Oklahoma’s Attorney General’s office said it sees no reason to investigate the awarding of a contract to Ada to construct a state sponsored youth academy. The news came in a letter from Tom Gruber, first assistant attorney general, to Sterling Zearley, executive director of Oklahoma Public Employees Association.
“We checked with John Richard, Director of the Department of Central Services, regarding the process used in awarding the contract,” the letter states. “After speaking with Mr. Richard we are satisfied that the process used in awarding the contract was conducted according to state law and was fair and equitable. As a result we see no reason to investigate this matter any further.”
Ada was announced the winner of the $10 million contract on Nov. 23. A contract signing ceremony was set for 10 a.m. Monday at the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) facility but was canceled due a state Senate investigation. An Office of Juvenile Affairs spokesman said in a statement Friday that OJA anticipates a resolution by Jan. 5, 2011.
The youth academy is projected to add 115 jobs at an average yearly pay of $46,000. It will house children between the ages of 14 and 21 who are in the custody of Juvenile Affairs, none of whom will be violent offenders, according to Dr. Steve Turner, Ada Youth Academy Committee member.
Turner said he would welcome a review of the selection process because it was completely open and fair to all players.
“On a sunny Friday morning, April 16, 2010, the Ada Youth Academy Committee attended a public and open meeting at the Office of Juvenile Affairs Headquarters in Oklahoma City,” Turner said.
“We made a presentation to the OJA Board about our goal to offer them an innovative alternative solution to address the needs of at-risk youth in Oklahoma. Our solution was the Ada Youth Academy operated by Rite of Passage. The City of Clinton had a large contingency in the room and representatives from Avalon were in attendance.
“The Oklahoman ran a story on the Ada presentation as well as presentations made by Clinton and Tulsa County. Our proposal and its message has been a matter of public record since April 16, 2010. This precedes the RFP process and the rumors of an affair that were printed in the Oklahoman in August,” he said.
“A dot was added to the Ada Youth Academy Proposal that day; a bull’s-eye. Sunshine is a good disinfectant.”
The facility will be located on 65 acres near the CLEET facility at Egypt Road and Hwy 99.