Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sole Source Review Panel Added to City's Procurement Process

Internal panel designed to help ensure compliance

The City of Richmond announced today its intent to step up efforts to ensure departmental compliance with procurement rules for city contracts. The enhancements are partly a result of an administrative review recently conducted by Mayor Dwight Jones' Administration following an Inspector General's report on the city's Procurement Services Department.

The Inspector General's report was issued as a result of a 2007 complaint alleging that the Procurement Services Department incorrectly awarded a sole source contract for the purchase of police vehicles. "Our internal review of this matter indicates that the Procurement Services Department did not properly follow procurement rules in the awarding of the contract in question. The Department took corrective actions within 60 days of the questionable procurement. However, our findings indicate that there still aren't sufficient safeguards to ensure full compliance. We are putting measures in place to fill any gaps that can give the appearance of an unfair or inequitable procurement process,” said city Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall.

The procurement in question took place in November of 2007. After receiving a protest, the Procurement Services Department canceled two years of the contract and announced intentions to re-compete the requirements in January of 2008. The matter was brought to the Jones administration's attention by an Inspector General report issued in July of 2009.

"Regarding the administrative review, corrective personnel actions already have been taken by the City and our review is ongoing at this time. Once we receive the Commonwealth Attorney’s findings, we will determine if any additional corrective or disciplinary personnel actions may be necessary," said Marshall. “Clearly, no one should ever knowingly circumvent City Code requirements. The enhancements we are putting in place will help ensure that no one knowingly or inadvertently circumvents those requirements.”

The City Code provides that a director may award a "sole" or "only practical" source procurement when competition is not possible. Going forward, any sole source procurements will undergo scrutiny of an internal review panel. The panel will involve a cross section of departmental personnel that will weigh the efficacy of any sole source awards made by any city department. The panel will be in place by the end of the 1st quarter of the fiscal year, and will be headed by the city’s new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Finance and Administration, Marcus Jones.

Contact: Tammy D. Hawley, (804) 646-3110