Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baubles and bangles bought without purchase order

Reporting by R.S. Gates
Story by The Legendary Jim Parks

Sparks flew in Commissioners' Court last Tuesday when Commissioner Joe Mashek of West questioned a large purchase authorized by County Judge Jim Lewis.

A jewelry purchase of more than $9,000 prompted Commissioner Joe Mashek to ask questions regarding Judge Jim Lewis' decision to buy service pins for county employees without a purchase order number or by following the purchasing procedure of going through the County Purchasing Officer for authorization.

The judge referred to the matter as one of “housekeeping.” Commissioner Mashek wanted to know if he had checked with other vendors and compared prices for the merchandise. The judge said he did not handle the matter; a person in his office made the arrangements on his instructions. He said he is “99% sure,” but did not know for sure because it happened some time in the past.

Commissioner Mashek followed up by asking if there is a purchase order number attached to the “ratification” request to authorize the purchase, which he had already approved.

The judge responded by saying from now on, Mr. Mashek can go through the purchasing office if he needs a radiator hose for one of his trucks. Mr. Mashek responds by saying he gets purchase order numbers, as outlined in McLennan County purchasing procedures.

The court approved the “ratification” by a vote of four to one, with Commissioner Mashek abstaining.

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