RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A report released by the North Carolina State Auditor’s Office on Thursday states the town manager of Franklinton hired contractors without going through the proper bidding process.
The report said from July 2020 to October 2021, the Town of Franklinton paid Franklinton Development $37,900 for work on two projects :
- Downtown development of an alleyway – $15,000
- Demolition and repair of two properties – $22,900
The town manager said he did not get bids on the projects in writing — rather he called “a few companies” to get quotes, the report states.
“Additionally, he admitted that he did not obtain written quotes due to the size of the projects and the limited interest he encountered, which he attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the report from Beth Wood’s office reads.
The town manager also said the small amount of money involved in the projects and time constraints led him to not properly obtain bids.
The state auditor said the town may have overpaid for the contracting services since the formal bidding process wasn’t followed.
The purchasing policy states that the objective of obtaining the required quotes is “…to provide
additional assurances that the citizen’s interests are protected…” and “…to assure the best
value is obtained for the Town…”
Investigators said the town manager, who has decades’ worth of government experience, said he thought the town was “using the State bid laws.”
He also told investigators he did not recall seeing the section of purchasing policy that details bidding requirements.
That purchasing policy states that “Request for Quotes are to be solicited in writing to a sufficient number of vendors to assure the best value is obtained for the Town” for any purchases greater than $10,000.
Following the investigation, Wood’s office recommends:
- The town manager should follow the formal bidding requirements for all purchases in accordance with the town’s purchasing policy.
- The town manager and town commissioners should ensure employees are aware of all town policies.
- The town manager and town commissioners should periodically review and revise the purchasing policy as needed to ensure it is current and reflects the needs of the town.
In response to the audit, the town said it recognized the town manager’s error and “will assure that all existing staff and future employees are properly trained on our policies.”