Another feather in the cap to require public agencies advertise in newspapers, not on a government website

You can learn a lot by reading those “small print ads in the back of newspapers” and now you can learn a lot by reading the Audit Reports submitted by State Auditor Mike Harmon. Not sure what led me to read comments about the audit of the Taylor County clerk. Perhaps it was because of “five comments” the Auditor had on the audit.

Made me wonder though. Would the Auditor have found these transgressions had it not been for print advertising and left to the county deciding what to put on its website and what to omit in public notice advertising arenas.

From the Auditor’s Letter to the Taylor County Fiscal Court:

“The Taylor County Clerk did not follow proper bid laws and regulations: The Taylor County Clerk did not properly bid a scanning and indexing service contract totaling $94,646. Sufficient internal controls were not in place over the bidding process to ensure services were not purchased from vendors without first advertising or receiving bids on all contracts required to be bid. The services provided under the contract fail to meet the criteria of professional services exempted from bid requirements. According to the county clerk, when the expense was approved with his amended budget by fiscal court, he did not know he needed to bid this service contract.

“By limiting competition or not receiving bids at all, the county clerk may not get the benefits of the best price available. Competitive bidding ensures the clerk procures equipment and services at the best price available.

“KRS 424.260(1) states, “[e]xcept where a statute specifically fixes a larger sum as the minimum for a requirement of advertisement for bids, no city, county, or district, or board or commission of a city or county, or sheriff or county clerk, may make a contract, lease, or other agreement for materials, supplies except perishable meat, fish, and vegetables, equipment, or for contractual services other than professional, involving an expenditure of more than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) without first making newspaper advertisement for bids.”

“According to the fiscal court’s administrative code, chapter 8.2-C, “Any expenditure or contract for materials, supplies (except perishable meat, fish, and vegetables), equipment, or for contractual services other than professional, involving an expenditure of more than Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000) shall be subject to competitive bidding. Except State Bid Pricing.” Section 8.2-D instructs the official to “open all bids publicly at the time and place stated in the advertisements and shall select the lowest and/or best bid by qualified bidder. If the lowest bid is not selected, the reasons for the selection shall be stated in writing.”

“KRS 45A.380 defines professional services as those provide by a “a licensed professional, such as attorney, physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, certified public accountant, registered nurse, or educational specialist; a technician such as a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or mechanic; or an artist such as a sculptor, aesthetic painter, or musician.”

“We recommend the county clerk comply with KRS 424.260 and the county administrative code by advertising for bids for purchases and services exceeding $30,000 and by documenting selection of a winning bidder for each project or contract.”

County Clerk’s Response: No response.

No response. Hmm, guilty as charged?

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