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A Closer Look into the City Phone Controversy

Updated: Monday, November 19 2012, 09:25 AM EST
In a report released last week about the purchase of new phones, the inspector general found evidence of potential government waste and secrecy.

Back in May when the mayor was asked about questionable spending on a city phone system, the mayor's spokesman adamantly denied any accusations.

Questions began to rise when City Comptroller Joan Pratt accused the mayor of secretly buying pricey phone equipment, even as her office was putting out bids for an overhaul of the city's phone system.

The mayor's office denied it did anything the wrong.

The accusations led to an investigation by the city's inspector general's office. Although the inspector general found that the mayor's office had the right to purchase new phones and equipment under an existing blanket contract, the inspector general also found the city did not seek competitive bids from other companies which might have resulted in savings of taxpayers' dollars.

The report also found the relationship between the contractors and the city to be quite "troubling" and a potential "conflict of interest."

Contractors from a company called Digicon worked for the mayor's Office of Technology and solicited quotes to purchase equipment from Digicon. Even though the report said the action was legal, the report raised significant concerns with the level of involvement Digicon had in making decisions that benefited it.

Since the contract was awarded, the former head of the mayor's IT office has resigned under a cloud of controversy involving his previous employer, the state of New York. Then, the Chief of Staff of the IT office also left after Fox45 uncovered a discrepancy in his ethics form.

The inspector general said the investigation into the mayor's office is ongoing. Digicon declined to comment on the matter.A Closer Look into the City Phone Controversy


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