As Metro begins searching for bidders to audit Nashville’s $746 million, 150-school district, there’s a movement afoot to keep the review of contractors under wraps.
Privately choosing between bidders wanting government contracts is common practice to protect companies from sharing sensitive information. However members of the audit committee had originally agreed to evaluate the proposals offering to dig into the large school district at open public meetings.
“Frankly, I don’t know what we have to hide here,” said Councilman Steve Glover who is one of two council members serving on the audit committee. “It’d be healthy for it to be open.”
More, after the jump.
Metro Auditor Mark Swann suggested in an email to committee members this week they consider Metro legal department’s opinion the meetings be held in private. Reviewing contracts privately would adhere to Metro codes, although this six-person committee includes two council members who are banned by state late law from deliberating behind closed doors.
Attempts to reach Metro lawyer Theresa Costanis, who offered the advice to Swann, were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon.
Swann asked committee members to call him by 2 p.m. Thursday to keep the meetings open. When Pith spoke to him after his afternoon deadline, he said on one reached out to him about the idea. He said the decision will go to the committee after the Nov. 25 deadline for bids have passed.
The decision to audit the school district comes more than a decade since the last large-scale review of the system, and less than a year after the district cancelled a contract with an outside contractor that pointed out flaws in the Central Office. Officials hope the audit will come before Metro government begins weighing the district's budget needs in light of rising costs affording the district's growing charter schools.