A new state audit says the N.C. Department of Administration is doing a poor job of managing an Internet-based procurement system that is supposed to save money through the use of established government contracts for basic goods and services.
State law generally requires state agencies to purchase supplies, materials and equipment from existing contracts overseen by administration department. Workers in other agencies buying supplies are supposed to use an E-procurement system that provides a searchable database of approved state contracts, using another vendor only if a contract for the particular good or service is not listed.
However, state auditors who reviewed the system found that workers at the administration department sometimes when as long as 18 months without updating information about new contracts in the system. That could lead other agencies not to comply with the requirement to use the established purchasing contract because they were unaware of its existence.
The auditors also found that the department didn’t have adequate checks in place to ensure that agencies were adhering to the purchasing requirements.
Another problem is that the administration department often had approved contracts for the same good or service with multiple vendors at different prices, causing state workers to sometimes violate the law by not buying from the lowest-priced vendor.
An example are the multiple state contracts for recycled printer toner cartridges. Auditors found that there were at least 24 products with multiple vendors and different prices, costing the state at least $12,500 by not making all the purchases from the lowest priced vendor.
In addition, many agencies were buying new toner cartridges at $120.65 under one approved state contract rather than buying the cheaper remanufactured ones for $28.37, wasting at least $41,211 on purchases of that single item, according to the audit.
State Contracts Audit.pdf