Ordinance revises procedures for town’s purchase orders, requisition requirements

Bill Short

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on final reading that revises procedures for the town’s purchase orders and requisition requirements.

Board members took the action during their June 18 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman John Troncone and seconded by Alderman Karl Chambless.

The ordinance was unanimously passed on first reading at the board’s May 21 meeting.

It states that Oakland is subject to the provisions of the Municipal Purchasing Law enacted in 1983 by the Tennessee General Assembly and set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated Section 6-56-301 et seq.

The board has determined that it is in the “best interest” of the town to make an “exception” to the requisition and purchase order requirements listed in Ordinance 13-17, which established uniform purchasing procedures.

The new ordinance revises Section 3 of Ordinance 13-17 by stating that a purchase order and a requisition are required prior to any purchase. On “major expenditures,” the requisition must request price information, an advertisement for bids and approval by the board.

Through the Accounts Payable municipal clerk, the director of a town department must deliver to the purchasing officer a “properly completed” purchase requisition form for the item(s) to be purchased and provide “ample time” for processing.

Purchases must be planned in order to eliminate “avoidable emergencies,” frequent requests and “unnecessary use” of labor and fuel.

Except as otherwise provided in this policy, all supplies, materials, equipment and services of any nature must be assigned a purchase order number and verified to ensure that all requirements for purchase have been completed.

The purchase can be approved and completed when those requirements have been verified.

No purchase will be authorized until the purchase order is approved and returned to the requesting department director.

The only exception to the requisition and purchase order requirements will be a purchase of $500 or less.

During discussion shortly before the vote, Chambless asked why $250 was the exception amount listed when the ordinance was passed on first reading.

Mayor Chris Goodman said he believes the Tennessee comptroller actually puts a $500 “cap” on it.

“But in earlier discussions, the board seemed to be comfortable with $250,” he recalled. “So, that’s what we maintained it with.”

Chambless said there has been some discussion about making sure that the town administration has the ability to purchase supplies if they are needed at a particular moment, instead of having to “go through a laundry list of documents.”

While acknowledging that he is “always cautious,” Goodman said there are also provisions for emergency purchases. He noted that one of the “last things” the board does at every meeting is examine those that have been submitted without a purchase order.

Although the exception amount was originally $100, the mayor recalled that the board “made some changes” and increased it to $250.

“But there were some parameters around the $250 that were restrictive,” he noted. “And this update would remove those restrictions.”

A motion offered by Chambless and seconded by Troncone to amend the ordinance by increasing the exception amount to $500 was passed by a 3-1 vote, with Alderman Kelly Rector dissenting.

Chambless asked if there is a “fail-safe resource” or a “means of reconciliation” to ensure that the monies are spent for “appropriate needs.”

Goodman said that, unless it is “something small” out of petty cash, it is all done through invoices. And he noted that those invoices are checked by him and the town recorder.