CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Office of Technology followed "normal procedures" when it solicited bids and purchased more than 1,000 "enterprise-class" Internet routers, state Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato told state auditors Monday.
Gianato was responding to recent questions from the state Legislative Auditor's Office, which is examining the $24 million router purchase. The state used federal stimulus funds to buy the equipment two years ago.
"We are examining his response, and will continue to move forward with this review," Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred said.
The state is removing routers that cost as little as $40 from public facilities and replacing them with $22,400 routers.
In a letter sent Monday to Allred, Gianato said the state purchased the routers through a "secondary bid process," using a 2007 statewide "Internet protocol voice communication" equipment contract.
The state executed that contract after issuing a "request for quotation," which invited select vendors to bid on the right to sell equipment to the state.
In 2010, the state purchased 1,064 Cisco routers from Verizon Network Integration, one of the vendors that successfully bid on the 2007 contract.
"The office followed normal bidding procedures for procuring such equipment on an existing statewide contract," Gianato wrote in his letter to Allred.
Gianato previously had said that the state purchased the routers under a "request for proposal," or RFP -- a more formal and comprehensive bidding process.
Gianato twice mentioned the RFP in a June 28 letter to Congress, after Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and John Shimkus, R-Ill., raised questions about the router purchase.
"The RFP dictated that Cisco routers were to be provisioned by the winning entity," Gianato wrote in his response to Walden and Shimkus, who head two U.S. Energy subcommittees. "Since only 1,064 routers had been planned for the project, that number was specified in the RFP."
Two weeks ago, the Gazette asked Gianato for a copy of the request for proposal.
"You will have to get it from OT [Office of Technology]," Gianato responded via email. "I don't have that."
On Monday, Gianato acknowledged that the state never used a comprehensive RFP to buy the routers.