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7/6/2016 - Ganim Administration Acts to Clean Up Sloppy City Purchasing Practices in Bridgeport

Mayor Joseph P. Ganim

Bridgeport, CT

For Immediate Release        For More Information:

June 30, 2016            Av Harris (203) 814-7992

-Press Release-

Ganim Administration Acts to Clean Up Sloppy City Purchasing Practices in Bridgeport

Review of Purchasing Department Shows in Many Cases Ordinances not being Followed to Ensure Open and Fair Competitive Bidding Process for City Contracting

Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Joseph Ganim today is outlining steps his administration has taken to clean up sloppy city purchasing practices discovered from a recently completed review of the Bridgeport purchasing department.  The review was conducted by retired FBI Agent Ed Adams, in his capacity as an advisor to Mayor Ganim and as Director of Governmental Accountability and Integrity. It discovered numerous cases where city business was awarded to certain vendors in such a way as to avoid the transparency requirements of a fair and open competitive bidding process for city contractors.  Specifically, city business was awarded to certain vendors over time in increments smaller than the $7,500 threshold amount that would automatically require a competitive bid.  Thus, vendors were in effect being awarded no-bid contracts for sums far exceeding the limit for competitive contracts in a way that appears to violate city ordinance.   

In a memo to all City of Bridgeport department heads to be shared with all employees, Adams wrote, “We are still working on possible amendments to the Purchasing Ordinance and process. In the meantime, however, we have discovered that many purchases over the last few years do not comply with our purchasing rules with respect to bidding, qualified purchases, and signature authority. This memo covers authority to sign contracts, the rules regarding qualified purchases and the rules and thresholds for the bidding process. Effective immediately, the Mayor has directed the Purchasing Department to enforce, in accordance with its duty and authority, these rules with respect to all City and Board of Education purchases.

“This is another step in important government reforms that will deliver on my administration’s promise to bring a more transparent city government for the citizens and taxpayers of Bridgeport,” said Mayor Ganim.  “The city’s bid policy is designed to protect citizens while seeking a fair price for any good or service that will avoid favoritism when selecting a vendor.  We may need to look at some ordinance changes to modernize purchasing procedures, but at the very least we should follow the rules that are currently on the books. This will ensure proper procedure is met to protect the community and be fair to any local contractor seeking to do business with the city in the future.”

According to Bridgeport city ordinances, “Competitive bidding shall be used for all purchases of goods and general services exceeding the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500.00); provided, however, that purchases shall not be deliberately split in amount, artificially staggered over time, or be the subject of any other artifice in order to avoid the requirement to utilize the competitive bidding process, informal competitive quotation process or another purchasing method otherwise required.”

Mayoral advisor Ed Adams will continue to review purchasing practices in his ongoing efforts to create greater transparency within Bridgeport city government.  This includes making recommendations for reforms of purchasing ordinances and referring any troubling contract awards to outside legal authorities for investigation.