Sat
Feb 2 2013
11:56 am

PREVIOUSLY: PBA and Knox Co. sue school security system contractor

In response to new revelations yesterday regarding the PCSD lawsuit, Knox Co. Schools superintendent James McIntyre has placed Chief Security Officer Steve Griffin on administrative leave pending further investigation:

Late this afternoon Chief Griffin was asked further about the nature of his relationship with Mike Walker, the proprietor of PSCD. He disclosed that he had on two occasions participated in social trips with Mr. Walker – once to a NASCAR race at Bristol, and a second time when he stayed at Mr. Walker’s hunting cabin for a hunting trip. In light of this new information that was disclosed today, I felt compelled to place Mr. Griffin on administrative leave with pay while we further investigate his relationship with the vendor PSCD. Deputy Chief Rodney Beverly will serve as acting Chief in the interim.

McIntyre also says the newspaper mischaracterized his remarks regarding PSCD. His full statement to the County Mayor and County Commissioners after the break...

From: JAMES MCINTYRE
Subject: School Security Systems - update

County Commissioners & Mayor Burchett,

There has been a good deal in the media today about our electronic security systems, and I thought that providing some additional information to each of you might be helpful:

• Deficiencies in equipment and services provided to Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle School by security systems vendor PSCD were identified by the Public Building Authority in 2011. Since that time the contract with PSCD has terminated, a review of our electronic security systems in all our schools was undertaken, and litigation was filed against PSCD.

• Our current contractor for security, fire protection and keyless entry systems is Simplex/Grinnell, and since taking over the contract from PSCD in 2011 (though a competitive bid process), they have completed a thorough inspection of all our security panels and addressed any issues or deficiencies. They also monitor our fire protection systems and attest that those systems are currently in good working order. Attached is a letter they sent today verifying that our systems have been thoroughly reviewed and are operating properly.

• Our Security Office conducts monthly assessments of our video monitoring systems to ensure that they are working properly and to address any problems. Our current vendor for security monitoring systems is a company called Systems Integration.

• I am very confident that our school security, fire protection and video monitoring systems are operating appropriately, and doing what they are supposed to do to help us to keep our kids safe.

• Chief Security Officer Steve Griffin’s son-in-law worked for PSCD from 2008 through 2010 when he was laid off. He was hired by PSCD after serving as a communications specialist with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan with relevant specialized training. At no time during his tenure were there procurement decisions made regarding the PSCD contract.

• Late this afternoon Chief Griffin was asked further about the nature of his relationship with Mike Walker, the proprietor of PSCD. He disclosed that he had on two occasions participated in social trips with Mr. Walker – once to a NASCAR race at Bristol, and a second time when he stayed at Mr. Walker’s hunting cabin for a hunting trip. In light of this new information that was disclosed today, I felt compelled to place Mr. Griffin on administrative leave with pay while we further investigate his relationship with the vendor PSCD. Deputy Chief Rodney Beverly will serve as acting Chief in the interim.

Student safety and school security continue to be our highest priorities every day in the Knox County Schools, and we will continue to make sure we do everything in our power to keep our children safe in our schools.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Thanks,

Jim McIntyre

P.S. The newspaper article this morning characterized my statement as having confidence in PSCD’s work. The actual statement expressed no such confidence; it said: "For several years the Knox County Schools maintained a properly bid contract with PSCD for electronic security services. During this contract, the Public Building Authority notified the school system of deficiencies in PSCD's work with the PBA and that they would be taking legal action against PSCD. As a matter of practice, we generally do not comment on pending litigation."

=================

Dr. James P. McIntyre, Jr.
Superintendent
Knox County Schools
912 South Gay Street (P.O. Box 2188)
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901

UPDATE: Simplex/Grinnell letter...

Topics:
48
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CathyMcCaughan's picture

robocall

I don't recall any other Saturday night robocall.

Knox County Schools' Families and Staff,

Based on the recent level of media interest in the security of our schools, I think it is important that I share information with all of our parents to help you be fully and accurately informed about the security status of our schools. I have shared with parents on many occasions that the security and safety of students is our first and greatest priority in the Knox County Schools. This will always be the case.

I can assure you that all of our schools’ electronic security systems, including security alarms, fire protection and video monitoring systems are operating appropriately. All of our systems receive regular inspections and maintenance to ensure they continue to function properly.

We have posted information on the Knox County Schools website – knoxschools.org - that will provide additional information and help to answer questions that you may have.

Please know that as both a dad and an educator I know the importance of seeing to the safety and security of our children, and we in the Knox County Schools are always attentive to this solemn responsibility.

Thank you for your support and please have a good evening.

Sincerely,
Dr. Jim McIntyre

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

We got a robocall too, of course.

I do hope McIntyre understands that this recent "media interest" has less to do with with "the security of our schools" than it has to do with a longstanding perception among us outsiders that nepotism and cronyism have historically reigned supreme in Central Office purchasing procedure?

And good on KNS for making this inquiry.

Maybe KNS can also find out who sold KCS that computer system that can't produce a cumulative GPA on a report card and doesn't integrate the computer module used to generate report cards with the module used to generate students' permanent transcripts, instead forcing school-level personnel to manually key data from the report card module to the transcript module to produce students' transcripts? Isn't that cutting edge...

I mean, I've already been told (by a former school board member) who sold KCS this particular piece of crap.

I just hope KNS is soon told, as well.

Broaden your investigation, KNS?

AnonymousOne's picture

PINKSTON , PAUL

PINKSTON , PAUL G

$56,805.00

$0.00

$0.00

$56,805.00

SECURITY INVESTIGATOR

SECURITY - RULE

Full Time

(link...)

How long is this crap going to take place? Pinkston an "investigator?" When has he been an investigator before?

Last time I remember anything big on Saturday night would be the Saturday Night Massacre.

Although I don't think placing someone on admistrative leave who admitted to lying could be described as a massacre.

But it might be the start of one in Central Office.

Bbeanster's picture

That's Greg Pinkston, not his

That's Greg Pinkston, not his father.

AnonymousOne's picture

My error. I shouldn't have

My error.

I shouldn't have assumed just because he has basically the same name he was his father.

Comforting.

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