Caryville board works to develop purchasing policy

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By Bill Claiborne

Caryville’s Board of Mayor and Alderman worked to outline a purchasing policy at a workshop on Dec. 27.

Alderpersons Vickie Heatherly and Michael Miller were absent.

“We want to see what kind of flow we have coming into the city,” said Caryville Mayor Chris Stanley.

Stanley presented the board with a potential purchasing policy derived from parts of Tazewell, Norris, Jacksboro, and other surrounding town’s policies.

Currently, purchases within the town of Caryville require three signatures from the board before a department head can make the order. The wait to get three signatures can take as long as a month, Stanley said.

“This is the funnel in which it goes in and then it squeezes out through this neck, so it’s about 30 days a month,” he said. “One reason that it’s here is because it’s up to the mayor, vice mayor or the aldermen to sign off on purchase orders, but if you’re not down here, you don’t know.”

The wait for signatures has often caused last minute purchasing “emergencies,” Stanley said, which bypass the three-signature rule.  If an emergency arises, the mayor or vice mayor may take a phone vote to approve the purchase without there being signatures on paper before money is spent.

“We have eliminated one of our funnels here because this person or people are not bypassing the problem. They’re not allowed to,” he said.

The wait has recently been reduced to approximately five days by making regular phone calls to aldermen, Stanley said.

“We established that maybe just a phone call, we’ve went from 30 days down to five working days or seven,” he said.

In addition to eliminating a long wait, Stanley said asking department heads to order necessary parts ahead of time will eliminate other emergencies.

“Because you did not plan right does not make it an emergency,” he said.

The proposed purchasing policy point also outlines who the town should make its purchases from.

“Anything that we can buy in Caryville, we should buy in Caryville because the city benefits, and we want to be a good customer to the people that are selling stuff,” Stanley said.

Items or purchases amounting to $1,500 will have to be advertised for bids.

“In this policy, before you get those big ticket items, you have to get three signatures before you bring it to council,” he said.

While a department may have the funds to purchase an item, available funds won’t automatically mean the approval to buy.

“Just ‘cause you got the money doesn’t mean you’re always gonna get. It’s gonna be the things that you need,” Stanley said.

Emergencies could be limited with the new policy as well. Emergency purchases under $1,500 will be eligible for the phone vote, but any amount higher than that will still have to be advertised for bids.

‘If we’re gonna have $1,500 on sealed bids, it should be $1,500 down here on this emergency purchase,” said Alderman Glenn Smith 

A purchasing policy could be voted on as early as the regularly scheduled Jan. 14 meeting