On Monday The Apopka Voice published an article that was critical of the purchasing practices followed by the City-run Old Florida Outdoor Festival. Based upon our review of the documents provided by the City in response to our multiple requests for Public Records we observed the following:
On Tuesday we published, without comment, the Administration's response to our Monday article.
In their response the Administration claims to be in full compliance with the Procurement Policy. They base this claim on one thing; the fact that the City Council approved the 2015-2016 Budget and the Budget contained "line items" for the Old Florida Outdoor Festival.
If it is, then the City Council fully discharges its purchasing oversight duties the moment the Budget is approved.
To be fair, this Administration's interpretation of the Procurement Policy is not new. "Selective Compliance" has been practiced in Apopka for several years. The current Administration inherited a systemic problem and needs to fix it.
"Selective Compliance" refers to the practice of asking the City Council to approve SOME large purchases during the year but not ALL purchases.
Why were these purchases deemed worthy of City Council approval? We do not know. But we know "Selective Compliance" is wrong.
Why are ANY purchases brought before the City Council during the year? If the purchase fits into one of the approved Budget line items the Council has already discharged its duty.
The requirement to obtain City Council approval for each and every non-exempt purchase over $25,000 makes the Administration accountable to the City Council on a regular basis, not just once per year.
The City Council could agree with the Administration's interpretation and review "purchases" only once; during the Annual Budgeting process.
Or they can take the initiative and change the way the policy is currently interpreted.
We think it is time for a change.
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