The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

October 23, 2013

Purchasing reforms proposed following audits over broadband

CHARLESTON — State purchasing director David Tincher is proposing reforms in purchasing laws following audits of the state’s use of federal stimulus funding for a broadband project.

The proposals include giving the state purchasing director the power to halt questionable contracts, and requiring the Purchasing Division to handle state agency purchases for projects funded by federal grants.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Tincher presented his proposals on Monday to a joint legislative interim committee that is examining state purchasing rule changes.

“Someone needs to be ‘the buck stops here,”’  said Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, who heads the committee. “You need the authority to step in.”

An audit by the Legislative Auditor’s Office found that the purchase of high-capacity Internet routers for small public facilities wasted at least $7.9 million.

A follow-up report said that purchasing laws were circumvented for a microwave tower project designed to improve emergency communications. The report also said state officials ignored a directive to stop construction of the towers.

“There isn’t a central agency that defines grants and has internal rules about this,” Tincher told the committee.

He said his office learned about the tower project and contract from media accounts.

Other reforms proposed by Tincher include expanding the state’s bribery law, transferring individual state agency purchasing officers to the Purchasing Division, limiting the list of state agencies exempt from the purchasing office, and increasing the number of audits of state agency purchasing practices.

The bribery law penalizes purchasing division employees and state agency purchasing officers if they break the law. Tincher suggested that other high-ranking state administrators who take part in purchasing decisions and violate rules also face penalties. Those officials could be held personally liable and face bribery charges if they receive kickbacks, according to Tincher’s list of possible purchasing changes.

He also proposed mandating training for state agency supervisors and purchasing officers and revising state law so that purchasing rules apply to services provided by companies, not just equipment and supplies sold to the state.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

  • Geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.
    A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link “probable.”

    April 12, 2014

  • Phares looks forward to retirement

    James Phares looked forward to the challenge and opportunity to help make a difference in a state education system under fire when he was hired in late 2012 as West Virginia’s schools superintendent.
    After 18 months, Phares will be stepping down on June 30 — which he said was set long ago as the day at age 61 that he’d walk with his wife into retirement.

    April 11, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads