Ex-Inquirer Editor-In-Chief Bill Marimow Debuts New Investigative Reporting Role With Damning Piece On School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman


INQUIRER: In a highly unusual move, city School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman interceded to remove a contractor from a $7.5 million, no-bid emergency project and then awarded the work to a small company to install surveillance cameras in 19 dangerous schools, according to sources with extensive experience in district business operations.  IBS Communications Inc., the Philadelphia firm that was awarded the project, was not on a state-approved list of contractors eligible for emergency work. Without explanation, sources said, Ackerman summoned key aides to a meeting Sept. 23 and ordered them to award the work to IBS, a minority firm, without competitive bidding – even though her professional staff had asked another company to begin expedited work. It was the second time in the last year the superintendent had steered work to the Mount Airy company. On the earlier occasion, the district ended up paying 12 times more than the offering price of another contractor. MORE

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