New York education buying criticised

19 May 2009

20 May 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie

The New York City Department of Education has been told to improve its procurement practices in an audit released yesterday by State Comptroller Thomas P DiNapoli.

The audit focused on 291 contracts totalling $342.5 million (£220.7 million), awarded without competition over the past three years.

The department did not always document its justification for awarding non-competitive contracts, according to the report. It recommended all required documentation is obtained before non-competitive procurements are approved.

"There are rules to make sure that taxpayers don't pay too much for goods and services," DiNapoli said in a statement.

Auditors found 59 per cent of the non-competitive contracts had a start date that was before the date of the committee meeting during which the contract was approved.

It said one non-competitive contract in the amount of $16.5 million (£10.6 million) for strategic, advisory and financial management services was approved on 1 June 2006 but was not advertised in the City Record until 25 days later, "undermining the openness of the procurement process".

SMmay2009

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