Council raises objections to purchase orders

SALINEVILLE – Village council members believe the process of gathering quotes and filling out purchase orders to buy small, every-day items is cumbersome and “stupid.”

They aired their dislike for the current procedure for making purchases with village funds at Monday’s village council meeting.

Council member Sally Keating brought up the subject saying instances in which either the sewer, street or police department employees need to make small purchases come up often. She said when these situations arise, village employees have to go through the process of obtaining a purchase order of gathering quotes before making the purchase.

“When I go to the store what am I going to do, gather up everything I need to buy, have them scan it and put it back?” said Keating. “It’s stupid.”

Keating noted that although the village has an account with a local business, she is the only one allowed to use it.

When asked for his opinion on the matter, village solicitor Andy Beech said it would be best to follow Fiscal Officer Becky Tolson’s advice regarding purchases. However, he did note there should be a way for village employees to make small purchases without going through the process of getting quotes and a purchase order each time.

“It’s up to Becky, but I think there are ways to simplify the smaller purchases,” said Beech, adding that blanket purchase orders may be a possibility.

Tolson, when asked for her opinion, advised that, according to state auditors, a purchase order is required for any purchase with village funds. She advised planning for purchases in advance by having the purchase order ready to go when it is needed.

Council members disagreed with this assessment saying that under past administrations purchases were made without the hassle of purchase orders or gathering quotes.

“How did we do that (purchase things) for years?” asked Councilmen Jim Wilson.

Mayor Mary Smith responded that the village was cited in the 2010 and 2011 state audits for not following Ohio Revised Code when making purchases.

“Prior to 2002, we didn’t get purchase orders,” said Wilson. “If we needed oil or windshield wiper fluid for the cars we went and got it, signed the bill and the town paid it.”

Council members agreed that, in the past, purchases were made on the village’s accounts at local businesses, a receipt was documented and the village was billed monthly without any issues.

Council decided to have Tolson check with the state auditors to see how they might streamline the purchasing process.