Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thompson: School supply costs don't add up

From the Daily News:

City Controller William Thompson has slammed the brakes on a $150 million Education Department contract that pays inflated prices to a private company for basic public school supplies.

Among the higher-than-retail prices Education Department officials agreed in January to shell out to Strategic Distribution Inc. (SDI) for custodial items are:
# $55.77 for thousands of Timex wall clocks - the kind found on every floor of every public school in the city. Drillspot.com is selling the same Timex model for $46.71.
# $233.24 for hundreds of DeWalt half-inch cordless drills for school custodians. The exact same model can be bought retail on Amazon.com for $164.49.
# $6,760 for A.O. Smith 100-gallon gas water heaters. The same model can be found at Shoptheplumbingstore.com for $4,636 - and that includes free shipping.
# $1,650 for new Oasis drinking water fountains, model FLF202PM. You can buy the fountain online from S.K. Culver Co. for only $1,529.

On average, SDI is charging 9% more for hundreds of common plumbing, electrical and building supplies than the school system would pay if it used an existing supplier contract authorized by the state's Office of General Services, Thompson said.

4 comments:

Lino said...

I taught "Theater Arts" (yeah, I know)for a couple of years in the early 80's while I established my career in the industry.

Since I had an extensive background in electronics two of the Principals in the High Schools where I worked asked me to handle the ordering of A-V equipment from the BoE's "G1" list.

Most of the vendors such as Sonocraft and AudioTronics charged list. I called them and asked why, their agents responded that the Board took as long as six months to actually pay for the items and they had to carry this as a sort of financing along with the large amount of paper work involved in dealing with the system.

I'am naturally skeptical of any business's interaction with a public agency, but here there is blame on both sides.

BTW: If there is interest in DoE waste I have a suggestion: Custodians. Why are we the only school system that still treats it's head janitors as independent contractors? The average DoE Custodian makes over $100K/yr often -alot- more and takes this money back to their crummy little homes in L.I. Putnam or Westchester counties...where incidentally, they would never tolerate such a corrupt and wasteful system.

There is NO excuse for this..only raw union power and corruption.

Taxpayer said...

Thompson should now send his investigators out to examine the prices charged for computers, from hardware, to software to accessories.

Like the items described in this post, the prices for computer related products are inflated. But, the inflation is far, far greater than 9%. Try double, triple, quadruple.

Try hugely inflated prices for OUTDATED, obsolete products.

Clearly, there is corruption involved.

I believe that an investigation will lead to prison terms.

Anonymous said...

Yawn...funny how Bill brings this to light just in time for the upcoming election.

How come he didn't blow the whistle on this earlier?

Because he hasn't the balls...or wouldn't have for very long.

Speaker Quinn would give him a quick trim!

Has he the "culyoons" to run NYC as its mayor?

Doubtful!

MY VOTE'S FOR AVELLA!

Anonymous said...

I know a few people who have done business with the city - they are lucky that's all they are paying! Basically, the city will say "I need X paperwork, and Y paperwork for you to be a vendor", and the vendor will say "NO, I don't think so"

One boss in bidding on city contracts had this rule of thumb - go out, figure out what we would bid the job if it was a private job, and double it - still got too many contracts, and didn't make as much money as a private job once the paperwork hassles and delays (see article on the Parks dept above). He later changed it to 3x, and still won as many as he liked