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Comptroller says Holley school district’s procurement policy inadequate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2019 at 7:43 am

HOLLEY – The State Comptroller’s Office is recommending the school district adopt a comprehensive written procurement policy, and ensure purchases are made with a procurement policy and that a competitive process is used.

That policy should ensure Holley’s gets the best price for goods and services, the Comptroller’s Office said in a report about the school district. (Click here to see it.)

The comptroller reviewed 42 purchases totaling $184,000 to assess how district officials procured goods and services that were not required to be competitively bid. The purchases and services included waste management, facility improvements, school supplies, professional services and road salt.

“We found that 39 purchases totaling $176,000 were made without evidence that officials used a competitive process or obtained the required written quotes,” according to the Comptroller’s report. “The remaining three purchases were properly made using State and Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) contracts.”

When officials do not seek competition to procure goods and services, there is an increased risk that goods and services may not have been obtained for the best value to ensure the most prudent and economical use of public money, the Comptroller’s Office said in its report about Holley.

Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent, sent a letter to the Comptroller’s Office on March 8, responding to the report.

He said Holley will be updating its procurement policy and will include procurement of professional services. The district will ensure a competitive process is used when spending district funds on products and services, with an internal claims auditor monitoring the process, Bartalo said in his letter.

The district’s administration, purchasing agent and internal claims auditor will all be thoroughly trained on the procurement policy, he said.

Bartalo discussed the audit with the Board of Education last month. He told the board the Comptroller’s Office was very positive about the district’s finances overall.

“There is always room for improvement,” he told the Board of Education. “This was a thin report (from the Comptroller’s Office). It was an outstanding report.”

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