Monday, December 1, 2014

FURTHER ABUSE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS BY BATISTE, FICARELLI AND WPS60. Another adventure down the rabbit hole. 

In our ongoing investigation of waste of taxpayer funds by the WPS60 Administration, our latest FOIA related to Outside Consulting contracts contains a very interesting contract between Batiste and Greentarget (Hinshaw's PR Firm) executed March 3, 2014.

For the negotiations that were held last spring related to the previous contract, Batiste decides on a defensive measure to manage communications. Of course, who does he turn to for assistance? His one-number speed dial on his district provided cellphone...Smiley Tony Ficarelli. We wonder if Tony received a finder's fee??

Again, we find no evidence provided that Batiste solicited bids from other qualified PR firms or even made any attempt to identify those resources. In addition, the district has in-house PR staff including Nicholas Alajakis, who cranked out daily reports to the press, WPS60 website and Facebook page...all at no additional charge to taxpayers. 

Was this simply an oversight? Laziness? Or, is there a a more sinister bent to this decision? Batiste again taking care of his own.

Anticipating an upcoming Teachers' strike, Batiste enters into an agreement with Hinshaw's PR Firm and receives a 20% courtesy discount.

Not bad, Ficarelli is getting $275 or better per hour. Why not reward friends and family with another sole source, wired deals to friends and family at taxpayer expense?

Who takes 5 hours to draft a letter to parents at a cost of $250/hour? 

The new PARCC test for Common Core would be a great source on how to craft sentence structure for clear communications!

How many English teachers are employed at WPS60 capable of drafting a letter? 

With over 40 years experience between them, Batiste and Lamping are not capable of articulating the District's position to the public? Interesting because Batiste has no problem authoring his Superintendent's Letter monthly and freely distributes the content to parents of 17,000 students and 1200 teachers! At no additional charge to the Waukegan taxpayers!

Who needed Spokesperson media training at $4,000? Ficarelli was the spokesman for WPS60 and enjoyed basking in the glow of network interviews at taxpayer expense!

Click here for the executed contract with Greentarget reviewed by General Counsel, Tom Morris ("Of Counsel - Hinshaw) 

Purchase Order 151502 issued on 10/22/2014 by WPS60 in the amount of $11,995.00. 

Disbursement 5/13/2014  against Greentarget Inv. # 2624 partial payment in the amount of $6,000.

Disbursement 5/13/2014 against Inv.#2626
partial payment in the amount of $9,761.15, including the balance of $5,000 and a FEDEX charge of $4,761.15!

The $11,995 purchase order actually resulted in disbursements totaling $15,761.15. No problemo; not Donaldo's money!

More on results of the Outside Consulting Contracts FOIA soon....

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