CBS Atlanta's Jennifer Mayerle uncovered a five minute search on the Internet could have saved the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department from buying more than 18,000 counterfeit smoke detectors. The exclusive investigation led to the recall. And it prompted an internal investigation in the Department of Procurement.
"I think we've got to do a better due diligence," said Adam Smith, Chief Procurement Officer for the city of Atlanta.
Smith readily admitted his department needs to do better.
"We purchase all of the goods and services for the city of Atlanta," said Smith.
When the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department needed smoke detectors, they went through Smith's office.
A CBS Atlanta exclusive investigation led by reporter Jennifer Mayerle uncovered the smoke detectors the fire rescue department bought and handed out were counterfeit. More than 18,000 of them went to high-risk, low-income areas. It happened on smiths watch.
"In the procurement world, we generally rely on the reputations of the company. We pretty much know if the company has a bad reputation," said Smith.
Then how did Silvers Sails slip by? The California company who won the bid already had a bad reputation. It's run by Bob and Judie Silver. Bob has a lengthy criminal history.
CBS Atlanta uncovered years before doing business with Atlanta, the Silvers and Silver Sails were put on the federal Excluded Parties Systems List. It banned them from doing business with the federal government.
General Services Administration manages the list. GSA Inspector General Brian Miller said it's vital all agencies check it.
"It can be very fast and very simple. You don't want to do business with an irresponsible company or individual. You don't want to put the public in danger," said Miller.
It took less than five minutes for Mayerle to find Silver Sails on the list. She typed in the company name and a list of people associated with it came up, including Robert and Judie Silver.
"Based on seeing this information, do you think the department should have done things differently?" Mayerle asked Smith.
"I think what we have to do going forward is we have to establish a more aggressive reference check," said Smith.
Smith said he plans to change his department's policy to include checking the list, among other changes.
"There are going to be issues that come up and when those issues come up, you take drastic measures to correct them. In a situation like this, we have no choice but to take every effort to move forward to make sure this never, ever happens again," said Smith.
Smith said he thinks other agencies can learn from this as well. Smith said he'll give us the new policy once it's drafted.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:46 PM EDT2013-05-22 17:46:39 GMT
Atlanta firefighters are battling a large fire at United Transmission in downtown Atlanta.The building is located at 350 Marietta Street.Marietta Street near Ivan Allen Boulevard is closed.It is unclearMore >
Atlanta firefighters battled a large fire at United Transmissions in downtown Atlanta.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:25 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:25:04 GMT
Two billboards just went up around Atlanta to help get the word out Atlanta first responders and their families pushing for a better raise. The digital billboards are on Northside Drive at North Avenue,More >
Two billboards have gone up showing Atlanta first responders and their families are demanding raises.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:21 AM EDT2013-05-22 14:21:02 GMT
Authorities have issued an Amber Alert for a one-year-old girl who was in the backseat of a car stolen from a daycare center in Forest Park. It was just after midnight Wednesday when officers receivedMore >
A toddler who was in the backseat of a car that was stolen from a daycare center in Forest Park overnight is now safe in her parents' arms.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 2:02 PM EDT2013-05-22 18:02:12 GMT
No one was injured when a train struck a MARTA bus Wednesday morning.It happened at West Howard Avenue and North McDonough Street. Decatur police have not released any additional details.CBSAtlanta.comMore >
No one was injured when a train struck a MARTA bus Wednesday morning.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:15 PM EDT2013-05-22 03:15:51 GMT
It has been more than 2 years since a tornado with winds of 175 miles per hour demolished homes and businesses in Ringgold, Catoosa County. But, the pain of the past is still visible in many parts of theMore >
It has been more than two years since a tornado with winds of 175 miles per hour demolished homes and businesses in Ringgold, Catoosa County. But, the pain of the past is still visible in many parts of the city and the emotional scars run deep.More >