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One of the first objectives Diana Ellis had when she moved into the principal’s office at Orange Grove Middle School was to meet the faculty and staff. After the first official faculty meeting, she devoted time to talking to each teacher, aide, custodian, and cafeteria worker on an individual basis during the days before students arrived and classes began. She expected resistance to the change in principals. Because Mr. Wilson had been principal for 23 years, she expected teachers to challenge her authority and to question her approaches to instructional leadership. Diana was surprised to find faculty and staff friendly and accepting of the change in leadership. One of the teachers commented to her that it was “nice to have a principal who values instruction, something more than just maintaining order.” Because her focus was on instruction, Diana spent much of the first month of school visiting classrooms, making schedule adjustments and changes, and talking to school personnel about their needs and vision for the year ahead. It was two months before the first Good Behavior Banquet when the cafeteria manager approached her to ask about the new tilt skillet. She explained that she had given Mr. Wilson a list of specifications for the skillet last May. After the cafeteria manager left, Diana found the purchase order that Mr. Wilson left in the folder on her desk. It was already made out to Central City Food Service, but Diana was unable to find notes of paperwork that reflected bids from the major suppliers of cafeteria supplies and equipment. She returned the purchase order to the folder on her desk and paged the school secretary, who also was the bookkeeper, to come to her office. When Mrs. Bailey, the secretary/bookkeeper, reported to Diana’s office, she brought a copy of the last monthly financial report for the school. The cafeteria account showed a balance of $49,717. In addition to the purchase of a tilt skillet, the cafeteria account had to maintain at least $38,000 to support two months’ operating expenses. Diana was challenged to compare prices of tilt skillets that would total no more than $11,700. Diana pulled the purchase order for the tilt skillet prepared by Mr. Wilson from the folder on her desk. The cost of the skillet from Central City Food Service was $12,075. Concerned that the bidding process hadn’t been followed to support this purchase order, Diana asked the bookkeeper about the matter. The bookkeeper told her that Mr. Wilson hadn’t requested bids; he always preferred to do business with Central City Food Service. The secretary’s comment explained the contents of an envelope Diana found in the top drawer of the desk in her office. It contained a $150 gift certificate to an expensive restaurant in the business district of the city. The gift certificate was in a business envelope from Central City Food Service. A sticky note that read “Personal Property of John Wilson” was attached to the front of the open envelope. Diana knew that state law required adherence to bids laws whenever purchases greater than $7,500 were necessary. The bid process mandated development of specifications for the purchase, advertisement of the bid, and acceptance of at least three sealed bids opened in public as stipulated in the bid notice. Moreover, the State Code of Ethics for Educators prohibited principals from soliciting gifts or favors from vendors for “things of value.” A veteran principal told her that it was an accepted practice for principals to accept gifts of less than $300 from vendors. As long as the principals couldn’t be viewed as soliciting the gifts, they couldn’t be accused of violating the ethics code. Diana located the specifications form for the tilt skillet that the cafeteria manager had prepared the previous spring and submitted the advertisement for the item to the school district business office. On Thursday of the week that bids for the tilt skillet were solicited on Monday, a representative from Central City Food Service made a visit to the school. Diana missed his visit because she was in a classroom. However, when she returned to her office, she found an envelope on her desk with the note, “Enjoy a night out and dinner with your husband! I appreciate your business and hope to continue an established relationship with Orange Grove Middle School. Compliments of Central City Food Service.” The envelope contained a gift certificate for $100 to Angus, the most expensive steakhouse in town, and two tickets to a jazz concert valued at $60. Once all bids for the tilt skillet were received and opened in public, it was learned that one vendor submitted a bid lower than the Central City Food Service bid. Packer Foods Company submitted a bid of $11,500, a bid $575 less than the Central City Food Service one. Although the Packer Foods Company bid for the tilt skillet was less than the Central City Food Service bid, the Central City bid included a note that a five-year warranty would be included with the purchase. The Packer Foods Company bid included a three-year warranty. The assistant superintendent for business services turned to Diana. “Which vendor do you want to choose, Mrs. Ellis? Do you want to pay the lesser amount for the skillet with a three-year warranty? Or do you want to pay the higher amount justified by the five-year warranty?”