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EM cuts local agents out of bidding

Detroit grads and biz men seek relief from elected board

Detroit grads and biz men seek relief from elected board

“This is what emergency management looks like.”

By T. Kelly
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — “Detroit Public Schools (Emergency Manager) is putting us out of business.”

That was the testimony of four Detroit businessmen — all graduates of DPS — before the elected school board members Oct. 10, at their regular monthly meeting.

Allstate agents Dwight Glover, Carl Ramsey, Jason Worley and Maurice Jones explained that emergency managers Roy Roberts and Jack Martin have maintained a bidding procedure that disadvantages local business. The optional Employee Voluntary Benefits insurance coverage for teachers disallows local agents to bid on the work.

Roberts instituted the change.

The four agents say the contract went to Allstate — the same company now providing coverage.

However, the policies will now be serviced by AON Hewitt and not the four local agents who built the business. AON Hewitt describes itself on its Web site as “the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services.”

Teachers will now have to get their questions answered and register claims through a call center, or online, instead of through the the local agents who can meet in-person with the teachers, according to Ramsey.

“It’s the same product, same services. Basically the same thing I do without the face-to-face,” Glover said.

“You built your own business; now the district wants to grant an exclusive deal to AON Hewlitt, and take DPS graduates out of it?” Board President Lamar Lemmons asked.

Glover said the agents being cut out offered to resolve any issues the emergency manager might have in order to save the business and keep the commissions in Detroit.

“Maybe the district was tired of dealing with too many vendors,” he added, but noted the agents were willing to sit down and work out the EM’s issues. “We want the opportunity to deal with their problems.”

Steve Wasko, the EM’s assistant superintendent of community relations, did not respond to requests for comment.

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