root

IG Review finds management practices, not fraud, at root of conflict

By William Kelly, Daily News Staff Writer
 
| Palm Beach Daily News

A Palm Beach County Inspector General’s Office investigation found no evidence that a contractor fraudulently billed the town for the installation and maintenance of crime surveillance cameras. 

The town asked the office in August 2019 to investigate its concerns that it paid Johnson Controls Inc. for work that was not completed. 

The inspector general’s office, in its Sept. 22 report, concluded that the town’s project management practices were largely responsible for confusion over billing issues.

“Although we did not find clear evidence of fraud, it does appear that the parties disagree on their interpretation and understanding of the terms of their agreement related to performance and billing,” the report states.

 But the IG’s office said, the investigation revealed “issues that we believe should be addressed: one concerns the town’s project management procedures, and the other concerns the town and JCI’s contract procedures in general.”

The town hired JCI in 2012 and agreed to a payment schedule for it to install and maintain a security camera and surveillance system in different areas of town. Johnson Controls was permitted to submit bills for its progress on multiple work sites.

Finance Director Jane Le Clainche said Friday that the town paid Johnson Controls more than $2.1 million since 2013 for the infrastructure and annual maintenance and repairs. 

The work still wasn’t complete when the town terminated its relationship with the company more than a year ago, Town Manager Kirk Blouin said.

Blouin said the camera surveillance system is a large, technologically sophisticated infrastructure. The work was complicated, and the installation and maintenance has involved many different people, working for Johnson Controls and the town, over the last decade, he said.

“There was a lack of progress,” said Blouin, former public safety

Continue Reading