Local News

April 10, 2013

Adding sense to Franklin County's purchasing policy


“I can understand making them go by state contract for big things, but you can’t leave a county vehicle sitting for hours on the side of the road for a $10 part,” Robideau said.

“It’s the same thing as with the screws.”

In that case, the automated handicapped-access door on the Brewster Street side of the County Courthouse was inoperable because one of its screws was missing, a part that costs $1.25 at any hardware store. But because of the purchasing policy, Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Darrin Rubadeau had to get quotes from three state-contracted vendors to find the cheapest price, which took hours out of his workday, she said.

“It’s time consuming, and time is valuable,” Robideau said. “Everybody’s time is valuable. And this is something that could be taken out of petty cash.”


Examples like those are why legislators recently approved creating petty-cash accounts for Rubadeau, the Highway Department and Emergency Services.

Robideau said she’d like to see more purchasing requests done as vouchers rather than purchase orders through the Purchasing Department, such as routine payments for items like fuel oil and telephone bills.

She would also like to see purchasing responsibilities and oversight removed from the County Manager’s Office because of Leitz’s volume of work.

“The county manager oversees all the departments in the county, and that’s a full-time job,” she said. “I’m not trying to be mean, but there are more important things for Tom to work on than the purchasing policy.”

She was not sure if it’s legal to make that move but said she would ask County Attorney Jonathan Miller. She suggested County Treasurer Bryon Varin ask the county’s independent auditor for an opinion.

“I’m not dropping this,” Robideau said. “I want to know, and I’ll be satisfied when I see in writing that it’s legal or it’s not.”

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