Wilk, Lackey and other CA lawmakers calling for audit of state’s PPE contracts

Sacramento, State Capitol Building

State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and other members of the Legislature are calling for an audit of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services’ contract for the procurement of personal protective equipment. 

Wilk, along with Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and 16 other lawmakers, wrote a letter on May 8 to Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, who is the chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, requesting that he authorize the audit of the state’s Emergency Services’ contract with BYD Motors, LLC/Global Healthcare Product Solutions LLC for the procurement of PPE, as well as any other efforts this year to obtain PPE on the state’s behalf, according to the letter. 

The legislators argued in their letter that despite months of requests the BYD purchase order agreement was made available only “days ago,” as well with a “half-billion-dollar” deal that was halted with a new company, Blue Flame.  

“Unfortunately, the timing of this information has meant that the Legislature has been unable to exercise its oversight role before allocating billions of dollars,” read the letter. 

Though not providing company names, Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a previous daily briefing that “there were some larger contracts that didn’t cost the taxpayers a penny but were cautionary tales.” 

Said the legislators’ letter: “The Legislature must understand how the PPE procurement process was operated to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars were well-spent and that the standards that have been established by statute, regulation, and practice were adhered to.” 

The lawmakers are now requesting that the State Auditor determine a series of factors, including whether the state procurement process allows the state to pay a cost premium for goods and services, and to determine how the Emergency Services Act interacts with the state’s procurement authority. 

“As California moves forward in addressing this pandemic, the government has a responsibility to adhere to the statutes in place to ensure there is no waste of taxpayer dollars,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. 

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