July 29, 2013

Purchasing cited in audit

MALONE — Questions have resurfaced about Franklin County’s purchasing policy as legislators strive to correct numerous issues raised in an independent audit.

Some legislators want to adopt a tweaked policy at their next meeting, set for Aug. 1, while others still wonder if purchasing shouldn’t be removed from the jurisdiction and oversight of County Manager Thomas Leitz because of his hefty workload.

County Auditor Fran Perry said several county policies, including one covering purchasing, must be updated so she and any others working with county money are doing so from the same document.

“I have no rules to go by or how easy they are to enforce and how exactly we’ll handle things” if there is ever a question about a payment or voucher, she said.

She said she cannot update her own auditing policy until a revised purchasing policy is in place.


When purchasing issues were raised in April, Leitz asked for additional staff to help with the complex requests from larger departments.

But legislators felt updating and simplifying the policy would ease the workload on his existing staff.

Legislator Sue Robideau (R-Brushton) said she wants more vouchers used instead of purchase orders for routine bills like fuel and telephones. She suggested removing purchasing from Leitz’s control because he has more important county business to do.

“I have concerns about what to do with purchasing,” she said.

But Finance Committee Chairman Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) said he wants the policy voted on as soon as possible to, before the end of the year, take at least one item off a three-page list of concerns raised by auditor Roger Lis.

He said the purchasing policy need only be tweaked, not rewritten, and that Leitz has a revised version ready to go that adds the county auditor as a second person to sign off on county purchases.

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