Monday, May 17, 2010

New State Agency Violates Contracting Laws

An audit by the Washington State Auditor's Office found a number of violations of laws by the Puget Sound Partnership related to sole source contracts, convenience contracts, information technology purchases, and goods and services.

The Puget Sound Partnership is a new State of Washington agency created in 2007 to restore Puget Sound.  

Highlights of some of the findings in the 16 page audit report include the following:
  • Sole Source:  Failure to advertise an intent to award a $33,300 sole source contract.  The state law threshold for such advertisement is $20,000.
  • Payment of More Than Contract Amount:  Award of a $19,950 sole source contract to a law firm that was amended three times, increasing the total amount to $35,000.  The Puget Sound Partnership ended up paying $51,498, even though the contract was not amended to that amount.  The agency was also required to obtain approval from the State Attorney General's Office to use outside legal counsel, something that did not occur.
  • Lack of Competition for Roster Work:  After advertising and awarding 35 convenience consultant contracts, the agency did not consistently seek competition from the firms on the roster before awarding actual work.  Work assigned was not equitably distributed to firms on the roster, nor did all firms on the roster have the chance to compete for specific work.
  • No Competition on Purchases and Gifting of Public Funds:  The agency did not competitively procure various promotional items that were given to staff members, as well as elected and appointed officials.  Giving away such items violates state law on recognition awards.  They also spent almost $2,500 on catering for a private reception in violation of state law.
 Click here to read the complete report.

No comments: