Spending and contracting practices by a utility that serves portions of Jurupa Valley and Eastvale are under scrutiny Thursday after an audit turned up discrepancies.

According to State Controller Betty Yee, the Rialto-based West Valley Water District, which serves about 80,000 customers over 30 square miles, was the subject of a detailed review that probed the utility’s accounts between fiscal years 2015-16 and 2018-19.

The investigation revealed West Valley had “entered into millions of dollars in financial, legal and consulting contracts” without seeking competitive bids.

The controller also alleged members of the West Valley District Board of Directors had overspent on travel and lodging. In one instance, $1,897 was expended on an election party for three board members, and auditors also discovered $4,563 was reimbursed to a single board member for unspecified travel expenses, officials said.

There were cases in which board members were paid while attending meetings that may not have been directly related to agency business, including a get-together at a farmers’ market, according to the controller’s office.

Officials also questioned hiring decisions and promotions, with little or no documentation regarding why unnamed parties were added to the payrolls or sent up the career ladder within the utility.

West Valley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Yee, of 48 federally recognized components and principles intended to ensure “effective internal control systems” for the benefit of rate-payers, West Valley showed only 27 were in use and functioning.

Yee has requested that the district provide a progress report on improvements in six months.

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