- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

A D.C. Inspector General’s audit has found that city employees made numerous mistakes in awarding a multimillion-dollar service contract for the District’s traffic-camera system that opened the city to potential legal action.

“A flaw in any component of the evaluation process places the District at risk for litigation, compromises the integrity of the evaluation process and limits the District’s ability to determine whether it is receiving the best value for the goods and services it procures,” the audit states.

The audit was released this month after a fiscal 2009plan said the Inspector General’s Office was “informed by a District official of potential irregularities concerning the award of the contract for the photo-radar program.”

City officials awarded a contract to Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions in December 2006.

If all options are exercised, the deal is worth $18.5 million over five years. It involves maintenance and support for automated cameras used to record pictures of speeding motorists and drivers running red lights in the District.

Among the audit’s findings were that members of a panel responsible for evaluating company proposals in 2006 made “numerous mathematical, classification, omission and category evaluation errors” and were not required to correct them.

Department of Motor Vehicles.

He also said disciplinary action that may have been taken against the members would be confidential because they are personnel matters.

The audit also states that the procurement office did not provide adequate oversight of the proposal evaluation process, but added that the contract was properly awarded.

“While our review analyzed the proposal-evaluation process for one contract award, the audit deficiencies uncovered a series of systemically poor proposal-evaluation procedures that were not defined in operational rules or procedures, and evaluation decisions that were not well documented,” the audit states. “The District is fortunate, in this instance, that the proposal-evaluation deficiencies did not affect the final selection outcome.”

In response to the report, the city procurement office noted the contract had cleared an appeal. However, officials said they are conducting a review of procurement and will add new policies and processes to help streamline the practice.

The office also said it is developing a training curriculum for employees and will create a manual to “serve as a comprehensive guide to the contracting and procurement process in the District.”

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