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Wednesday morning's headlines

Fighter Refuel.jpg
The Air Force needs new refueling tankers to replace the aged fleet. The lucrative contract is a dogfight between Boeing and EADS, the parent company of Airbus.

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Tanker Decision May Come Tomorrow 
  • Seattle Schools Under Scrutiny for Fraud
  • Town Wants Proof of Citizenship for Contract Workers

Boeing or EADS? 

We may know by tomorrow if Boeing or Airbus-parent EADS gets the lucrative Air Force tanker contract. The Herald of Everett's Gale Fiege reports Senator Patty Murray expects a decision Thursday, and says she's ready for to fight if the $35 billion contract doesn't go to Boeing:

"I can't believe our country would make a decision to go with a company based in a foreign country. I won't tolerate it," Murray said of European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS), the Airbus parent that is offering an A330-based tanker. Boeing is offering the Air Force a tanker based on the 767 jetliner built in Everett.

Murray told The Herald she also opposes a split contract, citing high maintenance costs for two different systems. The Air Force has set Thursday afternoon for an official call to Murray. 


Seattle Schools Investigates Possible Fraud

The Seattle Times reports Seattle Public Schools may have spent $1.8 million on contracts for services it either didn't receive or which could have been carried out by staff.  The Times' Steve Miletich and Linda Shaw report the findings, from a state audit, have been turned over to Seattle Police and King County prosecutors:

"This is an extraordinarily serious event," School Board President Steve Sundquist said Tuesday. "From my perspective, it is unacceptable and it will be damaging to public confidence."

Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson says she ordered the audit of the district's Small Business Development Program as soon as she was made aware of potential fraud. That program helps minority and female-owned businesses compete for contracts. A longtime manager who oversaw that group has moved to another job, while the program manager is under investigation for allegedly diverting funds.


Town Requires Contractors to Verify Workers are Citizens

The town of Woodland in Clark County is requiring its contractors to prove workers are U.S. citizens. The Woodland City Council voted yesterday to make contractors use a system called E-Verify, according to The Daily News of Longview:

Council members said it's important to ensure companies doing business with the city follow federal law. Public Works Director Steve Branz, however, said he worries some contractors may avoid Woodland because the requirement is a hassle.

The contract regulations apply to companies engaged in contracts greater than $10,000.