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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Report: Lockport Police vehicle purchases violated law

Report: Lockport Police vehicle purchases violated law

The town of Lockport accidentally violated public lease law and public bid law in buying police vehicles, according to a report the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's office released Monday.

Stagni and Co. accounting firm reviewed Lockport's financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The report says the town entered into a lease-purchase agreement with Ford Motor Credit Co. in October 2015 to buy two police vehicles at a total initial cost of $70,862. In violation of public lease law, Lockport did not get prior written approval from the Louisiana State Bond Commission to enter into the agreement.

According to the report, the town got three written quotes from local vendors for one of the vehicles, which cost $42,195, but did not put the purchase out for bid as required by law.

"The public bid law ... is a set of laws that govern contracts for public works and the purchase of materials and supplies by public entities that meet certain threshold requirements called the 'contract limit,'" the report says. "This limit is $30,000 for materials and supplies and $152,400 for public works. The purpose of the bid law is to ensure that public entities receive the best possible price when using public funds for the procurement of materials and supplies of public works."

Lockport Police Chief Warren Vedros said the violations were honest mistakes and there was no intention of hiding anything or deceiving anyone. His department believed the bid law threshold was for purchases over $50,000, he said, and was unaware of the need for approval for the lease-purchase agreement.

According to the report, Lockport agreed to institute written policies to comply with public lease law and public bid law and contact a local auditing agency before advertising or purchasing materials or equipment above the threshold. The town will also see if training is available for employees involved in purchases.


-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.