Glendale Unified has rejected a claim filed by a candidate for school board who alleges the district engaged in discriminatory and unfair business practices when it severed ties with his security firm in 2007.
Ali Sadri — who is running in the April 2 election for a seat on the Glendale Unified school board — declined to comment on why he had filed the claim on Dec. 11 — roughly five years after the district declined to renew a security contract with his firm, Armguard Security.
Sadri's Glendale-based company had provided security for Glendale Unified schools for 17 years until the district decided to go with ESPY Security and Patrol.
Sadri appealed the decision in 2008, but it was rejected after district officials skewered Armguard's performance on the job and in the contract interview process.
In early 2008, Chris Coulter — then-associate principal of Crescenta Valley High School — said the main reason for switching security firms was that Armguard “pretty much was useless as far as supervising their own employees ... They just were not very responsive.”
In his claim filed in December 2012, Sadri alleged Glendale Unified engaged in unfair business practices — including discrimination, conspiracy, wrongful award of public contracts and “other actions from 2008 to present” — in terminating the contract.
Security contracts at Glendale Unified vary according to how many hours the schools use security services throughout the year.
During the last full year Armguard served the district in 2006 and 2007, the company was paid $412,221, according to Eva Lueck, chief business and financial officer for Glendale Unified.
When ESPY took over in January 2008, it was paid roughly $2,000 less — $410,218 — during its first 12 months on the job, she said.
“Within our processes, there is a time period of five days once a contract is awarded that others that are bidding on that contract can protest,” Lueck said. “We're far past that timeline of protesting that contract award. We're not in agreement that there were errors in the process.”
Sadri this week declined to comment on the claim, but said in an email that his concern for student safety is what compelled him to run for school board.
“At a minimum, schools should be bully-free environments,” Sadri said. “I feel that by running I could give back to this community, as it is evident that in these times, we do need to have experts on board in all areas, especially with the safety of children at stake.”
“I hope that my run would shed some light at the weaknesses and bring attention to our children's safety,” he added.
But in justifying their decision to cut ties with Sadri's security firm in 2007, Glendale school officials said they were unimpressed with Armguard's responses during the interview process on how it would handle specific student safety scenarios.
At a school board meeting at the time, district administrator Scott Price said Armguard's answer was “very brief and, in fact, evasive” when asked what their response would be if a fight broke out on campus.
ESPY, on the other hand, said “you have to know your students. You have to be out and about and understand the dynamics of the campus.”
Follow Kelly Corrigan on on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.