Daily News Blog, September 21, 2007
Comptroller Bill Thompson released an audit of Council purchasing from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005 (during ex-Speaker Gifford Miller’s tenure) that found the Council violated the city charter, its own rules and Procurement Policy Board rules, including spending $1.67 million on printing without entering into formal contracts.
“Instead of awarding a printing contract through competition, the Council intentionally split printing orders or made several small purchases for individual members to prevent the total from reaching the $5,000 threshold for competition,” Thompson said.
It’s a little bit techincal, but here’s the upshot, from Thompson’s report:
In general, the City Charter and the PPB rules require that contracts be awarded through competition. Instead?ith the exception of three purchases totaling $35,470?he Council split printing orders or made several small purchases by individual Council members to prevent the total from reaching the $5,000 threshold for small purchases above which would have required the solicitation of bids from five vendors or a full public procurement.
The Council also:
- Let permitted affiliated companies to submit competing bids against each other for the same proposa.
- Used miscellaneous vouchers for all Member purchases and ?hared?expenditures, totaling $3.49 million, violating a Comptroller’s directive.
- Broke Council and PPB rules when making OTPS expenditures from its Central Office by not obtaining bids on purchases that exceeded $500 (Council rules) and $5,000 (PPB rules).
- Did not use requirement contracts in 22 instances when procuring various items totaling $14,232.
- Made improper and questionable payments, totaling $54,939.
- Made improper and questionable imprest fund payments, totaling $2,837.
During the 2005 mayor’s race, questions were raised about Miller’s use of in-house mailings. He defended the practice - which, it should be noted, is a routinely engaged in endeavor - as legal.
UPDATE: Thompson spokesman Jeff Simmons said no evidence of criminality was found in the audit, and thus it was not forwarded to DOI. (Yes, that’s fixed. Writing too fast. Sorry).