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NY comptroller cites Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES on professional services contracts

An audit by the Office of the New York State Comptroller questioned Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES’ practices in obtaining professional services.

The report of the audit was released in March. The goal of the audit, which was from July 1, 2017 to Dec. 12, 2018, was to “Determine whether professional services were procured in a manner to ensure the prudent and economical use of public money in the best interests of taxpayers.”

It was found BOCES officials did not create procedures and policies on getting professional services, the report said. The report said state general municipal law demands that boards adopt written procedures on procuring goods and services not subject to competitive bidding requirements.

While the BOCES’ board of education has taken on a procurement policy, the report said, the policy “does not require soliciting competition, such as written proposals or quotations” when securing services. It was noted officials also didn’t have formal procedures on looking for competition for services. Employees do not always use competition for services or document enough reasons to show why the chosen vendor for a service was a reasonable use of public money or keep sufficient documentation for picking and giving contracts, the report said.

“Employees informed us that they were told documentation could be discarded after contracts were awarded, when requested,” the report said.

The report said BOCES received professional services from 49 providers, coming to around $1.9 million.

“We found that BOCES sought competition for its external auditor services, as required by law,” the report said. “However, BOCES officials procured the services provided by the remaining 28 providers (totaling approximately $1.85 million) without any evidence that they sought competition.”

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