Omaha businessman Dick Davis will continue to work for Omaha Public Schools on a month-to-month basis.

The district has decided to retain Davis’ Bonding and Technical Services, paying the company $6,365 per month for work related to OPS’s bond and economic inclusion program.

The move comes after a debate at the school board table last month over whether to renew Davis’ contract or issue a new request for quotation, or RFQ.

Davis’ contract with OPS was set to expire Aug. 31. In a letter sent to him Aug. 25, Toni Turnquist, OPS’s executive director of district operational services, wrote that the district would not exercise its option to renew Davis’ contract for another year because the district was working on putting together an RFQ for updated services. But, until that RFQ is issued, OPS wants Davis to continue providing the same services.

Bonding and Technical Services has worked with OPS since about 2000, with the last contract competitively bid in 2012.

The company works with contractors trying to land OPS contracts by helping them become bonded and learn how to bid on OPS jobs. The company has also tracked how many small businesses were bidding on OPS jobs and ways to encourage participation.

Contracts in recent years have paid the company more than $72,000 a year.

As part of its $421 million bond program, the district has been implementing an economic inclusion plan to spread out bond-related job opportunities to more local businesses, especially those in high-poverty neighborhoods.

More small and emerging businesses have been registering with the district since the bond’s passage, and OPS’s needs for inclusion have grown and changed, Turnquist said at a board meeting last month. The RFQ would likely seek vendors who could help manage the capacity, bondability and insurability of the city’s growing pool of small contractors.

Several board members and local contractors argued last month that Davis had experience with the local contracting community, but others pushed for a new RFQ.

The latest agreement with Davis will continue until a new contract is awarded by the district after an RFQ or until March 31, 2016.

Davis lost a contract with the city at the end of 2014 after Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert declined to renew his five-year contract, saying she was dissatisfied with the company’s performance. That decision sparked protests from City Council President Ben Gray and activist Preston Love.

Meanwhile, OPS has hired Karlus Cozart to serve as the district’s new economic inclusion project director. His annual salary is $100,700.

Cozart, a Papillion resident, has been working as deputy chief of the military construction division of StratCom’s Program Management Office. The $1.2 billion construction of StratCom’s new headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base is underway. Cozart also has worked for Kiewit Corp. and Union Pacific Railroad and taught at Creighton University and ITT Technical Institute’s Omaha location.

Job postings said the project director would be expected to cultivate a long-term group of diverse businesses and help OPS evaluate the performance of contractors and vendors.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1210, erin.duffy@owh.com

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