In what must be the most unsurprising news reported in Wichita this year, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture was awarded the contract for plan management services for the USD 259 (Wichita public school district) bond issue. Their fee is one percent of the total of the bond issue, or about $3.7 million. If this contract is anything like the one from 2000, they can also bill expenses.
This is the same role this firm played in the 2000 bond issue, as reported in Wichita School District’s Favorite Architect Stands to Win Big.
It’s little too late to ask this question, but I wonder if any firm other than Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture was considered for this contract. Or, was there any thought given to competitive bidding for this contract?
Given this firm’s role in promoting the bond issue (the Wichita school district effectively outsourced the campaign to Joe Johnson, the head of this firm), there was little doubt as to who would get this contract. This raises a few questions:
First, did Joe Johnson and Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture believe this bond issue was in the best interests of Wichita’s schoolchildren and the citizens of the district, or is the bond issue just a way to earn fees?
Second, did Joe Johnson and Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture always know they’d be awarded this contract if the bond issue passed? Were they worried that some other firm might make a bid?
The close relationship between the Wichita school district and this firm raises suspicions that this is just another example of crony capitalism in Wichita.