State Auditor Mike Harmon keeps at it and keeps finding counties not complying with portion of KRS 424, the Public Notice Advertising statute.
Two weeks ago, we reported on Taylor County and the Auditor finding it wasn’t bidding out projects and services as required.
Now comes the Leslie County audit and there’s a good long lecture from the State Auditor:
The Leslie County Jailer did not comply with bidding requirements set forth in KRS 424.260: This is a repeat finding and was included in the prior year audit report as Finding 2018-007. The jailer purchased electronic cigarettes for use as commissary inventory from three vendors totaling $112,614 in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, without obtaining bids. Because electronic cigarettes were purchased from three separate vendors, the jailer was unaware of the requirement to obtain bids for this item. The jailer cannot be sure that electronic cigarettes were procured at the best price available without obtaining bids. 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.” Strong internal controls require that all invoices and contracts be maintained and reviewed to ensure that he county is paying the best and lowest price for goods/services. We recommend the jailer comply with KRS 424.260 by obtaining bids for all purchases involving expenditures of more than $30,000 except for those items exempted in the statute and the jailer ensure that any future state price contract purchases are reviewed thoroughly and adequate documentation is maintained. County Jailer’s Response: Since the previous audit, the Leslie County Jailer has complied with the bidding requirements set forth in KRS 424.260, and has had all contracts approved by the Fiscal Court.
Okay, that was the Jailer’s Audit. How about Leslie County Fiscal Court?
There was non-compliance as well on the part of Fiscal Court.
Said the Auditor: The Leslie County Fiscal Court did not follow proper bid laws and regulations: This is a repeat finding and was included in the prior year audit report as Finding 2018-003.
The Leslie County Fiscal Court did not properly follow proper bid laws and regulations.
• Two payments were made for road and bridge repairs that totaled $50,800 to one vendor without receiving any submitted bids.
• Two payments were made for the cleanup of illegal dumps that totaled $110,751 to one vendor without receiving any submitted bids.
• Bids submitted for steel driving were rejected and rebid, however no one rebid. During testing it was found that one vendor received $451, 597, but did not have an accepted bid in place.
• Bids submitted for asphalt were rejected and rebid, however no one rebid. During testing it was found that one vendor received $768,849, but did not have an accepted bid in place. Sufficient internal controls were not in place over the bidding process to ensure items and services were not purchased from vendors without first advertising or receiving bids when necessary on all purchases required to be bid.
By limiting competition or not receiving bids at all, fiscal court may not get the benefits of the best price available. Competitive bidding ensures the fiscal court procures equipment and services at the best price available.