At the May 14, 2019 meeting of the of School Board of the School District of Indian River County, Board members approved, with a vote a vote of four to one, a License Agreement between the School Board of Indian River County and Vero Beach Little League Baseball, Inc. for Rosewood Magnet School Baseball Fields. [ J.A. Thompson Baseball Field]. The Superintendent recommended approval.
A panel of five people selected Vero Beach Little League Baseball over the Cal Ripken Baseball Program, who has held the previous five year lease. The selection was made based on both organization’s written response to the District’s “Requests for Letters of Interest.”
Five categories included in the Requests included a Cover Letter, History and Background of the Organization (40 points), Related Experience of Lessee (20 points), Organizational Leadership (20 points) and References (20 points).
Vero Beach Little League Baseball, Inc. was assigned its Employer ID NO. on October 29, 2018.
It is only seven months old.
The last Vero Beach Little League program, Indian River County National Little League became inactive in 2014.
The form below was their last Annual Report filing in 2013.
When Little League closed down in Vero Beach in 2014, the Cal Ripken Baseball Program filled that void by absorbing its assets and allowing Indian River County students to play in the League. In 2018, the Cal Ripken program had roughly 420 student players.
Cal Ripken Baseball is a Division of the Babe Ruth League. The Babe Ruth League is an international youth baseball and softball league with a combined size of well over one million players with some 60,000+ teams in more than 11,000 leagues and over 1.9 million volunteers.
The Program here has been operating successfully for five continuous years.
Again, Vero Beach Little League Baseball, Inc. became an entity on October 29, 2018.
It is roughly seven months old.
It is not the same entity that existed five years ago.
At the meeting, Board Member Dr. Mara Schiff that this is “not something I know about” in terms of “between this and last…”
Board Member Jacqueline Rosario indicated that she was pleased Little League has “resurfaced in our community.”
Board Member Teri Barenborg made reference to “the former Little League.”
The Public does not know this is a new group and the Board is swept up by the “Little League” brand.
Under “Experience of Lessee,” Jason Pomar, V. P. Vero Beach Little League Baseball wrote:
“For several decades our local boys and girls have had the opportunity to play Little League Baseball or softball in Vero Beach…Vero Beach Little League Baseball has had a longstanding positive relationship with the City of Vero Beach and Indian River County.”
When School District Purchasing Manager Jeffrey Carver was asked about the experience of the lessee he indicated the “data was not specific to” the Vero Beach Little League Baseball, Inc. “Much of the historical information provided by Vero Beach Little League Baseball was Little League nationwide. It wasn’t specific to the local history…”
Wouldn’t you think it somewhat suspect that GA (Greg Aherns) ranked Cal Ripken 30 on history and background when three others ranked them at 40 and another ranked them at 39. Possible points were 40.
|Valuation Criteria||Possible Points||PC||BJ||GA||JU||AR|
|History and Background of the Organization||40||40||40||30||39||40|
In terms of total points points combined, Mr. Aherns gave Cal Ripken 90 points out of 140.
The others were 130, 103, 131 and 127. Does Mr. Aherns have an agenda?
The Board should look into whether scoring was a fair process?
Why were the Requests for Letters of Interest conducted in the first place?
Because of this October 23, 2018 email from Michelle Simons, School District Facilities Specialist to Derek Muller, organizer of the (IRC) Cal Ripken Baseball program, not only confirming the renewal, but also indicating the District wanted to enter into a 10-year renewal, as opposed to the previous five-year license. Note the Subject: Agreement – Rosewood Field
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Simons, Michelle <Michelle.Simons@indianriverschools.org>
Date: Tue, Oct 23, 2018, 4:39 PM
Subject: Agreement – Rosewood Field
To: Derek Muller <email@example.com>
Good Afternoon Mr. Muller,
I received your voicemail message yesterday and I apologize for just getting back to you today. Please find attached the current Agreement, which is valid through May 13, 2019. The Facilities Department will be in touch with you shortly after the holidays regarding the agreement renewal, which at the direction of the Assistant Superintendent of Operations will be a 10-year agreement.
Also, in the coming weeks the School District will be issuing a check to Indian River Sports Complex for the annual contribution for utility costs. At your convenience, could you please provide a letter requesting the annual contribution from the District? I have attached the previous letter for your reference.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
6055 62nd Avenue
Vero Beach, FL 32967
According to one reference, crillylaw.com.au, Bainbridge, Australia wrote, “It is a surprise to many of our clients that the exchange of emails can constitute a binding Contract. The courts are frequently holding people to these Contracts and it is a topic that requires some careful consideration in times where email is the dominant method of communication.”
But then, on Thursday, January 10, 2019, roughly three months after Ms’ Simmons’ email, John Teske, Assistant Superintendent of School Operations, left a haughty voice mail for Derek Muller, organizer of the (IRC) Cal Ripken Baseball program, of which we have the recording, stating that he [Mr. Teske] had “had to get some time with Dr. Rendell (Superintendent) to meet with him and discuss the options…. we are going to not renew your contract. I know that’s something you do not want to hear…its not going to please you. We want to move in a new direction…You’ve been good tenants but we want great tenants. We need to explore other organizations…”
It was because of Ms. Simon’s email and Mr. Teske’s voice mail that led Dr. Rendell and Mr. Teske to decide on conducting the Requests for Letters of Interest process.
This was out of line based on Ms. Simon’s email.
Did the School District break a contract?
When Board Member Teri Barenborg asked School District Attorney what she thought about the email she said she “had not seen an email on that issue” but “from a legal perspective the the School Board is not legally obligated to bid out.”
This should have been pressed. The matter is not whether not whether the School Board “is not legally obligated to bid out,” it is about if an email is a contract and was there wrongdoing by the District in canceling the “Contract.”
Closing comments by School Board Chairman Laura Zork, the lone vote against Vero Beach Beach Little League Baseball :
” If our community members cannot trust our word when we they tell them something, I think it is a shame.
If we are going to tell someone we are going to do something…we have to stand by our word. To me, it’s all about honor.”
Vero Beach Little League Baseball has been in business roughly seven months. They have no history here and only serve Vero Beach students rather than the entire Indian River County. We believe the Ms. Simons’ email and Teske’s voice mail could be cause for more issues than Ms. D’Agresta spoke to and should be reconsidered. Remember, she said she had not read the email?
According to Mr. Muller, based on Ms. Simons email confirming a lease renewal in October 2018, the local Ripken League purchased approximately $ 4,500 – $ 5,000 in equipment preparing for the spring season at the J.A. Thompson Baseball Field, such as athletic equipment, a tin roof for a dugout and these light poles, to replace wooden poles, which the new Vero Beach Little League has asked them to remove ASAP.
This is a matter of social justice, for which we advocate.