Department heads will be signing off on county purchases

By ED HOWELL
Posted 11/8/19

County employees will have to get purchase orders signed off by department heads for purchases $500 or more and have them submitted to Accounts Payable, thanks to a revision to policy made on Monday. 

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Department heads will be signing off on county purchases

Posted

County employees will have to get purchase orders signed off by department heads for purchases $500 or more and have them submitted to Accounts Payable, thanks to a revision to policy made on Monday. 

The Walker County Commission on Monday amended the county's purchasing procedures policy, which had been adopted on July 1, in the wake of discussions with the state auditor who will manage this area. 

County Administrator Robbie Dickerson said the auditor suggested passing that purchase orders over a certain amount be approved by the department head with his or her signature on the requisition form and be submitted to Accounts Payable. Payment would not be issued unless submitted properly.

District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis said he already had a similar policy, and District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough says he goes over his purchase orders each day. 

However, Chairman Jerry Bishop said the issue in the past has been many purchases have been made without commissioners signing a requisition. Davis noted that the new rule will be for the whole county government. 

District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt asked if the auditor gave a suggestion on an amount, but Dickerson quoted the auditor as saying he could not make a suggestion. "He said that needs to come from the commission," she said. 

Revenue Commissioner Jerry Guthrie said it would be hard for him to give an amount, depending on what happens. Sometimes $5,000 in supplies might be needed to start tax season. 

Dickerson said, "It is a difficult question to answer. You could say $1,000 but it could be more. You could say $10,000 and it might be too much for some." 

Aderholt suggested tabling the matter until county officials could ask the Department of Public Accounts for guidance on what standard they are looking for. "Obviously, they must have some type of dollar figure, either a ratio amount or something else in mind, that they would like to go by," he said. 

However, Bishop and Dickerson said they asked the same question. "They can't recommend any figures," Bishop said.

Bishop noted no one is "accusing anyone of anything," but is just passing on the recommendation. 

"I don't spend a dollar in my district unless I've generally approved it," Aderholt said. 

"Again, you won't have a problem with setting a certain amount for it to be countywide," Bishop said. 

Aderholt said, "It just stifles the payment process, because any purchases ...."

"No," Bishop said, interrupting, "it helps the payment process." Aderholt said there would be a delay in signing paperwork, adding, "It's not a big deal." Bishop said, "Well, if it is a lot of money, you're going to be around it anyway, don't you? So you can sign off on it and they can scan it right in here, and have it paid."

Bishop said he would keep up on the purchases he is over, noting maintenance and the landfill are major concerns for him. 

Burrough made a motion to set the dollar amount at $500, which commissioners approved. District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams was not present due to illness.

Bishop said the matter could be brought up again if there are future problems, and Davis said department heads could bring up suggestions in the future.