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D.C. Council Examines Cancelled Youth Job Training Contract

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A controversial job training contract in the District of Columbia has been cancelled, but questions remain as to why the city fought so hard to keep the deal. 

A D.C. appeals board skewered the city's Office of Contracting and Procurement or OCP earlier this month, ruling to cancel a youth job training contract with a company called Synergistic, noting "pervasive failures and irregularities" with the award of that contract.

The head of OCP, James Staton, appeared before the D.C. Council yesterday to try and provide an explanation for what happened. 

"We have established rules in place, and the rules were not followed properly," he said.

But Wendy Allen Dixon-Dubois with the Urban Alliance, the group that originally protestED the contract, notes that OCP fought tooth and nail against Urban Alliance to keep Syngergistic's contract in place. Dixon-Dubois told the council that OCP cares more about covering up mistakes than doing what is right. 

"As the errors in the process were so numerous and so clear, it begs the question, why did the District fight to keep this award as it stood?" she said

Staton said the city's procurement office has made a number of changes, but he added many of the questions surrounding this particular contracting process will never be known because the OCP employees involved with the deal no longer work for the city. 

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