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Weed excavation in 2017 cost Las Cruces taxpayers; new audit shows why

A new audit details exactly what went wrong during a botched weed removal project in Las Cruces in 2017.

“It’s pretty embarrassing to see this,” City Councilman Gill Sorg told ABC-7 in October 2017. He called the project to excavate the weeds in Chandler Tank an “ecological disaster.”

The city’s 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report found that there were multiple errors in how city staffers handled weed removal. According to the report:

“The project was awarded without following the appropriate sections of the City’s procurement code.”

“The purchase order did not go through City Council approval in accordance with policy and the project began before the budget was approved”

“The City also violated the SWPPP (stormwater pollution prevention plan) requirements for this procurement.”

In February 2018, KVIA reported that the project to reseed Chandler Tank would cost taxpayers $59,000.

“The city manager and the city council have been dealing with this for over a year,” Sorg told ABC-7 on Tuesday. “There was mistakes. The city manager has already admitted that.”​​

“Organizationally, we did make some mistakes,” said Manager Stuart Ed. “We implemented policies, procedures. We reviewed our organizational structure. We made improvements and paid attention to those areas that we had some institutional weaknesses.”

Ed would not confirm whether anyone lost their jobs over the project.

“It’s really not appropriate for me to comment on employment issues,” Ed told ABC-7.

Sorg admitted that “lower staffers” made a mistake that was not “according to our standards that we have here in the city.”

He insists it has since been rectified.

“We know what the problem is and it’s fixed,” Sorg said.

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