Fred Stephens, long-time director of district facilities, is leaving the district by the end of the month. I will be kind of sad to see Mr. Stephens go because I always felt he cared about the district even if he was not always able to see the buildings get the care they needed. It was not announced where he is going or what he will be doing. Bill Martin who is currently the head of BEX projects will be interim director.
There is a bit of mystery about this resignation. Just last week Mr. Stephens had an argument in the district headquarters parking lot with an employee in his department. The police had to be called to escort the employee from the premises. The mystery is that this employee was overseeing the program that the recent state audit called out (the Small Business Development program).
(To review, the district, based on Board policy, has a program to help small business owners make bids on district capital projects. This is in conjunction with other public entities. I will make note that I see nothing in the policy - H50.01 - that says anything about training.
The state audit said that the district was within its rights to have the program BUT that it had to be for projects directly relating to the district. The program gives training and counseling on how to do bids and, as it turns out, the majority of people taking the program don't submit bids to SPS. So it's free training. And, the auditor said the district must pay money back that it used for training on non-SPS projects. That this program has spent nearly $2M in two years should give everyone pause. That's a lot of money for a non-academic program from the Facilities Department when our facilities need so much maintenance. I could see spending $50k a year but $1M? Something seems off.)
Apparently this employee was allegedly in possession of a check from another school district that he was not supposed to have. This is what may have led to his firing and the subsequent argument with Mr. Stephens.