Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Bid for Modular Home Bought From Commissioner's Spouse

The Washington State Auditor's Office issued a finding against the King County (WA) Fire Protection District No. 28 for the following:
  • No Bid:  The District failed to solicit bids or declare that an $85,000 modular home it purchased from the spouse of one of the Fire District's Commissioners was available from only one source.
  • Conflict of Interest:  Even though the Commissioner abstained from voting on the purchase, the transaction represented a conflict of interest under state law.
  • Gift of Public Funds:  The District reimbursed the Commissioner $1,850.92 for the cost of a lot fee for keeping the modular home in its current location until the District obtains permits and relocates the home.  Without any written agreement, the Auditor noted that such reimbursements represented a gift of public funds, a violation of the State constitution.
Practical Tips:  
  1. Pay attention to the bid laws that affect your type of agency, and follow them.  
  2. Be sensitive to conflicts of interest, whether real or apparent.  If you have any doubts, it may be a problem.  Consult with the leadership of your agency and fully disclose any potential conflicts.
  3. Make sure you have a contractual agreement in place before you make payments. 
Audit Report:  Click here to read the three page audit report.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2011 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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