Audits: Taxpayer money wasted

November 9, 2010 3:28:26 PM PST
The North Carolina Office of the State Auditor released two reports Tuesday that basically say sloppy record keeping and poor communication by state agencies is costing taxpayers.

The reports can be found at the following two links:

http://www.ncauditor.net/EPSWeb/Reports/Performance/PER-2010-7262.pdf

http://www.ncauditor.net/EPSWeb/Reports/Performance/PER-2010-7254.pdf

According to State Auditor Beth Woods' office, auditors looked at how state agencies comply with state contracts, how they monitor them, and how they maximize cost savings.

The investigation revealed that information about contracts is often not loaded into state databases for months, meaning agencies don't know to comply with them.

Agencies are also allowed to purchase from non-contract vendors without fully documenting the reason, meaning they can circumvent potential cost savings.

In fiscal year 2008-09, state agencies purchased over $3.7 billion worth of items and services, but only $593 million of that came from vendors holding state contracts.

"So agencies may be out purchasing these commodities for some other price and not necessarily the best price," Wood explained.

Wood said it would be difficult to estimate how much the problems cost taxpayers overall every year, but her auditors did track a few specific examples.

They found the state could have saved $12,500 on printer toner cartridges if they had been purchased from the lowest price vendor, and the state could have saved an additional $41,211 if remanufactured cartridges had been purchased instead of new ones.

Auditors also looked at the purchase of batteries and said the state could have saved $1,204.

"We're missing out on a great opportunity," said Wood.

In its response to the audit, The North Carolina Department of Administration said it agreed with many of the findings and promised to take corrective action.

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