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Jan 15, 2014 2:52 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Report: Hampton Bays School District Did Not Follow Purchasing Protocol

Jan 21, 2014 11:59 AM

A recent state comptroller report revealed that the Hampton Bays School District failed to follow state-mandated protocol when distributing purchase orders for goods, services and invoices.

On several occasions, according to the report issued last month but not released publicly until last week, the school district issued purchase orders after receiving goods or services, when state education law requires that such orders be issued in advance. Every invoice filed must be thoroughly vetted, and purchase orders are designed to help control district expenditures by ensuring that purchases are properly approved, and that enough money is available to pay for them, according to the report.

The audit examined 25 invoices for 2013 and, in 10 of them, the purchase order was made after an invoice was received from a vendor and the item delivered or service provided. In one instance, the district paid a vendor $17,960 for special education services on September 7, 2013, when the vendor sent an invoice for the services on July 28, 2013, and the purchase order was dated September 5, 2013.

Schools Superintendent Lars Clemensen has submitted a written response to the comptroller’s office stating that the district will continue sending a letter informing vendors that it is not responsible for payment of any good or service without an authorized purchase order prior to the receipt of said good or service. He also wrote that members of his special education department have been retrained on how to properly estimate costs of services so they can better prepare purchase orders in advance.

In an email sent Tuesday morning, Mr. Clemensen wrote that unlike other school districts that have dedicated purchasing agents to monitor every step in the purchasing process, Hampton Bays has Business and Facilities Administrator Larry Luce handle those responsibilities. Mr. Clemensen also added that some emergency purchases need to be made before an order can be submitted.

“It is important to note that this is not a regular practice,” Mr. Clemensen wrote in an email. “The comptroller’s office acknowledged that other aspects of our purchasing process work sufficiently, including obtaining the lowest responsible quotes and bids, ensuring work orders match the invoices, and that the issuance of checks is done with the full and confirming backup to authorize payment.”

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Its time to curb spending in the Hampton Bays School District. On average the school taxes for a home owner in the district are increasing about $300.00 to $400.00 per year. There are many retired citizens in the district living on fixed incomes. I am certain, many of the retiree residents in the district aren't receiving this type of increase on their pensions or social security. It's time to curb the spending.
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Jan 15, 14 4:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
How does one do that?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jan 15, 14 5:11 PM
The wonderful Larry Luce and the 30 year old boy wonder Lars Clemensen have known for two years that their purchasing is not to protocol. They make nice little deals with the locals, and leave the district to be overcharged by friends of theirs. It's really disgusting how they blow taxpayers money. It's time to get these two dead weights out of their positions. Wake up Captain Lars your ship is sinking.
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Jan 15, 14 5:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
No offense, didn't mean to "Like" was just reading and must have hit...
By Barrybum (1), Southampton on Jan 16, 14 3:46 PM
amazing the amount of knowledge you have in every Hamlet. If you were aware of this 2 years ago, why didn't you do something about it?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 14 12:42 PM
How do you know I didn't do something Mr Blow hard?
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Jan 20, 14 9:52 PM
The cement walkway directly in front of the door of the main entrance to the school has been an embarrassing cracked hazard for years.....but the astroturf on that newly lighted football field....priceless. It is clear they need to set some more appropriate priorities before the "newly trained" prepare their Purchase Orders. The B.O.E. is also to blame.
By Fellow H. Beer (6), Hampton Bays on Jan 15, 14 7:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree that the cracked walkway in front of the school has to go. In fact, it is included on the list of work that will be done through our capital improvement projects. The order of projects isn't always what needs to get done first, unfortunately. Instead, it is a matter of prioritizing projects that will make it more quickly through the State Education approval process (they must approve all projects) so that we can keep projects moving in alignment with school calendars. The field projects ...more
By LarsClemensen (34), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 14 12:32 PM
Maybe Lars can explain the $34,500 gravel parking lot next to the high school. Amazing how it was under the 35k limit for projects that need to be competitively bid. Amazing how a drain and some gravel can cost 35k. Oh wait the company that did the work does work on some of the school faculties homes. The district didn't even get one single competing bid, and they over paid 15k just as a favor to a local landscaper. I heard there are other stellar contracts with an electrician, and a sprinkler guy. ...more
By HB taxpayer (3), Hampton Bays on Jan 20, 14 10:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
Totally FALSE! The project was put out to bid and received at least 6-8 bids. If I recall correctly, the bid also included sidewalk replacement, driveway aprons and fencing and the removal of the large fir tree in the center of the area. It is my understanding the contract was amended to allow the tree to remain.
By VOS (1224), WHB on Jan 21, 14 12:32 AM
Totally false? Who were the other bidders? Not only was there no other bidder, but there was no proof of insurance, no inspections, and the proposal was written by hand with no purchase order. The job was 15k at most so HB taxpayers were burned for 20k. By the way this isn't the first case of a no bid construction project there are plenty of others made by the district.
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Jan 21, 14 2:20 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By CaptainSig (713), Dutch Harbor on Jan 19, 14 5:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
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