Contract Misawarded: Auditors

State auditors charge that a local firm was wrongly awarded a two-year, $659,000 dining services contract for the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy cafeteria in Meridian, reports the Associated Press. Shird’s, Inc., of Meridian won the contract over Aramark Corp. in January 2008, but the auditors report "significant irregularities" in how the bid was awarded.

Among the problems the auditors reported were the changing of scores by three Idaho State Police employees during a meeting, a move that raises "questions concerning potential biases," says the report. The scoring of bids also didn't follow the criteria outlined in the original RFP. "Significant irregularities exist in the bid evaluation process for the cafeteria meal services contract," Legislative Services Office auditors wrote in the report released Tuesday. "We recalculated the scores and concluded the contract would have been awarded to the competing bidder if these point values had been correctly applied."

The auditors recommended that Idaho State Police consider rebidding the contract. Shirds had been the incumbent contract holder, having managed the operation since 1994. Its winning bid was 23 percent, or $61,500, over the value of the previous deal on an annual basis.