State audit critical of Town of Pawling’s competitive purchasing process

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ALBANY – A audit by the State Comptroller’s Office found that Town of Pawling officials did not always use a competitive process to procure goods and services.

It said the town did not develop detailed procedures for procuring professional services in their procurement policy; did not seek competition for professional services obtained from eight service providers paid $342,770 of the 10 professional services tested; and did not competitively bid sanitation services totaling $186,821.

Key recommendations included revising the procurement policy to provide a clear method for procuring professional services; procuring professional services by soliciting proposals or quotes at reasonable intervals; and complying with the town’s procurement policy and competitive bidding requirements when making purchases.

Town officials disputed some of the findings.

Town Supervisor James Schmitt wrote that pursuant to general municipal law, the procurement policy may contain circumstances when, or types of procurement for which, in the sole discretion of the governing body, the solicitation of alternate proposals or quotations will not be in the best interest of the municipality.” He also said the town’s policy was prepared with and reviewed by the town attorney.

On the issue of a sole source for sanitation services, Schmitt said that claims “is due to the fact that the next source is 20 miles away which would make hauling and gas costs prohibitive.”