oversight

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, Buffalo, NY, Did Not Administer Its Operating Funds in Accordance With Requirements

Published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General on 2018-09-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

  Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority
             Buffalo, NY
             Public Housing Operating Fund Program




Office of Audit, Region 2        Audit Report Number: 2018-NY-1006
New York, NY                                     September 26, 2018
To:            Lisa Pugliese, Acting Director, Office of Public Housing, Buffalo, NY, 2CPH
               Craig T. Clemmensen, Director, Departmental Enforcement Center, CACB

               //SIGNED//
From:          Kimberly S. Dahl, Regional Inspector General for Audit, 2AGA
Subject:       The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, Buffalo, NY, Did Not Administer Its
               Operating Funds in Accordance With Requirements




Attached is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector
General’s (OIG) final results of our review of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s
administration of its operating funds.
HUD Handbook 2000.06, REV-4, sets specific timeframes for management decisions on
recommended corrective actions. For each recommendation without a management decision,
please respond and provide status reports in accordance with the HUD Handbook. Please furnish
us copies of any correspondence or directives issued because of the audit.
The Inspector General Act, Title 5 United States Code, section 8M, requires that OIG post its
publicly available reports on the OIG website. Accordingly, this report will be posted at
http://www.hudoig.gov.
If you have any questions or comments about this report, please do not hesitate to call me at
(212) 264-4174.
                    Audit Report Number: 2018-NY-1006
                    Date: September 26, 2018

                    The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, Buffalo, NY, Did Not Administer
                    Its Operating Funds in Accordance With Requirements




Highlights

What We Audited and Why
We audited the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority based on our risk analysis of public
housing agencies that fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development’s (HUD) Buffalo, NY, field office. The objective of our audit was to determine
whether the Authority administered its operating funds in accordance with applicable HUD,
Federal, and Authority requirements.

What We Found
The Authority did not administer its operating funds in accordance with applicable HUD,
Federal, and Authority requirements. Specifically, it (1) did not properly procure goods and
services with related operating fund disbursements and (2) improperly requested, received, and
used operating funds. These issues occurred because the Authority did not fully understand
applicable requirements and did not have adequate controls to ensure compliance with HUD,
Federal, and Authority requirements. As a result, HUD did not have assurance that (1) the
Authority conducted procurements in a manner that provided full and open competition, (2) more
than $1.4 million in operating funds paid under five contracts and to two vendors for purchase
orders was for prices that were fair and reasonable, and (3) $464,166 in operating funds was
available and used for its intended purpose.

What We Recommend
We recommend that HUD require the Authority to (1) provide documentation to show that more
than $1.4 million in operating funds paid under five contracts and to two vendors for purchase
orders was for prices that were reasonable; (2) evaluate apparent conflict-of-interest situations
and pursue administrative sanctions if warranted; (3) provide documentation to justify $372,695
in unsupported Operating Fund subsidies received and $8,564 in excessive property management
fees charged; (4) reimburse its Operating Fund account from non-Federal funds $82,907 for
document management services contract payments that should have been paid with non-Federal
funds; (5) strengthen its controls to ensure compliance with HUD, Federal, and Authority
requirements; and (6) provide training to employees involved in the procurement, funding, and
expenditure processes to ensure compliance with HUD, Federal, and Authority requirements.
Table of Contents
Background and Objective......................................................................................3

Results of Audit ........................................................................................................4
         Finding 1: The Authority Did Not Properly Procure Goods and Services ................. 4

         Finding 2: The Authority Improperly Requested, Received, and Used Operating
         Funds .................................................................................................................................. 9

Scope and Methodology .........................................................................................11

Internal Controls ....................................................................................................13

Appendixes ..............................................................................................................14
         A. Schedule of Questioned Costs .................................................................................. 14

         B. Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation ............................................................. 15




                                                                       2
Background and Objective
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) public housing was
established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the
elderly, and persons with disabilities. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in
public housing units, managed by some 3,300 public housing agencies. The units come in
various sizes and types, from scattered single-family houses to highrise apartments. HUD’s
Public Housing Operating Fund provides operating subsidies to public housing agencies to assist
in funding the operating and maintenance expenses of their own dwellings. The subsidies are
required to help maintain services and provide minimum operating reserves.

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority was established on April 3, 1934, under a resolution
of the Common Council of the City of Buffalo. The Authority’s creation and establishment was
later confirmed by an act of the New York State Legislature. The Authority is under the
supervision of HUD’s Buffalo Office of Public and Indian Housing and is governed by a seven-
member board, five of whom are appointed by the mayor and two of whom are elected at large
from the tenant population. A chairman and vice-chairman are elected from the board members
each year. The board appoints an executive director1 to manage the Authority’s day-to-day
operations.

The Authority has 26 housing developments with 4,520 low-rent units. It received more than
$17.4 million in Operating Fund subsidies for fiscal year 2016 and more than $16.1 million for
fiscal year 2017 to fund the operating and maintenance expenses of these units.

Our objective was to determine whether the Authority administered its operating funds in
accordance with applicable HUD, Federal, and Authority requirements.




1
    The executive director resigned on March 15, 2018. The Authority is currently under the leadership of an
    interim executive director while a national search is conducted to fill the vacated position.




                                                         3
Results of Audit

Finding 1: The Authority Did Not Properly Procure Goods and
Services
The Authority did not properly procure goods and services. Specifically, it (1) improperly used
the micropurchase method of procurement for unit turnaround and other repair work; (2) did not
show that other goods and services were purchased in accordance with HUD, Federal, and
Authority procurement requirements; and (3) allowed apparent conflict-of-interest situations to
exist when it awarded contracts. These deficiencies occurred because the Authority did not fully
understand applicable requirements and did not have adequate controls to ensure that its staff
followed HUD, Federal, and Authority procurement requirements. As a result, HUD did not
have assurance that the Authority conducted procurements in a manner that provided full and
open competition and that more than $1.4 million in operating funds paid under five contracts
and to two vendors for purchase orders was for prices that were fair and reasonable.

Unit Turnaround and Repair Work Was Not Properly Procured
The Authority improperly used the micropurchase method of procurement for unit turnaround
and other repair work. According to regulations at 2 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations)
200.320(a), supplies and services may be acquired using the micropurchase method if the
combined dollar amount does not exceed $3,000. HUD Handbook 7460.8 and the Authority’s
procurement policy set the micropurchase threshold at $2,000. According to HUD Handbook
7460.8, section 5.3, the Authority should not have split or unbundled purchases to avoid
requirements that apply to purchases that exceed the threshold. However, based on a review of
five consecutive purchase orders for each of the two vendors, we determined that the Authority
had improperly split the purchases. In one case, the Authority executed five purchase orders
over a 10-day period for unit turnaround and repair work performed at two properties. In the
other case, the Authority executed five purchase orders over a 20-day period for unit turnaround
work at one property. Therefore, the Authority should not have used the micropurchase method
of procurement for the work performed under the 10 purchase orders.

This condition occurred because the Authority did not have adequate controls to ensure that its
staff followed HUD, Federal, and Authority procurement requirements. For example, the
Authority’s primary contracting officer was not involved in the process. Instead, the assistant
superintendents of maintenance were responsible for identifying vendors for the services, and the
housing managers, who the Authority designated as contracting officers for this type of work,
would sign off on the work that was requested. The Authority acknowledged that the process it
used for selecting contractors for this type of work needed to be changed and stated that it would
increase procurement training for its staff.

Based on the concerns identified with the 10 purchase orders reviewed, and the process used by
the Authority for this type of work, the condition identified likely existed over the universe of
purchases made with the two vendors reviewed, and it may have been more widespread.


                                                 4
According to the Authority’s accounting records, it executed a total of 415 purchase orders for
the two vendors reviewed in 2016 and 2017. Each of the 415 purchase orders, including the 10
reviewed, was for less than $2,000 and the total over the 2-year period was $583,920. Further,
the Authority had nearly 4,300 purchase orders totaling more than $2.8 million that fell below its
micropurchase threshold during the 2-year period reviewed.

As a result of the condition described above, HUD did not have assurance that the Authority
conducted procurements for unit turnaround and other repair work in a manner that provided full
and open competition and that $583,920 paid for 415 purchase orders related to the two vendors
reviewed was for prices that were fair and reasonable.

Other Goods and Services Were Not Properly Procured
The Authority did not show that other goods and services were purchased in accordance with
HUD, Federal, and Authority procurement requirements. For example, the Authority did not
always maintain records sufficient to detail the significant history of procurements, such as the
rationale for the method of procurement, contractor selection, and the basis for the contract price
as required by 24 CFR 85.36(b)(9),2 2 CFR 200.318(i), and HUD Handbook 7460.8, section 3.3.
Further, it did not always obtain independent cost estimates before receiving bids or proposals
and conduct a cost or price analysis as required by 24 CFR 85.36(f)(1), 2 CFR 200.323, and
HUD Handbook 7460.8, sections 3.2 and 10.3. The following bullets detail the deficiencies
identified in five of the seven contracts sampled.3

    •    The Authority awarded contracts for self-sufficiency services without obtaining an
         independent cost estimate, preparing a cost or price analysis, and documenting its
         rationale for using the noncompetitive proposal method of procurement. According to
         the Authority, it exercised the noncompetitive method of procurement for these contracts
         because the selected contractor was the only source able to provide self-sufficiency
         services and because of its preexisting relationship with the contractor. Further, the
         Authority stated that this funding was provided in connection with a limited guaranty it
         entered into to provide financing to the contractor in times of need, and it believed that
         these procurement documents were not required. When other methods of procurement
         are not feasible and an item is available from only one source, requirements at 24 CFR
         85.36(d)(4), 2 CFR 200.320(f), and HUD Handbook 7460.8, paragraph 7.4(C)(4) allowed
         for noncompetitive procurements. However, in this case, the Authority did not document
         that its use of this method was necessary, provide written justification for its selection, or
         provide a cost estimate and a cost or price analysis to show that the price was reasonable.
         As a result, the $533,750 paid under the contracts was considered unsupported.
    •    The Authority awarded an energy performance services contract to a sole bidder and was
         unable to show that it obtained an independent cost estimate, performed a cost or price
         analysis, and prepared a sole-source justification. The Authority initially awarded a

2
    Grantees were previously required to follow the procurement rules at 24 CFR 85.36, which have now been
    incorporated into 2 CFR 200.318 to 200.326.
3
    We did not identify procurement deficiencies in the remaining two contracts reviewed.




                                                        5
         12-year contract to this bidder, but after 2 years, it wanted to revise the term of the
         contract. At the request of HUD, a new request for proposals was advertised with the
         different term. In the case of the second solicitation, the Authority received only one bid
         in response to its advertisements. When competition is inadequate after solicitation from
         a number of sources, requirements at 24 CFR 85.36(d)(4)4 and HUD Handbook 7460.8,
         paragraph 7.4(C)(4) allowed for noncompetitive procurements. However, the Authority
         did not provide written justification for its selection or provide a cost estimate and a cost
         or price analysis to show that the price was fair and reasonable. While it provided some
         documentation to support the overall cost reasonableness of the initial 12-year contract,
         24 CFR 85.36(f)(1) required it to perform a cost or price analysis for every procurement
         action, including the new solicitation and contract. The Authority was unable to provide
         adequate cost reasonableness documentation to support the award of the second contract.
         As a result, the $274,759 paid under the contract was considered unsupported.
    •    The Authority awarded a contract for extermination services without obtaining price
         quotes from three sources and documenting its evaluation of the quotations received and
         contractor selection. Regulations at 2 CFR 200.320(b) and HUD Handbook 7460.8,
         paragraph 5.3(A), required the Authority to solicit price quotes from an adequate number
         of qualified sources when using the small purchase method of procurement, and the
         Authority’s procurement policy required it to obtain a minimum of three quotes. Further,
         HUD Handbook 7460.8, paragraph 5.5(A)(2) required the Authority to document its
         analysis of the quotations received, such as comparing them to each other and to other
         sources of pricing information, such as past prices paid and catalog prices. However, the
         Authority obtained only two quotes and did not document how it evaluated the quotations
         and made its selection. As a result, $24,739 paid under the contract was considered
         unsupported.
    •    The Authority awarded a contract for investigative services without obtaining an
         independent cost estimate; performing a cost or price analysis; and documenting the bids
         received, its evaluation of the bids, and the contractor selection. The Authority stated
         that it had received five responses to its advertised request for proposals. However, it
         could not provide the corresponding responses or documentation showing its evaluation
         of the bids and its selection. Also, the Authority did not obtain a cost estimate and
         perform a cost or price analysis to show that the price was reasonable. As a result,
         $9,683 paid under the contract was considered unsupported.

These deficiencies occurred because the Authority’s staff did not fully understand procurement
requirements related to documenting actions taken and using the noncompetitive proposal
method. Further, the Authority did not have adequate controls to ensure that its staff followed
HUD, Federal, and Authority procurement requirements. As a result, HUD did not have
assurance that the Authority conducted procurements in a manner that provided full and open
competition and that $842,931 paid under the five contracts was for prices that were reasonable.


4
    At the time of this procurement, 24 CFR 85.36 was in effect. Regulations at 2 CFR 200.320(f) contain a similar
    requirement.




                                                         6
Apparent Conflict-of-Interest Situations Existed
The Authority allowed apparent conflict-of-interest situations to exist when it awarded and
administered contracts with an organization in which the executive director was the spouse of the
Authority’s contracting officer. Also, the Authority and the organization shared common board
members. The following paragraphs provide details.

   •   The Authority’s assistant executive director, who was also its primary contracting officer,
       was married to the executive director of the organization. Although the employee
       provided a recusal memorandum reflecting recusal from any future discussions regarding
       contracts with the organization due to the relationship, it was an internal document and
       did not go far enough to restrict the Authority’s contracting officer’s activities. Federal
       regulations at 24 CFR 85.36(b)(3) and 2 CFR 200.318(c)(1) state that no employee,
       officer, or agent of the grantee or subgrantee may participate in the selection or award or
       administration of a contract supported by Federal funds if a conflict of interest, real or
       apparent, would be involved. Further, the regulations state that a conflict would arise
       when an employee, immediate family member, or organization which employs the
       employee or immediate family member has a financial or other interest in the firm
       selected for award. In addition, section 19 of the Authority’s annual contributions
       contract prohibited it from entering into any contract in which an employee who
       formulates policy or influences decisions, a member of their immediate family, or their
       partner had an interest, direct or indirect. Contrary to these requirements, the Authority
       allowed the contracting officer to participate in some aspects of the administration of its
       contracts with the organization by serving on its board of directors, appearing to
       participate in contract extensions by being present at Authority board meetings during
       which the extensions were discussed, and preparing a cost estimate related to one of its
       contracts with the organization, while an immediate family member was executive
       director at the contracted entity. Further, this relationship was not disclosed to HUD for
       approval as required by HUD Handbook 7460.8, section 14.4.
   •   The board of the Authority and the board of the organization shared common members.
       HUD Handbook 7460.8, REV-2, paragraph 14.4(C), states that a person who is a member
       of both the Authority’s board and another entity’s board may not participate in actions by
       the Authority’s board that are incidental to agreements with the entity and may present a
       conflict of interest, real or apparent. In addition, section 19 of the Authority’s annual
       contributions contract prohibited it from entering into any contract in which a present or
       former member or officer of the governing body had an interest, direct or indirect. The
       Authority’s executive director, assistant executive director-contracting officer, and board
       chairman were on the board of the organization and participated in the selection, award,
       or administration of the self-sufficiency contracts. The Authority stated that it created the
       organization as an affiliated entity and that the organization’s board members had no
       personal interest in its operations. However, the Authority’s assistant executive director-
       contracting officer served as one of the board members and had a personal interest as
       discussed in the first bullet. HUD should evaluate the circumstances for each
       representative to determine whether conflicts of interest existed.




                                                 7
These conditions occurred because the Authority did not fully understand requirements related to
potential conflicts of interest and because it did not have adequate controls to ensure compliance
with the requirements. As discussed in the previous section, the Authority also could not show
that the contracts for self-sufficiency services were procured properly. As a result of these issues
and the apparent conflict-of-interest situations, HUD did not have assurance that the Authority
conducted procurements in a manner providing full and open competition and that the prices paid
were reasonable.

Conclusion
Because the Authority did not fully understand HUD, Federal, and Authority requirements and
did not have adequate controls to ensure that its staff followed applicable procurement
requirements, it could not show that it properly procured purchases and contracts for goods and
services and allowed apparent conflict-of-interest situations to exist. As a result, HUD did not
have assurance that more than $1.4 million disbursed for goods and services was for prices that
were fair and reasonable. If the Authority strengthens its controls over purchases and
procurement and provides training to staff involved in these processes, it will help ensure that
prices paid are fair and reasonable.

Recommendations
We recommend that the Acting Director of HUD’s Buffalo Office of Public Housing require the
Authority to

       1A.     Provide documentation to show that the $583,920 paid to two vendors for
               purchase orders below the Authority’s micropurchase limit was for prices that
               were reasonable or reimburse its Operating Fund from non-Federal funds for any
               amount that it cannot support or is not considered reasonable.

       1B.     Provide documentation to show that $842,931 paid under five contracts was for
               prices that were reasonable or reimburse its Operating Fund for any amount that it
               cannot support or is not considered reasonable.

       1C.     Strengthen its controls over purchases to ensure compliance with HUD, Federal,
               and Authority procurement requirements. This includes, but is not limited to,
               controls to ensure that it (1) maintains records sufficient to detail the significant
               history of procurements, (2) complies with requirements for each type of
               procurement, (3) obtains independent cost estimates and performs cost or price
               analyses when required, and (4) prevents and detects conflict-of-interest
               situations.

       1D.     Provide training to its staff to ensure compliance with HUD and Federal
               procurement requirements.

We also recommend that the Director of HUD’s Departmental Enforcement Center

       1E.     Evaluate the apparent conflict-of-interest situations in this report and pursue
               administrative sanctions if warranted.


                                                  8
Finding 2: The Authority Improperly Requested, Received, and
Used Operating Funds
The Authority improperly requested, received, and used operating funds. Specifically, it (1)
improperly requested and received Operating Fund subsidies for units claimed as vacant due to
changing market conditions and (2) improperly used operating funds for excessive management
fees and contract costs that should have been paid with non-Federal funds. These deficiencies
occurred because the Authority did not fully understand HUD requirements and did not have
adequate controls to ensure compliance with applicable requirements. As a result, HUD did not
have assurance that $464,166 in operating funds was available and used for its intended purpose.
Operating Funds Were Improperly Requested and Received
The Authority requested and received $372,695 in Operating Fund subsidies for 2,741 unit
months claimed as vacant due to changing market conditions from 2014 through 2016 without
adequate documentation. Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Notice PIH-2011-07
allowed agencies to receive operating funds for units that were classified as vacant due to
changing market conditions. However, the guidance required agencies to submit an appeal
request each year and regulations at 24 CFR 990.245(d) stated that agencies could appeal for this
status only after taking aggressive marketing and outreach measures to rent the units. While the
Authority received HUD approval, it could not provide documentation showing that it had
submitted an appeal letter or taken appropriate steps before claiming that the units were vacant
due to changing market conditions. Without sufficient documentation supporting its claim, the
Authority should not have requested and received the funds. This condition occurred because
the Authority did not fully understand HUD requirements and did not have adequate controls to
ensure compliance with the requirements. As a result, $372,695 was considered unsupported.

Operating Funds Were Used for Excessive Management Fees
The Authority charged its Operating Fund $12,759 for excessive management fees through its
central office cost center (COCC). The Authority’s COCC is responsible for the management of
its properties and charges fees for the management and oversight costs of each property. In
2016, it overcharged its Operating Fund $4,195 for 72 unit months in management fees related to
units that it had improperly claimed as vacant due to changing market conditions at one of its
properties (see section above). Due to this status and a lack of documentation showing HUD’s
approval, the Authority should not have charged management fees for these vacant units.
Further, that same year, the Authority overcharged its Operating Fund $8,564 for normal
management fees related to 28 units eligible for asset repositioning fees, when they should have
been funded at 25 percent in accordance with the Supplement to HUD Handbook 7475.1, section
7.4. These deficiencies occurred because the Authority did not fully understand HUD
requirements and did not have adequate controls to ensure compliance with applicable
requirements. As a result, the $12,759 used for excessive management fees was considered
unsupported.

Operating Funds Were Used for COCC Costs
The Authority improperly used $82,907 in operating funds to pay the costs of its COCC when it
made 16 payments on a non-Federal contract in error. Regulations at 2 CFR 200.405 require



                                                9
costs to be allocable to the Federal award. However, the contract in question was for document
management services benefiting the Authority’s COCC, and the Authority’s low-income rent
properties did not benefit from the services. According to the Authority, the contract costs
should have been paid with COCC funds but were mistakenly charged to its Operating Fund.
This condition occurred because the Authority did not have adequate controls to ensure
compliance with applicable requirements. As a result, the $82,907 used for COCC costs was
considered ineligible.

Conclusion
Because the Authority did not fully understand HUD requirements and did not have adequate
controls to ensure compliance with applicable requirements, it improperly requested, received,
and used operating funds. As a result, HUD did not have assurance that $464,166 in operating
funds was available and used for its intended purpose. If the Authority strengthens its controls
over the request, receipt, and use of operating funds and provides training to staff involved in
these processes, it will help ensure that its operating funds are available and used for their
intended purpose.

Recommendations
We recommend that the Acting Director of HUD’s Buffalo Office of Public Housing require the
Authority to

         2A.     Provide documentation to justify the $372,695 in unsupported Operating Fund
                 subsidies received or reimburse its Operating Fund from non-Federal funds for
                 any amount it cannot support.

         2B.     Provide documentation to justify $8,5645 in excessive property management fees
                 charged by the COCC or reimburse its Operating Fund from non-Federal funds
                 for any amount it cannot support.

         2C.     Reimburse its Operating Fund from non-Federal funds $82,907 for 16 document
                 management services contract payments that should have been paid with COCC
                 funds.

         2D.     Strengthen its controls to ensure that operating funds are requested, received, and
                 used in accordance with HUD, Federal, and Authority requirements.

         2E.     Provide training to employees involved in the funding and expenditure processes
                 to ensure compliance with HUD, Federal, and Authority requirements.




5
    To avoid double counting, we reduced the unsupported costs for recommendation 2B by the $4,195 that was
    included in recommendation 2A. The $8,564 is the $12,759 less the $4,195 cited in 2A.




                                                       10
Scope and Methodology
We conducted the audit from January through August 2018 at the Authority’s administrative
offices at 300 Perry Street in Buffalo, NY. The audit covered the period January 2016 through
December 2017, and was expanded to include earlier procurement documents for contracts that
had disbursements during our audit period, obtain updated disbursement totals for the contracts
in question, and review operating funds received for vacant units from 2011 through 2016.

To accomplish our audit objective, we interviewed applicable HUD and Authority officials. We
also reviewed
    • Relevant background information.
    • Applicable laws, regulations, HUD guidance, and Authority policies and procedures.
    • Annual contributions contracts and amendments.
    • Audited financial statements and other financial reports provided by the Authority.
    • Contracts, contract files, check registers, invoices, receipts, voucher disbursements, and
        other records related to the Authority’s operating funds.

To determine whether the Authority adequately administered its operating funds in accordance
with applicable HUD, Federal, and Authority requirements, we selected four samples of
Operating Fund contracts, purchase orders, and expenditures as follows:
   •   General procurement sample: We selected a nonstatistical sample of contracts to review
       for compliance with Federal procurement requirements. Our universe consisted of
       69 contracts identified on the Authority’s contract register for our audit period with a
       total value of more than $14.5 million. We selected the largest sealed bid contract, two
       largest competitive proposals contracts, and two largest small purchase contracts. We
       selected two additional contracts from one vendor after identifying a potential conflict of
       interest. The seven contracts selected had a total contract value of more than
       $2.1 million.
   •   Small purchase sample: We selected a nonstatistical sample of contracts within the
       Authority’s small purchase threshold of $2,001 and $25,000 to identify whether work
       was split to avoid procurement thresholds. Our universe consisted of 33 small purchase
       contracts with 14 different vendors during our audit period with a total value of $457,085.
       We identified three vendors with three or more small purchase contracts related to
       Operating Fund expenses in our population and selected each for review. The sample
       consisted of 15 contracts awarded to 3 vendors with a total contract value of $187,438.
   •   Micropurchase sample: We selected a nonstatistical sample of micropurchases to
       identify whether work was split to avoid procurement thresholds. Our universe included
       4,286 purchases of less than $2,000 made with operating funds during our audit period
       from 240 vendors totaling more than $2.8 million. For each calendar year, we identified
       a group of consecutive purchase order numbers from the vendors with the largest total


                                                 11
       dollar amount of purchases. We selected 10 purchase orders totaling $16,725 for review.
       These purchase orders included five from 2016 totaling $9,350 and five from 2017
       totaling $7,375.
   •   Expenditures sample: We selected a nonstatistical sample of Operating Fund
       expenditures to review from the Authority’s financial data schedule contained in HUD’s
       Financial Assessment Submission – Public Housing System (FASS-PH) for fiscal years
       2016 and 2017. Our universe included 40 categories of Operating Fund expenses totaling
       approximately $61.4 million during our audit period. We identified the four largest
       categories from this population for review. We selected the largest expense from three of
       the categories, with expenditures totaling $160,873. For the fourth category, we selected
       each monthly management fee expense, which totaled more than $6.1 million. In total,
       we reviewed more than $6.2 million, or more than 10 percent of the amount disbursed
       during our audit period.

Although our sampling methods did not allow us to make projections to the universes from
which our samples were drawn, they were sufficient to meet our objective to evaluate the
Authority’s administration of its operating funds.

We also performed a 100 percent review of operating funds received as asset repositioning fees
in our audit period and operating funds received for units that were classified as vacant due to
changing market conditions from 2011 through 2016. These selections were based on indicators
identified during the planning phase of this audit. The asset repositioning fee sample consisted
of 28 units approved for demolition receiving $78,640, and the sample of units vacant due to
changing market conditions consisted of 11,517 unit months representing more than $1.2 million
in operating subsidies. Last, we performed a 100 percent review of staff and commissioner
travel paid during the period May 2016 through June 2017 and found that these costs were paid
for with the Authority’s non-Federal funds.

To achieve our objective, we relied in part on computer-processed data from HUD’s FASS-PH
and Inventory Management System-Public and Indian Housing Information Center and the
Authority’s accounting system, such as expenditure and contract analysis reports. We used the
data as background information and to select contracts and expenditures for review. Although
we did not perform a detailed assessment of the reliability of the data, we performed a minimal
level of testing and found the data to be adequate for our purposes. The testing included
comparing information from these systems for the sampled items to the Authority’s records. We
based our conclusions on source documentation obtained from the Authority.

We conducted the audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate
evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
objective(s). We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
and conclusions based on our audit objective.




                                                12
Internal Controls
Internal control is a process adopted by those charged with governance and management,
designed to provide reasonable assurance about the achievement of the organization’s mission,
goals, and objectives with regard to

•   effectiveness and efficiency of operations,
•   reliability of financial reporting, and
•   compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Internal controls comprise the plans, policies, methods, and procedures used to meet the
organization’s mission, goals, and objectives. Internal controls include the processes and
procedures for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling program operations as well as the
systems for measuring, reporting, and monitoring program performance.

Relevant Internal Controls
We determined that the following internal controls were relevant to our audit objective:

•   Program operations - Policies and procedures that management has implemented to
    reasonably ensure that the Operating Fund program meets its objectives.
•   Reliability of data - Policies and procedures that management has implemented to reasonably
    ensure that valid and reliable data are obtained, maintained, and fairly disclosed in reports.
•   Laws and regulations - Policies and procedures that management has implemented to
    reasonably ensure that resource use is consistent with laws and regulations.
•   Safeguarding of assets - Policies and procedures that management has implemented to
    reasonably ensure that resources are safeguarded against waste, loss, and misuse.
We assessed the relevant controls identified above.
A deficiency in internal control exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow
management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, the
reasonable opportunity to prevent, detect, or correct (1) impairments to effectiveness or
efficiency of operations, (2) misstatements in financial or performance information, or
(3) violations of laws and regulations on a timely basis.

Significant Deficiencies
Based on our review, we believe that the following items are significant deficiencies:

•   The Authority did not implement adequate controls to ensure its staff followed HUD,
    Federal, and Authority procurement requirements (finding 1).
•   The Authority did not implement adequate controls to ensure that it properly requested,
    received, and used operating funds (finding 2).



                                                  13
Appendixes

Appendix A


                          Schedule of Questioned Costs
                  Recommendation
                                   Ineligible 1/ Unsupported 2/
                      number
                          1A                                 $583,920
                          1B                                  842,931
                          2A                                  372,695
                          2B                                     8,564
                          2C               $82,907

                        Totals              82,907          1,808,110


1/   Ineligible costs are costs charged to a HUD-financed or HUD-insured program or activity
     that the auditor believes are not allowable by law; contract; or Federal, State, or local
     policies or regulations.
2/   Unsupported costs are those costs charged to a HUD-financed or HUD-insured program
     or activity when we cannot determine eligibility at the time of the audit. Unsupported
     costs require a decision by HUD program officials. This decision, in addition to
     obtaining supporting documentation, might involve a legal interpretation or clarification
     of departmental policies and procedures.




                                              14
Appendix B
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation




Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




                               15
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation




Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




Comment 1




Comment 2




Comment 3




                               16
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation




Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




Comment 4




Comment 5
Comment 6




Comment 7




                               17
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation




Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




Comment 7


Comment 8
Comment 9




Comment 10




Comment 11




                               18
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation




Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




Comment 12

Comment 13

Comment 12




                               19
                         OIG Evaluation of Auditee Comments


Comment 1   The Authority contended that unit turnaround and repair work was properly
            procured and stated that the caption of this section of the finding was misleading
            and inflammatory. It noted that the methodology and sampling used did not
            support the conclusions reached because we classified the full $583,920 paid to
            two vendors under 415 purchase orders as unsupported based on a review of ten
            purchase orders. However, our conclusion related to the 415 purchase orders was
            supported by both the specific concerns identified with the 10 purchases orders
            reviewed and documentation and discussion related to the process used by the
            Authority for this type of work. Specifically, we based our conclusion on the
            following:

               •   Review of 10 purchase orders – Our review showed that unit turnaround
                   and repair work performed at 1 or 2 properties within a short period of
                   time was improperly split into 10 purchase orders that each fell below the
                   micropurchase threshold.
               •   Purchase order data provided by the Authority – The purchase order data
                   showed that the Authority had executed 415 purchase orders in 2016 and
                   2017 for the 2 vendors in question. It also showed that each purchase
                   order was for less than $2,000.
               •   Memorandum provided by the Authority – This document showed that
                   beginning in 2014, the Authority’s assistant superintendents of
                   maintenance were responsible for identifying vendors for these services,
                   and that its housing managers were designated as contracting officers for
                   the purchases.
               •   Discussions with Authority officials – In discussions with the Authority,
                   the interim executive director stated that it appeared the Authority should
                   have been bidding out work under other methods of procurement rather
                   than dividing purchase orders into smaller $2,000 projects that were
                   exempt from bidding. During discussions, Authority officials also
                   acknowledged that (1) assistant maintenance superintendents chose the
                   vendors used for unit turnaround and repair work, (2) staffing vacancies
                   may have affected the process used by the Authority for these purchases,
                   (3) there may have been a lack of staff training and oversight regarding
                   micropurchases, and (4) it planned to increase overall supervision at the
                   Authority and increase training in procurement rules for its employees.
                   Further, the Authority’s interim executive director and primary contracting
                   officer discussed some of these same points in a July 2018 local news
                   article and an August 2018 editorial.
            As explained in appendix A, when we cannot determine eligibility of costs at the
            time of the audit, those costs are classified as unsupported. Due to results of our



                                              20
            review of purchase orders, documentation, and data provided by the Authority, as
            well as discussions with Authority officials, we believe that the Authority’s
            incorrect use of its micropurchase program extended to the 415 purchase orders.
            Therefore, we cannot determine whether the $583,920 paid to two vendors was
            for eligible costs and classified these funds as unsupported costs. As part of the
            audit resolution process, the Authority will need to provide documentation to
            show that the amount paid to the two vendors was for prices that were reasonable
            or reimburse its Operating Fund from non-Federal funds for any amount that it
            cannot support or is not considered reasonable.
Comment 2   The Authority contended that the report incorrectly states that its contracting
            officer was not involved in the process and stated that a memorandum was
            provided to show that the Authority’s property managers were considered
            contracting officers for the purposes of micropurchase procurement. We
            reviewed the referenced document and revised the report to reflect that the
            Authority’s primary contracting officer was not involved in the micropurchase
            procurement process and to acknowledge that the Authority had designated its
            housing managers as contracting officers for these purchases.
Comment 3   The Authority contended that it had an obligation to provide funding to the self-
            sufficiency services provider due to an operating guaranty agreement. It also
            noted that the self-sufficiency services were outlined in its proposal for a HOPE
            VI project and stated that HUD reviewed every aspect of that proposal. However,
            the Authority was not able to show that its agreement removed its responsibility
            to follow procurement requirements when awarding the contracts for self-
            sufficiency services, and we do not believe the Authority was exempt from
            following these requirements. It also did not provide documentation related to its
            HOPE VI proposal or show that HUD had reviewed the Authority’s procurement
            of the provider. Further, we noted that the amount the Authority paid the provider
            exceeded the amount it committed to in the agreement, and that the agreement
            expired during our audit period. The agreement stated that the Authority would
            provide a minimum amount of funding, not to exceed $100,000 in a 12-month
            period. However, the contracts reviewed were for $150,000 and $187,000 per
            year. Further, the agreement was designed to end no later than 15 years after a
            related lease started in early December 2002, which means it ended no later than
            early December 2017. The Authority has disbursed at least $124,000 to the
            provider since the agreement ended and its current contract extension runs
            through March 2019.
Comment 4   The Authority noted that the scope of our review was January 2016 through
            December 2017, but that the relationship between the self-sufficiency provider
            and the Authority began in or about December 2002. As discussed in the scope
            and methodology section, these contracts were selected for review from the
            contract register provided by the Authority because they had related
            disbursements during our audit period. Specifically, $324,666 was disbursed on
            the contracts between January 2016 and December 2017. Further, the contracts


                                             21
            were procured in the past few years and had terms that included our audit period.
            The term of the first contract started in 2015 and was extended through March
            2017, and the term of the second contract began in April 2017.
Comment 5   The Authority contended that the energy performance contract reviewed was
            outside the stated scope of our review by more than a decade. However, this
            contract was selected for review from the contract register provided by the
            Authority because it had related disbursements during our audit period.
            Specifically, $117,124 was disbursed on this contract between January 2016 and
            December 2017. Further, because requirements at 2 CFR 200.318(i) and HUD
            Handbook 7460.8, section 3.3 required the Authority to retain procurement
            records for 3 years after final payment and all matters pertaining to the contract
            are closed, the Authority should have all documentation related to the history of
            this contract.
Comment 6   The Authority stated that the original energy performance services contract was
            awarded in 2005 after a lengthy process and noted that it procured the services a
            second time soon after this award so that it could award a longer term contract. It
            contended that independent cost estimates and cost analyses were performed for
            the original contract in 2005 and each subsequent phase. Further, the Authority
            stated that this documentation was provided to OIG and that the entire project was
            closely supervised by HUD staff with no deficiencies identified in the processes.
            However, the documentation provided was not related to the procurement of the
            $1,080,026 contract selected for review. Regulations at 24 CFR 85.36(f)(1)
            required the Authority to perform a cost or price analysis in connection with every
            procurement action, so the Authority should not have relied on analyses
            performed for its original contract when procuring services the second time. The
            initial procurement and the procurement selected for review took place nearly two
            years apart, so it is possible that the prices for such services had changed. Also,
            while the Authority provided some documentation related to HUD’s review of
            compliance with requirements related to energy efficiency cost savings and
            regulations at 24 CFR 990, it did not show that HUD reviewed the contract to
            determine compliance with procurement requirements.
Comment 7   The Authority stated that the entity with which it contracted for self-sufficiency
            services is not a development company, but rather a not-for-profit social services
            provider for the community. While the contracts and other documents provided
            during the audit identified this contractor as a development company, we revised
            the language in the report to identify the contractor as an organization.
Comment 8   The Authority contended that we provided no evidence that an actual conflict ever
            existed or was not remedied. As discussed in finding 1, we identified an apparent
            conflict-of-interest situation related to the Authority’s assistant executive director,
            who was also its primary contracting officer, and explained that the Authority
            allowed this individual to participate in some aspects of the administration of the
            contracts in question. In accordance with our recommendation, HUD will need to



                                               22
              evaluate the apparent conflict-of-interest situation and make a determination
              during the audit resolution process.
Comment 9     The Authority agreed that it did not disclose the apparent conflict-of-interest
              situation to the local HUD office, but stated that it was not convinced that it was
              obligated to do so since it addressed the situation internally. However, HUD
              Handbook 7460.8, section 14.4 clearly required the disclosure of apparent
              conflicts of interest to HUD. Also, the internal recusal memorandum did not go
              far enough to restrict the Authority’s contracting officer’s activities, as the
              Authority allowed the contracting officer to participate in some aspects of the
              administration of its contracts with the organization by serving on its board of
              directors, appearing to participate in contract extensions by being present at
              Authority board meetings during which the extensions were discussed, and
              preparing a cost estimate related to one of its contracts with the organization.
Comment 10 The Authority stated that it did not agree with our determination that an apparent
           conflict-of-interest situation exists due to common board members. The
           Authority stated that Section 19 of the Annual Contributions Contract refers to
           individual conflicts and that it created the social service agency. However, HUD
           Handbook 7460.8, REV-2, paragraph 14.4(C) states that a person who is a
           member of both the Authority’s board and another entity’s board may not
           participate in actions by the Authority’s board that are incidental to agreements
           with the entity and may present a conflict of interest, real or apparent. Further,
           while HUD Handbook 7460.8, REV-2, section 14.6 allowed the Authority to
           contract with affiliated entities, it required the Authority to comply with Federal
           procurement requirements, which include requirements related to conflicts of
           interest. As part of the normal audit resolution process, HUD will need to
           evaluate the apparent conflict-of-interest situation.
Comment 11 The Authority contended that we concluded that the $533,750 paid was
           unsupported due to the apparent conflict-of-interest situations. Further, it states
           that we have not provided evidence that any of the expenditures were not
           appropriate or justified or that funds were misspent. As detailed in the report, we
           determined that the Authority awarded the contracts for self-sufficiency services
           without obtaining an independent cost estimate, preparing a cost or price analysis,
           and documenting its rationale for using the noncompetitive proposal method of
           procurement. Therefore, HUD did not have assurance that the $533,750 paid
           under the contracts was for prices that were reasonable. This portion of the
           finding is related to recommendation 1B. As a result of the apparent conflict-of-
           interest situations identified, we included recommendation 1E to request that
           HUD evaluate the situations and pursue administrative sanctions if warranted.
Comment 12 The Authority stated that it disagreed with finding 2 and contended that operating
           fund subsidies for units that were vacant due to changing market conditions were
           properly requested, received, and used. It further noted that even if the statements
           made are true, there is no evidence or data to show that the Authority improperly



                                                23
              requested the operating subsidy. The Authority acknowledged that it previously
              submitted an appeal request for at least three years and HUD approved the request
              each time. It further stated that for the years in question, it appears that the
              Authority concluded that the market conditions were approved by HUD with the
              previous appeal request. The Authority contended that the most that can be
              established is that the Authority provided insufficient documentation in its request
              for each year in question and HUD approved it anyways, which would not be the
              Authority’s fault. However, if the Authority submitted its request without the
              required appeal, its request was improper. Further, whether HUD approved the
              request does not remove the Authority’s responsibility to show that it had
              submitted an appeal letter or taken appropriate steps before claiming that the units
              were vacant due to changing market conditions in accordance with regulations at
              24 CFR 990.245(d). Without sufficient documentation supporting its claim, the
              Authority should not have requested or received the funds. Because we did not
              perform a review of the Authority’s use of the $372,695 that was improperly
              requested and received, we cannot address the portion of the Authority’s
              comments related to whether it properly used these funds.
Comment 13 The Authority contended that the scope of our review was January 2015 through
           December 2017 and that we questioned costs related to units claimed as vacant
           due to changing market conditions from outside of our audit period. As discussed
           in the scope and methodology section of this report, our audit covered the period
           of January 2016 through December 2017 and was expanded. In this case, during
           our initial review of operating funds received in 2016, we found that the Authority
           had not submitted an appeal letter or taken appropriate steps before claiming that
           the units were vacant due to changing market conditions. As a result, we
           expanded our review scope to review operating funds received for these units
           from 2011 through 2016. We found that while the Authority properly requested
           the status for 2011, 2012, and 2013, it did not follow applicable requirements for
           2014, 2015, and 2016.




                                                24