The Fort Smith Community School School Board has approved an ethics disclosure resolution regarding board member Matt Blaylock and the district’s use of his small heating and air company.
The district has decided to take the resolution to the board to add Blaylock Heating & Air Conditioning to the list of potential vendors after the district’s facilities team recently struggled to find someone who could supply timely plumbing or HVAC services.
Despite Blaylock’s position as President of Blaylock Heating & Air Conditioning, the resolution will allow the school system to work with the company on a limited basis throughout this fiscal year. Blaylock Heating & Air Conditioning is located in Fort Smith. According to the resolution, “In unusual and limited circumstances, the board of directors of a general public education entity may approve an agreement, but not an employment contract, between the general public education entity and the member of the board or the member’s next of kin if the board determines that the agreement is in the greatest fascination of the mainstream educational entity and the board member.
According to the resolution, “exceptional and limited circumstances exist to enable the District to continue to work with Blaylock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. (the “Company”), in which Board Member Matt Blaylock (“Blaylock” ) retains a financial interest, where there is heating, air conditioning, plumbing or any other time-related matter requiring the knowledge of the business and no other acceptable small business is offered within the time available The resolution states that the total amount authorized for payment to the organization for the fiscal year will be less than $10,000.
Six votes were needed to pass the resolution. Blaylock withdrew from the discussion and the vote.
According to FSPS legal expert Marshall Ney, “It’s the last stop, not the start, when the district is unable to meet demands via replacement resources.”
Fort Smith Community College administration and its attorney said last week they saw no conflict of interest with shorter ad space for Blaylock Heating & Air which uses college workers. Northside High School head basketball coach Eric Burnett and head basketball mentor Ricky Smith are heard in the radio commercial advising listeners to call Blaylock Heating and Air Conditioning at (782) 8940 for their heating and cooling needs.
Conflicts of interest are not specifically addressed in the District Board Governance Standards. They deal with nepotism and how a board member should withdraw from a vote in the event of a conflict.
According to Blaylock, after discussion with the company’s majority owner and considering that the ads had already been shown before he joined the board and their alleged purpose, they decided to continue using them. Because Flip Crucial Design is part of the district’s Peak Innovation Center, the school board approved a motion in July to limit team conversations with it. In view of the recent flooding at Peak Middle and the principle of the election of the Peak Heart contractor to the Board of Education, Faculty Council Chairman Dee Blackwell sponsored the resolution. Turn Vital president and owner Sandy Dixon was elected to the board in May. Convert Key served as the building manager for the initial development phase of the Peak Innovation Center, which was completed in the spring.
Summary of news:
- Doing “limited” business with a school board member is approved by the Fort Smith School Board
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