Lorain City Schools Board of Education examines support for local business | Lorain County

Members of the Lorain City Schools Board of Education said they will re-examine their policy toward contracts with Lorain businesses.

On Nov. 19, Mike Gerdley, of Gerdley Maintenance King, addressed the Board and asked why Lorain City Schools continue to purchase maintenance products from outside of the area.

“As a local business owner, it’s frustrating to see Lorain buy their supplies in Medina,” Gergely said. “I don’t see what Medina does for Lorain. And here, I’m right down here on Broadway, and I get no help. Why?”

Initially appearing before the Board two months ago, Gergely said after making inquiries, he had yet to receive a clear response from the district.

Lorain Schools Treasurer Joshua Hill said he has the ability to look at cost comparisons and make recommendations.

Hill added following several conversations with CEO David Hardy Jr., they support the notion of staying local and it is something that the district is going to continue examining.

“It should be more of a decision like an equal playing ground,” Hill said. “If it’s equal we stick local.

“If we look at the other two in regards to costs, obviously, and also the service provided or timeliness or if things are in stock. Those are all the things I look into and he (Hardy) agreed 100 percent.

“As kind of the tiebreaker if you will, we would always want to stay local. It is something we are still looking into. It’s not a dead point by any means.”

Board member Tim Williams questioned whether there were any guiding policy principles directing the Board on supporting local businesses.

“So, what we should do in our place is see what policies around purchasing (are) and then identify,” Williams said. “Do we want to make any statement for when this is equal and that is equal?.

“That is a policy place that would give guidance to Mr. (Jeff) Hawks and anyone else.”

Board President Tony Dimacchia noted the Board did have a conversation about the issue years ago, but it did not end up translating into written policy and was followed more as a practice.

“We did have that discussion years ago, to where as a Board of Education, we felt that it was extremely important to support local,” DImacchia said. “So, if we were in a situation where, again the bidding process and there a was competitive bid for this local person and a competitive bid for someone out of state or out of the city, the preference would go to the local folks because we believe that if we don’t support our own, none of us will survive.”

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