April 30, 2019 – The 2018-2019 Nevada County Grand Jury (Jury) responded to a citizen’s complaint “regarding irregularities in the recent Request for Proposal (RFP) and the selection process for the organization selected to operate the County’s animal shelter.” The Jury conducted an investigation into Nevada County’s (County) RFP process used to select the vendor cited in the complaint. The Jury reviewed pertinent documents and conducted interviews with personnel within County government and the Sheriff’s Office.

During its investigation of the RFP process, the Jury found a number of problems to support its overall conclusion that the County’s procurement practices are not consistent with generally recognized best procurement practices. After conducting several interviews, the Jury determined there was a lack of communication and coordination among the various departments involved with an animal control RFP. The Jury learned that the County does not have comprehensive established policies and procedures regulating its procurement process. Instead the County relies on a Purchasing Guide, dated June 13, 2017; an undated amendment to that Purchasing Guide; and the County Administrative Code (Admin Code). The Jury’s investigation shows that these publications combined with the Admin Code do not adhere to generally available best procurement practices.

The Jury concluded that an adherence to generally recognized best procurement practices by the purchasing department would ensure that County procurement is performed honestly, fairly, effectively, and professionally. In turn, this ensures that best value is obtained and that the County recognizes that the public trust is embodied in the authority to expend County funds. Efforts are underway within Information & General Services (IGS) to update the Admin Code to include policies and procedures that adhere to best procurement practices. The Jury commends this effort. However, the success of this program depends on the support of the Nevada County County Executive Office, County Counsel, and the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. Without this support IGS will not be able to implement any meaningful changes in a timely manner.

Read the full report here.