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City purchases raise questions

Sarah Bahari of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reviewed spending data for the city of Southlake, finding that city employees spent about $77,000 in 2004 at Lowe's and Home Depot stores. "Employees routinely bought inexpensive items — screws, shovels, trash bags and cleaning supplies. They also made pricier purchases — dozens of pieces of plywood, a washing machine, drills and concrete mix. A handful of times, records suggest, employees divided purchases among multiple trips, possibly to sidestep competitive bidding. Southlake was unable to provide complete documentation showing why employees needed some items, and purchase orders were filled out one week to three months after the actual purchase, documents show. It is impossible to determine whether every purchase was appropriate."

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