More controversy Over Spending by Staffers Working for the Mayor's Office of Technology
Updated: Wednesday, March 19 2014, 10:45 PM EDT
Just a day after the Inspector General launched an investigation into fraud and abuse allegations aimed at private contractors working for MOIT, City Comptroller Joan Pratt grilled city finance officials about the purchase of $7,000 in new video phones amid concerns the office was trying to bypass the city's bidding system to upgrade the city's phone system.
"To your knowledge, do you know whether or not video phones have been purchased in this contract?" Pratt asked city finance officials.
According to invoices released by Pratt, the city purchased 20 Cisco video phones in August 2013. A city purchasing agent testified before the board that the phones were used to replace recently purchased videos phones that were broken. But Pratt says she is concerned the purchase is another attempt to wrest control of the phone system from her office, which the city charters says should be managed by the comptroller.
"It appears that they are moving forward, but when we are asking for specific questions to be answered we're not getting them," Pratt said.
Two years ago Pratt sparred with the mayor over a $600,000 purchase of phone equipment. An Inspector General's investigation found conflict of interest and possible waste of taxpayer funds tied to the purchase of the phone system.
But a flurry of developments, including the announcement Tuesday by the Mayor of new Inspector General's investigation into contracting fraud at MOIT, prompted Pratt to speak out again.