Fort Worth school trustees voted 5-2 Tuesday night to reject a $55 million contract with a company led by one of its members.
Although the district followed its procurement process, it was right to veto the contract to avoid even the “appearance” — as Trustee T.A. Sims put it — of a conflict of interest.
Trustee Matthew Avila is CEO of Thos. S. Byrne Construction Services, a reputable Fort Worth firm that is owned by his father. Avila, who abstained from the vote, had notified other board members by email of the company’s intent to compete for the construction projects. He noted that trustees who objected should have said so earlier.
Still, the board prudently rejected a staff recommendation on the Byrne proposal. The district has a history of construction contract problems.
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Trustee Cinto Ramos abstained because a relative works for another company that was competing for the contract. His decision showed a proper display of caution.