This of course has been obvious from Sisney’s irrational behavior from the beginning.
There were failures to follow bidding laws during 2000-2007. The audit confirmed that the person responsible for knowing and making sure bidding laws were followed was the Director of Purchasing. He was not aware of a change made in the law in 2000 that tightened requirements on bidding for preventative maintenance. Neither was anyone else, apparently including the auditing firm the District used. The audit concluded that the violations were due to a lack of training, not intentional attempts to bypass laws.
Nothing really noteworthy here – except it makes it very clear that Sisney had absolutely no interest in making sure bidding laws were followed. If that was truly his concern, he would have gone to his Director of Purchasing, Mark Bilby, and gotten it corrected. Fixing bidding was not what he needed – he needed a controversy that he could pull out of his back pocket to use as leverage; a weapon that could be used to make certain individuals look very bad in the public eye.
So instead of addressing the bidding procedures, he invented a conspiracy, blamed all the wrong people for the bidding shortcomings, pretended to “investigate” while avoiding alerting any authorities, refused to discuss certain topics at board meetings, took over the board’s agenda, and shut out the board members from the District’s legal counsel. He continued to pretend AA had cheated the district when they had already satisfied all his questions (and those of all five board members), coached board members on how to discredit other board members, scolded board members in an email to all BA Schools staff, and had his friend Bob Lewis print criticism of others and glowing editorials about Sisney in the BA Ledger. He locked a board member out of the ESC, gathered payroll information to be used as ammunition against Doug Mann and Dr. Gerber, collected invoices and work orders to be misrepresented as evidence of fraud, and filed a lawsuit against board members and the District’s legal counsel based on the claims he made up.
None of these actions make any sense if Sisney’s concern was making sure the District was following bidding laws. They also don’t make sense if Sisney really thought there was a conspiracy. Any responsible superintendent would involve an investigative authority, before allowing any hint of his suspicions to reach the public. Instead, Sisney insisted that he was “investigating”, alternately stating that the District just needed to tighten up its internal procedures and threatening to “go public” with the Air Assurance scandal. A real conspiracy isn’t ferreted out by making a lot of noise in the media, publicly accusing vendors and employees, and filing defamation lawsuits.
All of this oddball behavior was a big hint that there wasn’t any conspiracy. In the January 2009 Ledger article, Sisney made some pretty bold claims about having discovered piles of evidence of massive corruption, but we weren’t surprised in December 2009 when he admitted in his deposition that he had absolutely no evidence and couldn’t name one law he thought anyone had broken.
* at least not the one that Sisney was telling the media and the public and filing lawsuits over. There really was a conspiracy, started by Sisney and joined in by numerous people, including local and state elected officials, public servants, news editors, and members of the Broken Arrow community, to deceive the public into believing there was corruption and conspiracy involving a HVAC vendor, district employees, and school board members. For more information on this, please keep reading this blog and visit Broken Arrow Forum, which has been a respository of information, court documents, and detailed analysis about this controversy by Reader612 over the past three years.