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After consulting with the state local finance officer in the Department for Local Government, Magistrate Jerry Davis contends that the Fiscal Court is not following its own ordinance regarding its purchase order system.
At the July 15 Fiscal Court meeting, Davis brought up the issue during time allotted for comments from magistrates.
Davis reminded the court that during the previous meeting, Magistrate Mike Moody asked for written confirmation from DLG that the county was acting accordingly.
During the July 1 meeting, Davis read aloud parts of Section III of Ordinance No. 14 (2011 Series), specifically regarding the approval of purchase orders.
Section III, paragraph 5 states that all purchase order requisitions over $200 must be approved by the Fiscal Court.
However, Davis said he has yet to see a purchase order come before the court.
During the July 1 meeting, Karrer stated that as long as an item is included in the department’s budget, which is approved by the Fiscal Court, a second approval of the individual purchase orders is not needed.
“If money is approved in the budget, if it’s in a line item, you’ve given permission,” Karrer said.
Before last Monday’s meeting, Davis corresponded via email with Robert Brown, the state local finance officer for DLG, for clarification.
Davis provided The Spencer Magnet with copies of those emails.
Davis asked Brown if a purchase order system needed to be in place where the Fiscal Court still needs to approve expenditures although the budget was approved. He also clarified that the specific request was for a fee-pooling office.
Brown responded, “On page 61 of our County Budget Preparation and State Local Finance Officer Policy Manual, it clearly states that all fiscal courts should have a Purchase Order System. Although fiscal courts approve a [fiscal year] budget, they must have departments, etc. submit purchase orders so the county treasurer is aware of how much [money] is available via line item.”
Davis replied to Brown that according to the county’s administrative code, “[when] it leaves the treasurer, it goes to fiscal court for approval. Does that sound about right as well?”
Brown replied, “Yes. All expenditures/claims must be presented to the fiscal court for approval and it is usually the treasurer who submits these to the fiscal court.”
Karrer said the expenditures are presented to the Fiscal Court each month in the form of the list of bills and transfers, which must be approved by the court.
Davis contends that the court should have a chance to review the purchase orders before the purchases are made.
“Don’t you think it’d be to the benefit of the court to look at these before purchases are made?” Moody asked.
The court reached no resolution on the disagreement.
The next Fiscal Court meeting is Aug. 5 at 9 a.m. in the Fiscal Court room. These meetings are open to the public.