Comments made during the recent Litchfield Concerned Parents meeting regarding Board of Education Chairman Frank Simone prompted a response from Simone’s employer, All-Star Transportation of Waterbury.
Parents at the meeting on Jan. 27 claimed Simone has a conflict of interest because he works as a dispatcher for All-Star, which has provided transportation for Litchfield students for 18 years. The company is in the first year of a new five-year contract with the school board.
All-Star owner John Dufour issued a response to the claims in a letter to the school board’s director of business operations, David Fiorillo. The Jan. 30 letter was included in correspondence at the school board’s meeting last Wednesday.
In his letter, Dufour praised Simone and said a conflict of interest does not exist.
“Frank has no input in contracts, pricing, equipment, or any other terms or conditions that would effect negotiations,” Dufour wrote. “Frank’s role at All-Star is day to day operations and overseeing human resources, safety and timeliness of bus routes, adherence to maintenance programs and building and grounds. He is excellent at his job and committed to All-Stars mission of providing the safest transportation in Connecticut to all Litchfield students.
“Frank’s concern and effort for the students and his employees is second to none. It is unfortunate that any parent would think or insinuate otherwise.”
Parents at the Jan. 27 meeting also were critical of the transportation contract, which is worth about $700,000 this year, not being put out to bid. Under school board policy, however, there is no requirement that the contract be put out to bid. Fiorillo, citing All-Star’s track record of service and reasonable rates, said the decision was made to renew the contract with the company.
In his letter to Fiorillo, Dufour said All-Star is willing to prove its commitment to ethical business practices by canceling the remaining four years of its contract with the school board and allowing the board to go out to bid for a new contract.
“All-Star takes great pride in the job that we do and also in our business practices,” Dufour wrote. “None of our customers should ever have concern regarding our ethics or our operational ability. Having even one parent that is a resident in Litchfield think otherwise is unacceptable to me.”