Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rockwood School Board Member Resigns

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rockwood School Board Member Resigns

Article excerpt

Rockwood School District board member Steve Smith resigned late Sunday, less than a week after a state audit concluded he should not have voted on projects that helped the construction company that employed him.

Smith notified the school board by letter Sunday night.

I have tried time and again to defend myself, Smith wrote in a statement. However, politics and journalism have become drive-by events rather than dialogue and discussion. I have become the main target and that is not helpful to kids.

Late last month, Auditor Tom Schweich announced findings of the audit that concluded Smith had improperly failed to abstain from voting on construction and maintenance projects that sent more money to Glenn Construction while he worked for the firm. The audit said the district overpaid its longtime construction management company by more than $1.2 million over 10 years by making double payments to the firm on some work-related bond projects.

The Post-Dispatch reported in 2011 on the districts exclusive arrangement with Glenn Construction that had been the only winning bidder on district bond issue construction management contracts. A taxpayer group Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions then pushed for a state audit of district operations.

The group sent out a statement Monday calling for more resignations, including those of Superintendent Bruce Borchers and school board members elected to the board before last year.

Eileen Tyrrell, co-founder of the group, said Smiths resignation doesnt go far enough toward restoring credibility in the west St. Louis County school district. It starts the process, Tyrrell said. If we got all the resignations we could start healing the trust.

In January, before the audits release, Assistant Superintendent Dennis Griffith announced he would resign at the end of the school year. Griffith had advocated for Glenn Construction in 2009, the last time the district considered other companies for a construction management contract. …

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