MD Coalition Releases Emails Showing PG Board of Education Communications with Cell Tower Vendor

Cell tower vendor asked individual school board members for confirmation they did not object to cell towers on their district schools raising concerns about possible policy violations.
By: Maryland Coalition to Halt Cell Towers at Schools
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. - Jan. 23, 2015 - PRLog -- The Maryland Coalition to Halt Cell Towers at Schools ( MCHCTS) released e-mails and correspondence that show direct communication between the Prince George's County Public School (PGCPS) Board of Education cell tower vendor, Milestone Communications, and individual Board of Education members.

This information came to the MCHCS through e-mails released by the Prince George's County Maryland Board of Education in response to a Maryland Public Information Act request.

The MCHCS notes that individual actions of Board of Education members acting on behalf of the board are in direct violation of Maryland law and Prince George's County Board of Education Policy.

The e-mails that MCHCS released detail a Milestone Communications representative attempting to get Board of Education member Sonya Williams to respond in an email that she “does not object” to cell towers for the Old Croom Vocational High School and Burroughs Middle School sites.

In the first e-mail of this packet, the Milestone Communications representative states that they had previously contacted Board Member Burroughs, Board Member Jacobs and Board Member Higgins to determine if those Board members had any objections to cell tower projects in their districts.

The January 31, 2014, e-mail from Maureen Smith of Milestone Communications to Board member Williams states:

“As part of the implementation of the existing lease process, Milestone must inform the School Board Member for the Districts where subject properties are located and determine that the Board Member does not object to the proposal.  Then, we move forward to request a Letter of Authorization to Proceed...from Dr. Maxwell.  In the body of the request letter we confirm that the School Board Member has been notified and does not object to the proposal(s).”

Please see the emails here.

“This behind closed doors communication with individual Board members has, heretofore, been unknown to the public and is not part of any publicly known cell tower approval process. These e-mails also bring up the question: Do individual Prince George's Board of Education members regularly communicate directly with all PGCPS vendors?  Is this a common practice in public school procurement?” asked a member of the MCHCTS.

The PGCPS parent requested all correspondence for a three month period in the PIA request but only received these emails written by Milestone. PGCPS states there were 124 additional emails but it would cost to 162.90 to receive them.

“Why did PGCPS only send emails Milestone wrote but withheld the emails that the County officials wrote back? “ stated the parent who initiated the PIA request.

In 2010, Milestone donated 500 dollars to Verajeane Jacobs  PG Board of Education Chair, 4 months before the Board of Education vote to approve the cell tower "deal". In 2014, Milestone donated $5,000 to the Prince George’s County referendum to extend term limits.

Tags:Milestone Communications, Cell Tower, Prince George's County Schools, Coalition to Halt Cell, Board Of Education
Location:Prince George's County - Maryland - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Jan 23, 2015
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