- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina state auditor says an agency’s failure to fix problems identified by an audit four years ago has resulted in more tax money wasted.

The News & Observer (https://bit.ly/1mhi1RY) reported the Division of Purchase and Contract is supposed to monitor public spending on supplies. The newspaper said a 2008 audit of the department found that it was overcharged $300,000 over a six-month period, and more than $11 million was spent without oversight,

A follow-up report was filed June 25 by State Auditor Beth Wood. She plans to present her new findings to a legislative committee in August.

The new audit says it found nothing to support the agency’s response to the 2008 audit that said there was no harm to taxpayers.

One of the department’s duties is to monitor purchases of office supplies made by state agencies under a term contract. After the 2008 audit, Purchase and Contract was advised to switch from a manual monitoring system to an automated system to better track vendor pricing.

According to the 2014 audit, the agency provided evidence of just one instance of manual spot check monitoring, between 2008 and 2013.

Because it did not make the switch to an automated system, $11.1 million - more than 40 percent of the purchases made - was spent without documented monitoring, according to the audit.

“It’s been five years, and we still don’t have monitoring in place of all the supplies that the state of North Carolina has been buying,” Wood said.

The Purchase and Division is taking measures to improve its spending oversight, according to a written statement by Bill Daughtridge, Jr., Secretary of the Department of Administration, of which Purchase and Contract is a part.

The agency has until the end of the fiscal year - June 30, 2015 - to resolve any issues with its process. After the end of this period, the division will be re-investigated, Wood said.

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