Audit: Walden Fire District failed to obtain quotes for purchases totaling $77,044

File photo of Walden Fire District apparatus. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
File photo of Walden Fire District apparatus. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

ALBANY – A recent audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office found that the Walden Fire District failed to obtain quotes for 27 purchases by the district’s procurement policy between January 1, 2016, and July 25, 2017.

According to the report, district officials did not seek multiple quotes for 27 purchases totaling $77,044 in taxpayers money.  Of that money, $18,746 was spent on vehicle repairs and maintenance from four different vendors.

“Officials did not document why they chose these vendors but told us that vendors were selected based on the proximity to the fire hall to reduce the time a vehicle is out-of-service,” the report said.

State auditors also found that multiple quotes were not obtained for $9,610 in heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance; $6,466 for uniforms; $5,333 for oxygen tank refills; and $4,415 for an upgraded surveillance system.

The fire district’s 2008 procurement policy requires officials to seek various written quotes depending on the purchase threshold.

Purchase contracts from $1,000 to $2,999 require two written quotes; purchases from $3,000 to $19,999 require three written quotes.

Public works contracts from $1,000 to $2,999 require two written quotes; and contracts from $3,000 to $34,999 require three written quotes.

Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, George Klein said in a letter to the comptroller’s office that the district understands the state’s position and will “most certainly make the adjustments to comply with our policy.”

The board intends to make changes to the procurement policy to give specific responsibilities to the board’s Treasurer.

“Who will then ensure that all written quotes will be attached to a bid sheet providing that bids were obtained or attempted to be obtained.  Verbal quotes will also be noted on the bid sheet,” Mr. Klein said.

The Walden Fire District is located on Pine Ridge Road and provides protection via Rescue Hose Company along Walden Avenue to the New York State Thruway.

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