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Budget director’s brother’s company proposed $5 million state project

SpecialKRB / flickr

A company run by the brother of Michigan’s budget director proposed $5 million dollar project that is now part of the state budget. And his company is now bidding to win the contract.

The contract is to run pilot projects to test privately managing public schools technology. The idea came from iSchool Campus, which is run by Budget Director John Nixon’s brother.

John Nixon says he told the governor’s office, the Legislature, and his staff that he would not and could not play a role in deciding which company gets the contract. And he says he’s made sure there is no conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict.

“In creating the firewall, I notified the folks that needed to be notified, and I have not been part of any discussions with the company, the legislators, or anybody else in crafting this proposal…

“Apparently six or seven companies have bid on this contract,” said Nixon. “And so it’s not that my brother’s company got some sort of a sweetheart deal to come in and get this contract.”

Nixon is in charge of the state Department of Management, Budget, and Technology. The bid is being supervised now by the state Department of Education, which is expected to make a decision in the next couple of weeks.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.