Mr. Mom’s – Due Process Must Happen

It is no longer a secret that Mr. Mom’s Transportation Services currently faces significant challenges. Probably the biggest challenge for this small, local, minority owned business came from the school board last spring (2004). Mr. Mom’s and Badger Bus services were denied district transportation contracts. Our community was angered by this. In 2004, the Board received dozens of e-mails criticizing our decisions regarding contracts with local businesses. Here are some examples of the e-mails the school board members received:

Harold Gollman wrote:
I don’t expect that 1 school board member who supports increases in
busing costs and closing out local and reliable businesses for out of
state one’s should expect to be reelected ever. that’s my guess. I
wouldn’t be surprised if you were all out on your butts a lot quicker
than that. I would hope the school would hire teachers not out of state businesses. say bye bye.
William Graf wrote:
I’am concerned about Dunham School Services and First Student Inc. being awarded bus routes for the following reasons:
Badger has an unblemished record of loyal service to the city dating back to 1929.
– Badger was not allowed to use the MMSD as a reference in RFP #3037.
– Badger’s and Mr. Mom’s bid prices were significantly lower than the
recommended bidders and would save the district no less than $600,000 over the 3-year contract period.
– Why wouldn’t the administration want to save money in light of the budget deficit estimated to be in the millions?
– Local ownership means more jobs and money stay in Madison.
– Mr. Mom’s is minority owned and both Mr. Mom’s and Badger recruit and hire minority applicants.
– Local owned companies serve as buffers and protect the interests of the district over the long term from price control if only the large national companies control the market.
– Badger has in the past come to the district’s aid when other vendors were not performing up to expectation I would hope you will consider these points and reward Badger Bus and Mr. Mom’s with the bus contract. WE are in very tight fiscial times and this makes sense to me. Thanks for your time.
Tracey Hensen:
It is disturbing to me to hear the news that the bus contract for the
Next three years may go to a company that is not locally owned! Badger Bus Company and Mr. Mom’s has been providing quality service for many years. I also understand that the bids from Badger Bus and Mr. Mom’s are less than the contracts being recommended. $600,000 is a lot of money when budgets are so tight! Please explain this decision to me and the community!! Not only is Madison trying to ruin local business by smoking bans, now we’re trying to take our own business out of the state and take away jobs from local citizens! Please re-consider this direction for the good of our
There are a lot more. The Board intervened and recommended that the Administration award contracts to local vendors, including Mr. Mom’s. I fought and voted for the Mr. Mom’s contract last spring. Jeff and Cathy Smith are the people who own Mr. Mom’s Transportation Services. Jeff is an African American man who is a long time Madison resident with very strong ties to this community. Cathy is a Latina woman who is President of the Latino Chamber of Commerce. So what happened that has resulted in their reduced district contract? It is obvious that their small business grew faster than their ability to keep pace with the increased service demand. This is not an excuse but a fact.
The community wanted Mr. Mom’s last year and now that they face challenges, the community is calling for their head on a platter and asking for an immediate contract termination. The community, fueled by incomplete information reported in the media, has rushed to judgment on what should be the fate of Mr. Mom’s district contract. Student safety is paramount and it cannot be judged by newspaper accounts and public sentiments. As an elected representative to the Board, I stand firm in my responsibility and accountability to see that our district operates in a legal and ethical manner in all of its business.
The school district’s attorney, Mr. Sherrod, is providing sound legal counsel to direct due process for review of Mr. Mom’s contract and all business contracts with the district. I would hate to have the district in litigation with Mr. Mom’s (or any other business) and lose because it didn’t abide by its contractual obligations. I implore the community to support the district’s fair and respectful treatment and review of its contract with Mr. Mom’s Transportation Services.
All of our businesses – minority owned or not – must be treated equitably.

5 thoughts on “Mr. Mom’s – Due Process Must Happen”

  1. Hi Johnny:
    Thanks for posting this.
    I completely agree with the approach, where realistic and practical, to support local small businesses.
    Clearly, the District has tried to make things work, in fact, I’d say the subcontract approach to Badger Bus was a very large accommodation, albeit unusual.

  2. I agree it’s important to support local businesses where practical and realistic.

  3. Thanks for posting this review.
    I do remember the presentations at several Board meetings, and there was much appropriate pressure to ensure local companies get contracts. I agreed with the Board’s actions to do just that.
    However, it seems any contract with any company must implicitly include that the drivers and vehicles be safe and maintained. I was surprised that the Board was not informed early that Mr. Mom’s vehicles were problematic. (Or were you and hid the information from the public?).
    If the Board did not receive timely information on these issues, then the Board must ensure that it be done. Did the administration know of these problems and did not inform the Board? Was the administration not informed that vehicles were failing inspections?

  4. Mr. Winkler:
    I do NOT appreciate your comment to insinuate that I was “hiding” anything from the public. I believe I have stated my position very clearly on my posting. Hindsight is 20/20. And so is “Tuesday Morning/Afternoon” school board members depending on what newspaper people receive…

  5. Sorry for my insinuation. “Hiding” was too strong a word, and “you” was not directed at you, specifically.
    The issue is the Board does have and is briefed on information that is not part of public meetings. That is, all you have discussions with staff (background information?). The public may be eventually informed of such discussions and transfer of information at some public meeting. I would also suspect that not all your (that is the Board member’s) interactions are recounted in a public forum.
    So the question is raised, were any of you informed of potential issues with Mr Mom’s significantly prior to the press publishing the information?
    If not, was the administration informed? If not, should the Board review communications with regulatory agencies involved so that it be informed so it can handle the issues proactively before our kids safety is jeopardized, and becomes an embarrassing article in the newspapers.
    If the administration was informed but did not appropriately transfer that knowledge to the Board, then the Board needs to take action.

Comments are closed.