Report states Sodexo overbilled San Juan College

Joshua Kellogg The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Monday report from the Office of the State Auditor lists several findings related to overbilling and invoices lacking proper documentation in regard to a food service provider's contract with San Juan College.

The college requested the review, which was conducted by an independent accounting firm. The firm found a number of concerns regarding transactions for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, according to SJC Vice President for Administrative Services Russell Litke.

Litke said the state Auditor's Office approved the college's request in September 2014 to have the Accounting and Consulting Group of Albuquerque conduct an independent audit of its contract with Sodexo to ensure both sides were compliant,

A Sodexo representative did not respond to a phone call and email from The Daily Times seeking comment Tuesday.

"We just wanted to be sure that what they were billing us for was accurate," Litke said, adding the college is a public entity obligated to spend state and taxpayer money responsibly.

He said the college has had several conversations with Sodexo representatives to go over the report and make sure the appropriate changes are implemented.

Litke said the review found that invoices provided by Sodexo were listed by category but did not provide details or supporting documentation. He said Sodexo now provides additional documentation with each monthly invoice.

Litke said he found the more than $16,000 in charges that lacked documentation a little disconcerting. But Sodexo has provided the missing documentation to the college since the report was issued, he said.

One of the items listed in the finding was $19,826 Sodexo billed the college in February 2014 for relocation costs for the company's general manager to move from Wyoming to New Mexico. According to the report, Sodexo did not seek the required approval of the college before approving the request.

Litke said the college was aware it was going to be billed for the manager's relocation costs but failed to get the required signature for the paperwork per the contract rules.

He described the finding as a technicality, and the report allows the college and Sodexo to fine tune their business operations.

The report also states Sodexo overbilled the college nearly $13,000 related to calculating inventory costs. Litke said Sodexo was billing the college when inventory was used and not when it was purchased, making it tougher to track inventory costs.

"It wasn't that they were misbilling us, it was a way of clarifying when they bill us for the food and who owns the inventory," Litke said.

Changes have been made to the monthly revenue and expense reports to calculate when inventory is purchased, not used, he said.

Litke said the college is in discussions about renewing its contract with Sodexo, but no changes to the contract have been made due to the findings listed in the financial report.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.