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Two new city audits find continuing contracting problems

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – State Auditor Susan Montee says two more St. Louis city departments are not following city contracting policies by failing to adequately document why contractors and programs are receiving money from the city.

Montee released her reviews of the city's Information Technology Services Agency and the Community and Economic Development Offices on Monday - the latest in a series of reports started after a successful petition from the Green Party.

She says the problems found in the latest audits are similar to those found in other departments. For example, the Community Development Association required new recipients to bid for the funds it has available to distribute - but organizations that had received funds in the past automatically got them. And an IT contract that was originally $194,000 in 2006 more than doubled the next year without any explanation.

There is no way to know if the city could have saved any money by choosing different vendors, Montee said. "If we don't bid, we don't know. And so we don't take the extra step and say, was this too much or was this not too much?"

Montee sped up the review of the information technology department after former director Mike Wise came under fire for pushing a network services contractor to give his son a paid internship with the company.

"I can say that without adequate documentation we're all just a shot in the dark as to what could or couldn't have occurred," she said after being asked if Wise made it a policy to hire friends and family in the office.

Wise resigned in December. Montee says she is satisfied with the response of both departments to her recommendations. Find all audits of city of St. Louis departments here

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