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A tough decision

October 25, 2001

The decision by the county Board of Supervisors to reject a recommendation by the Workforce Investment Board to award a $248,919 welfare-to-work program contract to Campesinos Unidos Inc. was a fair one, and we hope this issue can be resolved quickly.

WIB's recommendation that the contract be awarded to Campesinos was met with criticism by other local agencies also in the running for the contract. They voiced concern that there was a possible or apparent conflict of interest in the recommendation. Even the appearance of a conflict can be troubling when so much money is involved.

The Workforce Investment Board works hard to make sure work-training services are available to meet the needs of the Valley and the board has been fair in the way it gives the county Board of Supervisors recommendations for contracting out services.

The work Campesinos Unidos does in helping those in need is equally important. If WIB finds Campesinos should receive the contract — and there is no conflict of interest — then we will support that decision.


While we back the board's decision to send this issue to WIB for another review, we do not want it to become so bogged down in controversy that the public loses services it critically needs. We hope this matter can be resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.

All those agencies that put in bids for the contract are deserving and have done good work in the community. Any could use the grant to provide quality service. Now the WIB must make sure any possible conflict of interest — real or imagined — is avoided.

The board made a tough decision, but it was the right choice. The public good must be served.

We urge those agencies involved to not allow this to become divisive and harmful to a public that depends on the services they provide.

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