State audit critical of procurement policies of Mount Pleasant Blythedale school district

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ALBANY – Officials of the Mount Pleasant Blythedale Union Free School District did not always procure goods and services in accordance with board policies and applicable statutory requirements, an audit by the state comptroller’s office found.

Auditors examined purchases totaling $556,813 and found district officials could not support that they periodically sought competition for purchases totaling $478,613.

The review said officials did not revise purchasing policies to include sufficient guidelines for the procurement of professional services, and periodically did not use competition to procure services from professional service providers. It said the district used the same vendor for liability insurance for 18 years; heating, ventilation and air conditioning system maintenance for 12 years, and payroll services for nine years without seeking competition.

When officials do not seek competition, there is less assurance to taxpayers that procurements were made in the most prudent and economical manner.

The audit recommended that the district’s procurement policies including seeking competition at reasonable intervals for the procurement of professional services, and seek competition in accordance with policies and statutory requirements.

The district is responsible for educating patients of Blythedale Children’s Hospital. The district, created by the state in 1971, is the only public school district in New York that educates a hospital population.

The audit covered the period from July 1, 2020 to October 20, 2021.