Just two weeks after approving professionally transcribed minutes from a controversial June meeting, the Northern Cambria school board voted unanimously to send the document to the state Ethics Commission.

Solicitor Gary Jubas asked the board’s permission to submit the document along with a request for an investigation into supposed bid-rigging on the part of Delvin Lockard, one of the board’s members.

Lockard, a self-employed cement-contractor, disclosed that he offered Mid-State Construction the use of his equipment at no cost before the contractor submitted the low bid on a $13.5 million renovation that is almost finished at the elementary/middle school.

The action may have given the Altoona contractor the ability to submit the lowest bid, and board members are seeking the state’s opinion on the matter.

“If we’re going to err, we’re going to err on the safe side,” Jubas said. “This is being submitted to the Ethics Commission because of what was disclosed by Mr. Lockard at the public meeting.”

Lockard, who was not present Thursday, said he supports the board’s action.

“It was my suggestion to do that in the first place,” Lockard said, maintaining his action is common business practice. “If I had been at the meeting, I would have voted right there with them, because I want to know the answer.”

Meanwhile, Lockard is fighting to obtain audiotapes from the past five months’ meetings.

He said the district has refused to hand over the tapes, citing district policy. According to Superintendent Thomas Estep, only board-approved, written minutes transcribed by the board secretary are recognized as official, public documents.

“I just want the tapes in case I have to go to court,” Lockard said. “I have to prove why (the board) did this.

“I need those tapes to win,” he said.

Lockard said he is prepared to fight over the tapes in court.

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