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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Procurement controversy - Broken Hoboken Housing Authority alleged, contested

HUD review slams Hoboken Housing Authority procurement practices
A review of the procurement practices by the Hoboken Housing Authority under former Executive Director Carmelo Garcia was completed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds and oversees the agency. Copies of the review were released by HHA Board Chairwoman Dana Wefer on Thursday.

The review criticizes the Authority for a lack of required documentation surrounding the eight randomly selected contracts it examined. It also questions the use of emergency solicitations to award large contracts without going to bid.

The most critical section of the report dealt with emergency contracts awarded to Haddad Electrical and All Risk after Superstorm Sandy.

“Even after 18 months later,” the review stated, “HHA have been using these same contractors on an as needed bases [sic] by way of purchase orders. It appears that by issuing these purchase orders, HHA has circumvented the bidding process.”

Overall, the review said, the Authority had engaged in over $3 million of “unjustified non-competitive procurement.”

In a statement released Thursday, Wefer emphasized that “these findings are just for the eight files HUD sampled. Extrapolating this data to the whole of the HHA lays bare how dire the situation is.”

In an email to the Hoboken Reporter, Garcia stridently defended himself, saying that the Authority’s lack of record-keeping resulted in part from the non-cooperation of a board that opposed and ultimately fired him.

“What the Chairwoman fails to admit is that between the two devastating Natural Disasters & the board's lack of support,” wrote Garcia, “their obstructionism for the last two years created these situations.”

As a result of the review, HUD has imposed a zero dollar threshold on the agency, meaning that it must approve every service contract procured by the HHA. HHA must also complete a Corrective Action Plan to address its procurement issues within 30 days.

In addition, HUD's Burgos mentioned that all Commissioners “must complete the state required training courses” required upon beginning their term on the board. She suggested that the board receive extra training in procurement rules in light of its review.
Read the whole story at the link above.

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