Monday, July 8, 2013

Agency Violates Selection Processes and Conflict of Interest Provisions

Using federal funds, a small fire protection district had one of its elected commissioners draw plans for a building to house fire trucks.  The district also hired a contractor owned by another commissioner to build the building,   In the process, the district skirted both consultant and contractor selection requirements and violated conflict of interest laws.

Audit finding:  Here's the audit finding the Washington State Auditor's Office recently wrote about the practices of the Klickitat County Fire Protection District No. 15:
  • Bidding violation:  State Law requires the District to seek formal bids on public works projects of more than $20,000. The District stated they called local construction companies and informed them of the project; however, this did not meet the requirements for a project of this size. 
  • Conflict of interest:  State law prohibits a conflict of interest with a municipal officer. The District paid the Commissioner’s company $66,000 during the audit period for this project.
  • Consultant competition required:  State law requires that all architectural and engineering services be competitively procured. The District used architectural services from a Commissioner without publicly advertising a request for services.
  • Prevailing wage violations:  State law requires contractors to pay prevailing wage on all public works projects.  While we saw evidence of certified payrolls from the contractor, the District did not ensure intents and affidavits were filed with the State Department of Labor and Industries and thus cannot be sure the contractor complied with prevailing wages requirements.
More information:  Click here to read a copy of the audit report.  The District indicated they were not aware of the procurement and conflict of interest laws applicable to the project.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2013 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

No comments: