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Audit Reveals $1 Million In Illegal State Contracts In 2010

John Ryan
01/25/2011

State auditors say the agency in charge of state purchasing and contracting spent more than a million dollars illegally last year. The Department of General Administration gave work to contractors without going through any competitive process. In some cases, work was given out without any contract at all. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

TRANSCRIPT

In order to squeeze the most public benefit out of taxpayer dollars, state law requires agencies to offer all but the smallest contracts up for competition. The Department of General Administration (GA) renewed several large contracts without doing so.

GA renewed a contract for janitorial and security services 15 times over the past decade without letting other firms try to win the work. The department spent more than $400,000 on that contract, with WFF Facility Services of St. Louis, last year.

It paid a similar amount to a Florida firm called Global Mail to sort oversized envelopes and take them to the Post Office. Global Mail's contract had expired the year before.

In a statement, General Administration says it agrees with the auditor's findings. GA says it has already improved oversight of its contracting practices. And GA says other serious problems must be addressed quickly, though they represent just 2 percent of the agency's spending.

In December, Governor Chris Gregoire proposed to merge General Administration and four other state agencies into a new Department of Enterprise Services. Gregoire says the move would save $18 million and eliminate 95 state jobs.

I'm John Ryan, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2011, KUOW

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