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Audit faults procurement procedures of Carle Place water officials

The Carle Place Water District's water tower is

The Carle Place Water District's water tower is seen in this file photo from Aug. 17, 2012. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The state comptroller's office has faulted the Carle Place Water District for failing to seek competition when it procured goods and services that were not subject to bidding.

District officials disputed some of the allegations in the wide-ranging audit, but in a letter addressed to the state comptroller's office, water district chairman Timothy Stellato said they are developing a plan to address the audit's recommendations.

The audit, released April 10 by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, examined procurement practices from Jan. 1, 2012, through October 31, 2013.

Auditors said eight of nine professional service contracts reviewed were awarded without competition.

District officials did not enforce a policy that quotes be solicited for purchases below competitive bidding thresholds, and they did not always receive quotes for those purchases under bidding thresholds, auditors found.

"As a result, the best value for goods and services may not have been obtained, resulting in unnecessary costs to District taxpayers," auditors wrote.

District officials "continued to use the same professionals year after year without seeking competition and may not have received these services at the most favorable terms or for the best value," auditors said.

In response, district officials said there were some services that could only be provided by one company, so the purchases were exempt from the quotation requirement.

Auditors advised the district to revise its policies so district officials award professional service contracts only after soliciting competition. They also urged the board to amend its policy to address the documentation to be retained for emergency purchases and sole source vendors.

Stellato said the district will revise its procurement policy so proposals are requested every five years for professional services. The district also will require, for emergency purchases, that documentation be attached to purchase orders, to confirm that purchase was for an emergency, Stellato said. It will also require written quotations for sole source vendors who are subject to the policy, he said.

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