SUN Staff Report

11/22/07

    The Española School Board voted to rebid a controversial contract Tuesday, overruling a recommendation from the Española School District administration to grant the award to a contractor with a long history with the District.

    In a split vote the Board decided to rebid a contract for electronic services which for the past 14 years have been provided by Phone World Enterprises, an Española based company operated by Gilbert Rivera. Phone World competed with only one other contractor for the lucrative, four-year contract.

    The other company, Sanbros, an Alcalde-based company owned by David Sanchez, had offered to provide the services for $15 less per hour than Phone World. Nevertheless, Phone World had received the highest score on an evaluation done by the District's bid committee that rewarded Rivera's company for its past work with the District.

    For at least the past five years Phone World had been working for the District, sometimes for over a $100,000 a month, under a contract borrowed from Rio Arriba County.

    Board Vice President Leonard Valerio said the contract be rewarded to Sanbros for a one-year trial period, and received support from Board member Joe Romero. When Valerio made the motion, Superintendent David Cockerham shook his head in disbelief.

    Board Secretary Joann Salazar, however, united with Board President Andrew Chavez and Board member Floyd Archuleta to trump Valerio's minority and send the contract back out to bid.

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