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The Port News ran an article in its Oct. 19 issue dealing with the resignation of a prior architect. I believe it was factually very inaccurate and meant to portray me as harassing the architect till he quit.

Yes, it is true that I was questioning him about a clause in a contract about a roof project (It was the Salem Roof not Daly's). Your article gave the impression that our lawyer was present and told me I was wrong about my interpretation of the contract. This is simply not true; there was no lawyer present (at least not the district's lawyers) at the meeting.

Since you mentioned an opinion that we never got from our lawyer on the clause in question, I sent the clause over to our current lawyer for construction and received a written opinion, which I have enclosed. It reaffirms what I said at the meeting. The clause in question would lead to the architect getting paid twice for the same work. In addition he raised the legality of the clause itself dealing with the substitution of equal products and limiting competition and the number of bidders on our projects all leading to much higher costs to the school district. If trying to stop the district from paying for things twice and stopping us from putting illegal clauses in our contracts favoring certain vendors causing us to pay much more for our capital projects is harassment, then I fully intend to harass future consultants as well when it affects the interests of the district. I only wished my fellow board members would have followed suit so we would not be in so much trouble now. The fact that they are paid (and very highly) consultants does not mean we have to accept their word as the absolute truth, especially when we know it to be wrong and now verified by our current attorney.

Even though I have many times been on the losing side on many facility and construction votes taken by the board, I can honestly say that with hindsight all my positions would stand the test of time. Unfortunately I was usually outvoted by my fellow members, which have led to some horrible consequences for the district. With the district about to embark on the largest bond issue and construction projects we have ever done, this is not the time for us to not do our due diligence and be lax with these projects.

Richard Sussman


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