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Rutgers Gets Mixed Grades for Procurement Practices

New Jersey’s top watchdog agency has issued a report that finds Rutgers University is improving some of its procurement practices, but the school still limits competition for its public contracts.

The Office of the State Comptroller report, which follows up on a review conducted in 2011, cites several improvements, including Rutgers’ elimination of a policy that had allowed it to award contracts without any competition whatsoever, by simply declaring the contract award to be “in the best interest of the university.”

However, the report also notes the university still limits competition to a select group of bidders. For example, OSC’s review of five of the university’s capital project contracts found that none had been publicly advertised.

“Rutgers’ contracting process is more competitive today than it was when we conducted our audit in 2011, but we continue to be surprised by the university’s opposition to the basic notion of broad-based advertising of contracts funded by taxpayer dollars,” said State Comptroller Matthew Boxer.

He notes Rutgers ’2013 budget includes more than $400 million in state appropriations and state-paid employee benefits.

Boxer also points out under current state law, public bidding requirements applicable to all other state colleges and universities do not apply to Rutgers.

In total, of the 18 recommendations made in the initial audit, OSC found Rutgers has implemented eight of the recommendations, partially implemented four recommendations and has not implemented six of them.

A statement issued by Rutgers says the university plans to revisit its contracting procedures following the recent merger with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

All OSC reports are available on the Office’s website:

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