The state auditor is recommending a series of changes in the way state officials strike deals to buy everything from computers to paper clips.
The Iowa Department of Administrative services oversees 530 “master agreements” for the purchase of goods and services for 41 different state agencies. The audit found staff in the Department of Administrative Services did not “adequately monitor” those agreements. The result? A competitive bidding process was not used for many of the things state government bought from 2007 through 2010.
In one case, the Department of Corrections spent $22 million over the past decade without having a “valid contractual relationship” with the vendor. The department may have improperly given up a significant chunk of money in copyright fees.
Governor Branstad has not seen the audit, but earlier this morning during his weekly news conference Branstad said, in general, he has asked his agency administrators to come up with “better approaches” to buying goods and services.
“We want to protect the taxpayers’ interest in this process,” Branstad said. “We want to come up with the most economical and efficient way to do things and we recognize that there’s significant change that needs to be made to do that.”
Mike Carroll, director of the Department of Administrative Services, issued a written statement, saying he welcomes the recommendations in the audit. According to Allen, some of the changes have already been made, while other purchase guidelines are being evaluated.