A San Jose city audit released September 10 found that the city has had lax oversight of consulting contracts, and that officials have ignored contract terms, changed payments without authorization, and paid vendors hundreds of thousands of dollars more than required.
The audit also found that some consultants were hired and rehired without competitive bidding, allowing the same vendor in one case to advise the city on gang prevention for more than two decades without any competitive bidding.
The audit said the city parks department has paid Community Crime Prevention Associates $2.5 million in 30 contracts over more than 20 years, making the consultant a “major stakeholder” in the city program, perhaps losing its “edge” as an outside observer.
The audit also found cases of unauthorized or excess payments to consultants. A software contract, originally $30,000 for one year, had annual extension options through 2010. But the city continued paying the consultant $600,000 after the contract expired, without City Council authorization.
The audit also found the city overpaid for some services. In one contract, a 1-cent difference in what the city agreed to and what it actually paid per processed incident resulted in $30,220 in overpayments over a number of years. (Source: San Jose Mercury News, September 10.)