All News & Blogs
Belman's fiscal plans aren't 'prudent' at all
Before heaping praise on Stafford School Board member Robert Belman for his part in the "fiscally prudent" budget proposal, let's not forget to properly credit him for the long-term damage he inflicted on the Stafford County school system with his relentless pursuit and subsequent mismanagement of the high-risk, public-private school construction partnership, or PPEA ["School 'daze': Stafford board's budget makes taxpayers' heads spin," March 15].
The failure of the PPEA cost our school system roughly $1.5 million, significantly delayed the start of Leeland Elementary, and led to unquantifiable damage to the construction contracting process.
The PPEA failure came at a time when our county, because of population growth projections, could ill afford any delay in building new schools.
To make up for the lack of proper stewardship, we are now faced with rush jobs on new school construction. With compressed construction schedules leading many contractors to balk at submitting bids, we now have an environment of less competition, rushed schedules, and higher costs. Is that really anybody's idea of fiscal prudence?
As the "chief architect" of the PPEA venture, how did Belman respond in the face of this unmitigated disaster? He vehemently defended the partnership, even going so far as to suggest more of it if he is re-elected.
Belman dismissed the sage advice of school staff with years of award-winning school construction experience and pushed the board to jump into a construction contract that turned out to be so poorly put together that they have no idea how much it has actually cost our county.
Yet Belman still can't admit to the error of his ways. That's not leadership, that's arrogance.
The PPEA was a fiscal failure for Stafford County, yet Belman continues to defend it. The residents of Falmouth need to decide whether we can afford Robert Belman's style of leadership and fiscal risk-taking.