City ‘anti-corruption’ report finds no fault with BPL’s security measures
The Brooklyn Public Library system basically came up with a clean bill of health in the city Department of Investigation’s new Anti-Corruption Report.
The report, released on Thursday, does not look for corruption within city agencies, but rather focuses on the agencies’ anti-corruption programs that are designed to minimize the possibility of fraud by contractors and vendors, and the vulnerability of online systems to fraud.
This year, the report specifically focused on steps taken to minimize “corruption hazards” in the procurement, storage and distribution of personal protective equipment and other pandemic-related items.
All in all, 61 city agencies were scrutinized. This is the first year the report was made public.
The Department of Investigation found that “BPL has a robust set of procurement protocols that closely adhere to best practices. Specifically, any BPL department seeking goods or service submits a Purchase Order Requisition to the Procurement Department.
“Up to three written competitive quotes are solicited from vendors for each purchase. Finally, all vendors are vetted prior to any procurement.”
In the case of COVID-19 PPE and other pandemic response equipment, the report continues, “BPL made the decision to centralize these purchases in order to ensure that it received best pricing, trusted vendors were used, and inventory was managed efficiently.”
Examining the library system’s transition to remote work, the report says, “Upon closure due to COVID-19, BPL quickly and effectively transitioned to a remote work place model for much of its staff.
“To support this new work paradigm, BPL trained managers on best practices for supervising remote workers; expanded the activities that could be accomplished remotely, including virtual programming for patrons; introduced a new tool called the activity tracker that was designed to track the activities employees were engaged in while working remotely; and adjusted the formal attendance tool, so that hours worked could be entered and reviewed no matter where the employee was working,” the report said.
As far as minimizing fraud by contractors is concerned, the DOI noted that the library system did not utilize contractors to participate in emergency pandemic response.
The DOI did say that at the beginning of the pandemic, BPL, like most other organizations, had trouble procuring enough PPE supplies because of market conditions. However, “BPL ultimately did not experience any shortage of cleaning chemicals, as inventory control prior to COVID-19 and facility closures during the pandemic ensured that there was ample supply on hand. Orders and deliveries were conducted through the usual channels, minimizing risks of over-charging.”
While the pandemic created an uptick in fake vendors of in-demand supplies and online price gouging, the DOI noted that “BPL mitigated these hazards by purchasing products from trusted suppliers.”
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