Stephen Was Ranked Third on a List of Potential Vendors — But the Sununu Administration Gave Him the Contract Anyway
Concord, N.H. -- In a clear conflict of interest and example of cronyism, on Wednesday InDepthNH reported that Sununu’s Department of Education awarded a nearly $600,000 contract to John Stephen, a perennial failed Republican candidate who is considering another run for Congress — despite the fact that two other vendors received a higher rating than Stephen’s company. Read the story from InDepthNH here. During this week’s Executive Council meeting, Councilor Warmington pressed Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut on why Stephen, the owner of the Stephen Group LLC of Manchester was awarded the $592,710 contract to “provide the development and implementation of a comprehensive quality assurance system for the Vocational Rehabilitation program.” Out of five potential vendors, Stephen Group LLC was ranked third — but a committee of Sununu administration appointees gave him the contract anyway. InDepthNH: “Stephen Group LLC” KEY EXCERPTS: The Council approved a Department of Education Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation contract with the Stephen Group LLC of Manchester to provide the development and implementation of a comprehensive quality assurance system for the Vocational Rehabilitation program in the amount of $592,710. Warmington asked Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut why the contract was awarded to that organization when the selection committee had ranked it third out of five potential contractors for its oral presentation. She noted that the Stephen Group is owned by former Republican Congressional candidate John Stephen and explained that she was only providing oversight as a Councilor to ensure that the contract was not politically motivated and was in the best interest of the state. Edelblut, a former Republican candidate for governor, said he was not part of the internal process and that the committee chose the contract.