UPDATE: By a 3-2 vote, the Manatee County School Board approves its contract with Sarasota Security Patrol.
BRADENTON, FLA. -- The Manatee County School District is moving forward with their plan to provide private armed guards in their elementary schools. The process was started last month when the district put out an official RFP or Request for Proposals. But at least two of the security companies and a school board member believe the hiring process the district is using is flawed.
“I've been doing school district contract security since 1994,” said Mike Orsini, the owner of OSA Global Security in Manatee County. His clients include the city of Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Bradenton Marauders. Orsini says his company even provides armed security guards in school districts in Ohio and Pennsylvania but he tells ABC 7, the hiring processes of a private security company by the Manatee County School district is flawed.
“I'm worried. I'm not going to sleep at night until we do this properly,” said Orsini. His company submitted a bid for the job but says as the father of a Manatee County student, he feels like the district is in a big hurry to hire a security company. The RFP stipulates the security company be able to begin providing services in 48 hours after being awarded the contract.
“For the safety of our children you want to put a product out there that is not going to make any mistakes. Do you want to hire somebody pushed through quickly with the pressure on them within 48 hours to put an armed person in a school district that has never had private armed security ever in this state?”
He says the process did not even include a face to face interview.
“It was done by a phone, you did even know who you were interviewing with except for the head of the panel,” said Orsini.
“That is part of the process that concerns me,” said Dave “Watchdog” Minor. “Something that is affecting thousands of our children, the safety of our children and $3 million for three years, the process should involve face to face interviews.”
Minor is a school board should member. He thinks the district needs to take time to find the right company for the job.
“We need to slow this down for the good of our children and the good of our tax payers.”
The CEO of Critical Intervention Services based in Pinellas County sent a 28 page report to Superintend Rick Mills, questioning the integrity of the process used by the Manatee County School District to select Sarasota Security Patrol as the company to provide the armed security guards.