RICHMOND, JULY 16 -- Virginia Tech's $90 million-a-year purchasing operations need "significant adjustment," according to state officials who have reviewed the university's procurement procedures.
Tech already is working to solve problems discovered during the internal review by the state's Division of Purchases and Supply, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The internal review said Tech's record-keeping system for purchasing was "slowly choking in paperwork," and state purchasing laws were violated on a "wide scale." Contracts were renewed without review, orders were placed under expired contracts, change orders were issued "far in excess of statutary limits" and single-source purchases seemed to have become the norm.
For example, a review of 52 randomly selected purchases made in 1985-86 showed that 63 percent were awarded on a sole-source basis, many without "properly costituted solicitation as required by law," the report said.
State law encourages competitive bidding or negotiations for goods and services to try to obtain the best prices for Virginia's taxpayers. However, in many cases, purchasing officials became involved only after the "requisitioning department had surveyed the market, obtained prices and analyzed and identified the desired product, usually on an informal basis."
The Tech review was completed in mid-November and its plan to correct the problems was initiated in mid-March.
Tech, in Blacksburg in Southwest Virginia, is the state's largest university with more than 22,000 students.
"Sometimes we didn't dot all the i's or cross the t's," William E. Hass, director of purchases and stores at Virginia Tech, said Wednesday. "But I feel comfortable we're doing a terrific job now."
The division's report, dated Nov. 19, was released Wednesday. It criticized Tech's top management for not giving purchasing operations proper attention.
Hass and a spokesman for Tech said that since the findings were brought to the university's attention, orders are being computerized and efforts are under way to link up with the state's computerized bidders' list.
In his response March 11, Haas also said that top management is on track with state purchasing laws and efforts will be made to reduce single-source purchases.