March 31, 2010

Auditors: military department spent $1 million without approval

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By Erich Wagner
Erich@MarylandReporter.com

The state military department violated state regulations when it paid a contractor almost $1 million without approval from the Board of Public Works, according to a state audit released Wednesday.

The department, which includes the National Guard and emergency management agency, bought information technology services for nearly three years without a contract, legislative auditors said.

The Board of Public Works did approve a six-month contract for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in May 2004, with an option to renew it for up to two years, but the department neglected to renew the contract or seek BPW approval for the contracted services.

The audit said the military department “continued to procure these services from this contractor at six-month intervals using purchase orders, rather than procure a new contract, and did not submit the procurement to the BPW.”

The department did not dispute auditors’ findings, but pointed out that it had improved contract oversight in recent years.

The Military Department’s main procurement office took over MEMA’s purchasing authority in 2008, the response said, and the department has “taken action to correct this finding.”

The department added that it would obtain written contracts for all deals above $5,000 in the future, in accordance with state procurement rules.