The former director of network and systems administration with Denver Public Schools – Bud Bullard – accepted improper kickbacks from vendors interested in doing business in technology and telecommunications with the district, according to district officials.
Superintendent Tom Boasberg announced findings of a multi-month investigation into Bullard’s actions after the district received a complaint in February. The 50 pages of investigative documents can be found here by clicking the June 20 meeting agenda and “investigative report.” Read Boasberg’s letter summarizing the investigative results.
Bullard was subsequently fired in March, Boasberg told the public and board members Thursday, and new measures are being implemented to prevent a similar situation from happening again.
“This is a serious matter,” Boasberg said. “Integrity is a core value. What transpired is a fundamental violation of integrity. It’s unethical, wrong, improper.”
Boasberg said Bullard received lunches, tickets to sporting events and even a plane trip to a sporting event – all aimed at greasing the wheel for lucrative technology contracts. He said the district is reimbursing one company for improper expenses. Kickbacks were not the only problem.
“There is evidence the vendor selection processes were not always handled consistently,” Boasberg said. “Record keeping did not always adhere to proper standards.”
However, Boasberg said investigators did not find any subpar work or evidence that the district paid more for products or services than it should have – despite improprieties in the vendor selection process.
Board member Anne Rowe asked for an update on changes in the district’s purchasing policies within 60 days.
Boasberg said purchases that cost $500,000 would receive extensive scrutiny going forward. Staff was also undergoing more training on purchasing procedures, and the records were being handled electronically instead of just on paper. He said there would also be a process for reporting conflicts of interest or procurement irregularities. The company that flew Bullard to a sporting event is barred from doing business with DPS for a period of time, he said.
“The board takes this very seriously,” board President Mary Seawell said. “This is public money. We take it incredibly seriously – that it’s used well and used the right way.”