The state controller's office Tuesday criticized the for payments made to vendors that were made outside a competitive bidding process.
Although many of the purchases were below the threshold required for competitive bidding, the audit by the office of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said, "As a result, goods and services may not be procured in the most prudent and economical manner and without favoritism."
"We appreciate that they came in and did the audit and we're happy to oblige" through changes the department has made, Giovanni Graceffa, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, said. "We take no exceptions to what they stated."
According to the audit, which covered from Jan. 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, for 20 randomly checked payments totaling $52,888 "no alternative quotes were obtained. The district paid these 20 vendors a total of $179,831 during our audit period. For example, the district paid a vendor a total of $3,350 to update decals on a district vehicle. This vendor was paid $21,280 during our audit period. While none of the individual claims paid to this vendor exceeded $5,000, without obtaining alternate quotes, the district cannot be sure this was the best price. In another example, the District paid a vendor $11,976 for building repairs without securing estimates from other contractors."
The audit also had minor complaints about control of access to financial software and data, saying too many people had access to records that they didn't need. "To help ensure the proper segregation of duties and internal controls, a computer system must allow users to access only those functions that are necessary based on their job descriptions and responsibilities. User accounts provide a means to identify and differentiate among users and, therefore, to control electronic access."
Documents released as part of the audit include a March 12 letter from Graceffa, who said the department established a new procurement policy as of Feb.27, and had taken steps to limit software access.