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Capitol Report for February 10: Department of Wildlife Conservation skirts competitive bidding process, nationwide headlines echo Oklahoma public school issues, A.G. supports state jurisdiction

News9 Alex Cameron (left0 and Patrick B. McGuigan, CapitolBeatOK editor, give the Capitol Report.  Photo provided.
News9 Alex Cameron (left0 and Patrick B. McGuigan, CapitolBeatOK editor, give the Capitol Report. Photo provided.

On this week’s Capitol Report, Patrick B. McGuigan summarized his recent news story on failures at Oklahoma’s Department of Wildlife Conservation to follow the Sooner State’s competitive bidding process. He told News9’s Alex Cameron, in a segment also broadcast at Newson6, the agency skirted requirements when it selected a PR agency to look at the annual Wildlife Expo.

After leaders at Wildlife were informed they had to follow the Request for Proposal strictures, a procurement officer complained to other agency officials about the mandate. The PR study related to the Expo, which costs taxpayers about $700,000 each year. No evidence was provided that when the RFP process was carried the ultimately selected firm submitted a new proposal. Further, that firm was sent information apparently not provided to competiting PR agencies, McGuigan reported.

The CapitolBeatOK editor repeated his concern about whether other governments agencies are having similar problems following procedures. In dialogue with Cameron, McGuigan reviewed newspaper headlines from across the country supporting analysis that Oklahoma’s public education challenges are not unique: Georgia is suffering through a teacher dropout crisis, Florida and Kentucky face teacher shortages, Ohio’s education spending is flat or declining, North Carolina’s crisis comes from class sizes, and Chicago schools needed a direct city subsidy to open last fall.

In the Super Bowl states, minority parents in Philadelphia have rallied for more charter school slots because of the poor quality in local schools, and The Boston Globe reported on a Massachusetts district where special needs students were endangered or abused.

A Bronx school has been characterized as “hellhole” and New York City parents have complained about the end of Daddy-Daughter dances for “PC” reasons. Wrapping up, McGuigan praised Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter for asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling from the Tenth Circuit Court raising jurisdictional questions, another in a series of cases in which recreation of Nineteenth Century Indian Territory jurisdiction is seemingly envisioned.

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