The Pryor Times

Local News

February 21, 2014

Commissioner visits county firefighter association meeting

PRYOR, OK — County firefighters talked policy at the association meeting Monday.

Members were addressed by Commissioner Ryan Ball who discussed proper purchasing procedures.

“Thanks for putting me on your agenda. I know there’s been some confusion, so hopefully this will help you all out,” Ball said, as he gave each department a copy of the Oklahoma Purchasing Procedures Handbook.

“One significant thing about this is that if you spend county tax money, you’re bound  by the same laws we are. If you sign a purchase as a requisitioning officer, you’re liable for that,” said Ball. “I know some purchase orders haven’t been paid for whatever reason. Your purchasing procedures are a little more simple than others like the jail.”

Ball told the firefighters if they have questions they are not comfortable seeking answers from the commissioners on, they have a right to contact the auditor.

“If it’s more than once sentence, I’d recommend you email then so you have your answers in black and white ‘cause one word can change the entire meaning of the sentence,” said Ball. “And a good rule of thumb on purchasing is when in doubt, bid it. Even if you’re not sure or it’s less than $10,000, just bid it out to be sure.”

He added that if bidding impedes firefighter duties and processes they should write out an action plan, explaining the problem.

“I know it's difficult but we're all spending tax money so we're all under the same purchasing procedures. And you have as much right to call the auditor as we do,” said Ball.

Ball’s visit with the firefighter association was not discussed by the commissioners ahead of time.

“I took it upon myself to come talk to these guys, it was not a board decision,” said Ball.

Ball has recently undergone some confrontation with the other two commissioners over purchase orders. He was questioned about splitting purchase orders and not following proper purchasing protocol.

“I just attended a purchasing class and it dawned on me that these guys are trained, but don’t have time to attend these classes so I wanted to bring the information to them,” Ball said. “It hasn’t been a real big issue in our fire departments, I’m being proactive more than anything.”

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