approved by the elected board had no participation. ZERO! The following form is included in all legislation.  Buildings & Grounds doesn’t even offer a reason why LEDE businesses aren’t utilized. 

Per the legislation Efforts to Utilize LEDEs:
_____ Outreach Department was notified of the opportunity.
_____District’s LEDE list was reviewed for possible candidates.
_____ Outreach Coordinator participated in the selection process.
_____ Purchase was unbundled, if practical, to create more LEDE opportunities.
_____ LEDE participation was discussed at the Bidders’ conference.
_____ LEDEs and non-LEDEs were given an opportunity to network at the Bidders’ conference.
_____ Bidders’ conference attendees were given a list of attendees.
_____ Advertisements were placed in local newspapers notifying vendors of bidding opportunities.
_____ Solicitation was posted on Public Purchase, a national bidding website for public agencies.
_____ This is a standalone product that requires little support, leaving no avenue to involve a
Please provide additional information if LEDE participation was not achieved:

I have questions.

  1. Why is Johnson Controls listed as an employer?
  2. On his application, it states he worked for Jones Lang Lasalle as a chief engineer. 
  3. Why is the Building & Grounds director giving contracts to those he had a previous business relationship?
  4. How can over a million dollars in contracts go to one majority company without any LEDE participation?
  5. Why does the demoted COO allow the directors in his charge to give contracts to their previous employers?
  6. Why is legislation forwarded to the elected board of education that doesn’t include LEDE participation?
  7. Why does the elected board vote for legislation that doesn’t have LEDE participation?
  8. Is this practice a good use of tax dollars or potential levy funds? 
  9. Does this violate any ethical rules?  If not, the district should establish a policy prohibiting this practice.

This situation just doesn’t smell right.

Just my thoughts…


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