Attaboys & Oh Boys for June 22

Oh Boy!

To the $600,000 in state Education Department contracts awarded to former co-workers of the state superintendent of education. These contracts, between MDE and two of Superintendent Carey Wright’s former co-workers, appear to duplicate technology-related services. The contracts were awarded to MDE Chief Information Officer John Q. Porter before he was appointed to his position; Blue Sky Innovative Solutions LLC, for which Porter serves as CEO; Elton Stokes Jr., who is listed as a technology office director on the website for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland; and DataOne IT Solutions, a Maryland-based company with ties to Stokes. It’s a tangled web, even as Wright issued a statement claiming the department’s IT department “needed urgent and major work.” Also, three of the eight contracts awarded were under $50,000, meaning they did not require approval from the state Education Board. Transparency in bidding contracts and approval loopholes need to be addressed.

Clarion Ledger