Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 years. Beth is the author of Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test (FSG Books) which grew out of a radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students. Follow her @bethfertig.
Audit of DOE No-Bid Contracts Raises Questions
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
New York, NY —
The city's education department has declined to justify a large number of contracts awarded without competitive bidding, according to an audit by the state comptroller's office. The audit examined 291 no-bid contracts over a three year period. They were worth more than $342 million. Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum requested the audit, and says it raises questions.
GOTBAUM: Fifty nine percent had start dates prior to the committee meeting at which the contract was to be approved. That's their internal procurement policies and they didn't adhere to their own procurement policies.
One contract was awarded to a management consultant that was blamed for a sudden change in school bus routes. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says no-bid contracts are allowed in special circumstances, such as pre-K services. He says the audit found nothing inappropriate but that it made good suggestions about documentation.