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Audit shows contract missteps in Spokane Valley

The Washington State Auditor’s Office recently released an audit finding stating that the city of Spokane Valley failed to follow proper procedures when awarding two contracts.

Both contracts were funded by an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. When spending federal grant money, cities are required to verify that the company receiving the money is in good standing, either by having the company sign a document saying they are not “suspended or debarred” or by checking the Excluded Parties List that includes all companies banned from doing business with the federal government for whatever reason. In both cases that requirement was not followed.

Both were small projects of less than $50,000, said city Finance Director Mark Calhoun. One contract was for bike lane restriping and the other was a consultant contract involving the city’s Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan.

“We used a purchase order instead of a typical contract,” Calhoun said. “The contract itself includes the necessary language. If we had used the standard contract, we would not have had an issue.”

Neither of the companies involved was on the Excluded Parties List, Calhoun said, and steps are being taken to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again. “It’s just using the contract we already have in place using the language we already have in place,” he said. “That’s the fix.”