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Basis for Investigation:
• On April 21, 2022, the City Council issued Resolution No. R-22-201 in order to “commence an investigation into procurement practices and activities involving the Mayor’s Office of Utilities (the “Utilities Office”), including without limitation the selection of Smart+Connected NOLA for smart cities and public Wi-Fi deployment in New Orleans.” • Notwithstanding the City Council’s request, the OIG had initiated an investigation into the awarding of this RFP and the potential issues surrounding the award.

The OIG Recommendations:
• The OIG recommends that all City agreements, including pro bono MOUs, be uploaded into BRASS. In addition, the OIG recommends that all City agreements should include the OIG cooperation clause, as shown below, which was not present in the MOU with IGNITE: The Contractor will abide by all provisions of City Code § 2-1120, including but not limited to City Code § 2-1120(12), which requires the Contractor to provide the Office of Inspector General with documents and information as requested. Failure to comply with such requests shall constitute a material breach of the contract. The Contractor agrees that it is subject to the jurisdiction of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court for purposes of challenging a subpoena.

• City Code Sections 2-691 and Section 2-692 do not exempt a person in Rhodes position from reporting an interest in a business that has no income. However, to provide further clarification, the OIG recommends the City Council revise City Code Section 2-692(b), which establishes dollar value categories for required disclosure, to read “Category I: $0 to $5,000.00”, rather than “Category I: less than $5,000.00”.

• The OIG also recommends that the City should require companies and persons who volunteer their services to the City to complete the same annual Louisiana Ethics training that is mandatory for public employees pursuant to La. R.S. 42:1170. The City should also require companies and persons who volunteer their services to the City to adhere to the following provision of La. R.S. 42:1121(B)( 1) in the same manner required of public employees providing assistance to others after termination of their public service.

BRASS is the City’s critical financial infrastructure. In 2021, the City processed approximately $1.1 billion through this procurement and accounts payable system. Because of the serious issues in the prior audit reports and the critical nature of BRASS, the OIG deemed it necessary to conduct this audit to determine if BRASS resolved those past issues and if the new internal controls were designed and implemented properly and operating effectively.

What the OIG Found:

The OIG reviewed procurement and disbursements information from July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 and found the City made significant improvements and implemented critical internal controls that operated effectively. The OIG noted:

The City implemented proper segregation of duties within BRASS. The Purchasing and Accounts Payable Departments properlyapproved the necessary procurement and disbursement documents (e.g. requisitions, purchase orders (POs), invoices, etc.) and those approvals were issued by different employees.

BRASS contained an appropriate audit trail. BRASS adequately documented when purchases were created and approved, and by whom. Contracts, POs, invoices, disbursements, and related documents were maintained in BRASS and easily accessible.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the City of New Orleans conducted an inspection of  competitive bidding processes within the City of New Orleans (City) Bureau of Purchasing.

The purpose of the inspection was to examine whether City procurement practices for competitive bidding encouraged a level of competition among potential contractors that was consistent with the law and best practices. Competition is an important element in public procurement, ensuring that governments receive the goods and services they need at the best price.

Evaluators reviewed data on the number of responses the City received for Invitations to Bid (ITB), Requests for Proposals (RFP), and Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) issued in 2019 and 2020 in order to identify how many did not receive at least three responses.

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) continuously monitors the City’s procurement activities and provides technical assistance and feedback to improve the City’s procurement practices. The purpose of this review was to determine whether the Procurement Office, contract managers in city departments, and city contractors acted in accordance with policy requirements related to interim progress reporting, post-contract evaluations, and post-contract disclosures.

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review of the procurement documents issued by the City to obtain goods or services from third-party vendors. The purpose of this review was to provide feedback to the Procurement Office and contract managers in all departments and agencies to improve the quality of the City’s procurement processes and documents.

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) followed up on its 2011 report “City of New Orleans Purchasing and Accounts Payable Internal Control Performance Audit.” The purpose of the follow‐up of was to determine if the City implemented corrective actions in response to problems identified in the original report.

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an inspection of the City’s 2012 appropriations for sanitation and parks and recreation services as a follow-up to the budget benchmark performed during our office’s review of the City’s 2009 budget process. The objective of the current inspection was to replicate the 2009 benchmark for the two specified service types to determine whether the City’s 2012 appropriations were discrepant from that of the benchmark municipalities, and if so, whether any discrepancies were relatively larger than the differences revealed in 2009.
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