Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
During a public hearing on Friday lawmakers heard calls demanding that the Department of Administrative Services, the state’s biggest buyer and spender, make public who gets contracts, how much they cost, and where any items were manufactured.
“Taxpayers have a right to know where their money is going,” said State Sen. Heath Mello who notes there is no current law requiring some much needed sunshine.
DAS attorney Bo Botelho testified against Mello’s bill (LB371) arguing that the legislation is “onerous” and would potentially cost the agency hundreds of thousands of dollars—from extra staff monitoring and compiling the information to added costs on the part of contractors, costs that would be passed on to the state in the form of higher bids.
Last year a Foley investigation uncovered questionable bidding practices, inadequate record-keeping and erroneous accounting in the Material Division of DAS. In addition Foley said DAS failed to provide information his office requested.
“The taxpayers of Nebraska deserve better than what is occurring here,” Foley said.
DAS Director Carlos Castillo told Nebraska Watchdog the audit was full of holes adding, “What (Foley) wanted he got.”
Castillo ran Gov. Dave Heineman’s 2006 campaign, when Heineman surprised many defeating Nebraska football legend Tom Osborne.
Contact Joe Jordan at email@example.com
To subscribe to news updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no charge, click here