Audit Goes To High Bidder

It appears Bodkin, Wilson & Kozicki will audit Wheeling’s finances over the next two years, despite submitting the highest bid among six firms competing for the contract.

The Wheeling firm’s $144,000 proposal is almost twice as costly as that submitted by low-bidder Teed and Associates of Charleston, at $75,500. But the local firm performed slightly better in a state-mandated ranking system in which cost only accounts for about one-fourth of a bidder’s overall score.

City Finance Director Michael Klug said some of the bids were unrealistically low. Bodkin, Wilson & Kozicki has conducted audits for Wheeling in the past, and he believes several of the other companies underestimated the amount of hours it would take to do the job.

“A lot of the firms don’t realize how much fieldwork is involved,” Klug said.

According to the state Auditor’s Office bid procurement procedures, only 25 of a possible 103 points may be awarded based on cost. Other criteria are responsiveness to the proposal, understanding of the audit to be performed and technical experience. Cities also may award one to five points to a single, “preferred” firm, though they are not required to do so.

Teed and Associates scored 13 out of a possible 15 points on responsiveness, 22 of 24 on understanding, 30 of 34 on experience and 15 out of 25 on cost, for a total of 80 points. Bodkin, Wilson & Kozicki earned perfect scores on responsiveness, understanding and experience, eight points for cost and the city’s five preference points for a total of 86.

Without those preference points, the two firms’ scores would have only differed by a single point. But Klug recommended awarding the points to Bodkin, Wilson & Kozicki based on its prior experience working with the city.

“They don’t even know what our books look like. … They never even came here to ask me a question,” he said of the other firms that bid.

The city received four other proposals, from Suttle & Stalnaker at $130,000, Perry & Associates at $109,800, David Howell, CPA, at $109,280 and Caudill & Associates at $90,000. Those companies scored 73, 75, 68 and 77 points, respectively.

The results were similar on proposals for a separate audit for the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority. Teed and Associates submitted the low bid of $15,000 to Bodkin, Wilson & Kozicki’s $26,000, but the two firms scored 79 and 86 points, respectively, on the state-mandated scale. Suttle & Stalnaker, Caudill & Associates and Perry & Associates also submitted proposals.

City Council must grant final approval of the contracts by ordinance.