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Public Works Board OKs contract for Hickey management Losing bidder questions award given to Colo. firm


TC An article in The Sun yesterday incorrectly identified the chairman of Youth Services International Inc., a company that bid unsuccessfully for the contract to operate for the state the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for juvenile delinquents. The chairman's name is W. James Hindman.

ANNAPOLIS -- The state Board of Public Works approved yesterday a $50.8 million contract for a Colorado firm to run the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for juvenile delinquents, but not before debating questions of money and integrity.

And much of that debate centered on issues raised by W. Charles Hindman, whose company, Youth Services International Inc., did not win the contract despite having bid $10 million less than Rebound, the Colorado firm.

"I have no desire for controversy," said Mr. Hindman, founder and former president of Jiffy Lube Inc. and a friend of Gov. William Donald Schaefer. "I believe I had to make you aware of the great mistake that is being made here today."

He wondered whether the Department of Juvenile Services, which awarded the contract, was not against the boot camp style of program his company proposed.

He also suggested his ties to the governor may have had something to do with his firm's rejection.

The boot camp approach may "work with certain kids," Mr. Schaefer allowed, but the "philosophical approach that you offered is just not where the state wants to go now."

Besides, the governor told his old friend, the "Sunpaper tabloid" would have questioned the entire process had Mr. Hindman won the contract.

The board accepted the contract award by a vote of 2-to-0, with state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein declining to vote.

Rebound, which runs the High Plains Youth Center in Brush, Colo., was awarded the three-year contract last week and will begin operating Hickey on Sept. 1. The state will continue to pay for maintenance and renovations at the 215-acre center in Baltimore County.

Governor Schaefer proposed privatizing Hickey's operations during his State of the State address in January. A report by the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center further fueled the move for privatization by describing Hickey as a violent place where juveniles received scant help in changing their ways.

Yesterday, Juvenile Services Secretary Nancy S. Grasmick cited Rebound's emphasis on educational and vocational programs, its attention to the emotional and social development of its charges and its stated commitment to a three-year "after-care" program to track juveniles once they leave Hickey.

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