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Company gets 89 percent of city towing business with no bid process, audit finds

October 25, 2012
Press Release

One company is getting 89 percent of all city towing business with no bid process in place, for a total of nearly $90,000, an audit of the citys parking department by Buffalo Comptroller MarkSchroeder finds.
State law requires that all contracts for public work more than $35,000 should be formally bid out and advertised in the newspaper.  Clearly that is not happening, and one company isbenefitting from the current process, said Schroeder, whose audit recommended the Parking Department establish a bid process for city tow jobs.
Riverside Towing and Recovery received nearly nine out of every ten dollars spent on towing during the scope of the audit, January 2011 through March 2012.  Two other competitors split theremaining 11 percent of towing business.
The parking commissioner agreed to implement a bid process for tow jobs, so we look forward to that being put in place, said Schroeder.
The audit was initiated last year, before Schroeder took office.  It stems from arrests involving thefts from two different divisions in the parking department in 2011.  An employee wascaught manipulating the winning bids associated with the auto impound auction and two employees were arrested in December 2011 for stealing coins from, City owned coin parking meters.
Since the arrest of the two employees accused of stealing funds from parking meters, we have noticed a 38% increase in revenue from parking meters, projecting to more than $514,000 annually, saidSchroeder, who added that his Annual Audit Plan involves tracking all city expenditures and revenues.
The goal of the Annual Audit Plan is to put the financial controls in place to prevent these types of incidents from occurring in the future, rather than just waiting for someone to get caught,said Schroeder. 
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