None of the 172 libraries that received the routers needed that level of equipment, he said. Nearly 86 percent of libraries have two phone lines or less, with about the same amount offering 20 or fewer Internet connections. A router that costs $16,000 less than the roughly $20,000 spent per item purchased would have done the job, according to the report. That would have saved $2.8 million.
The State Police never asked for the 77 routers it received, since it purchased them 4 years ago, the report states. There are 67 detachments, with about 1,500 potential computer connections statewide. The state could have forgone the $1.4 million expense altogether, or save $1 million with more appropriate equipment, the report states.
The state relied on a BTOP grant implementation team to decide how to spend the money. Members of the team interviewed by Allred's staff gave different answers about why the routers were picked. At least one member of the team, Lt. Col Michael Todorovich, agreed with the statement that " those making the decisions on how to spend the money did not consult individuals with technical knowledge on the best methods to utilize the funds," according to the report.
Todorovich and fellow team member Jimmy Gianato -- state director of homeland security and emergency management, received an email from John Dunlap of the Office of Technology with these concerns, the report states.
"Since a site assessment has not been conducted for the 1064 locations, the Office of Technology is concerned that this equipment may be grossly oversized for several of the facilities in which it is currently slated to be installed," Dunlap wrote, according to the report.
The email was sent seven days after formal approval was given to purchase the routers.
The state also spent an additional $6.7 million on additional features for the routers; the report states the features are either unnecessary or unlikely to be used by the recipients.
Allred also dismissed Alsop's comment about increased capacity for future technology. Even if the amount and capacity of technology around the routers increase, the equipment will still be too big, he said.
If even $5 million was misspent, that money could have gone to building an additional 104 miles of fiber, the material needed to bring Internet to areas across the state, Allred said.
"It's fiber that is the key to providing great broadband service throughout West Virginia," Allred told legislators.
Allred said there are several reasons why the money was spent: the state never doubted interests of Cisco representatives were different than the state, there was no study as to the need of the router recipients, and there was practically no oversight of the money that was spent.
The purchase itself was done through what's called a "secondary bidding process" -- a subsequent bidding process for commodities and services included in an existing contract that is required as part of the original terms and conditions, according to state purchasing practices.
Allred outlined the details of the purchase: typically, any purchase of more than $25,000 needs to go through the Purchasing Division and a competitive bidding process. Because this purchase was interpreted as an appropriate time for secondary bidding, the office of technology could sign off on the purchase.
"The process used to purchase the Cisco routers was not equal, fair or consistent with the intent of the purchasing statute," the report states.
Alsop said the secondary bidding process is legal, but suggested changes to the process might need to be established through code.
Allred's office recommends the state investigate whether Cisco representatives intentionally mislead purchasers -- as his office believes - and is grounds for debarment from future bidding.
It also wants the state to perform the needs study to actually determine what equipment each location needs. The office should also look to exchange or return any of the extra features or items connected to the current routers already purchased.Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or david.bouc...@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.