Town purchasing process to have stricter oversight

Town purchasing practices—more specifically, the way purchasing paperwork is handled—were a matter of concern at the June 26 Selectboard meeting. The Selectboard voted to amend the policy to shift toward greater oversight. Committees and departments are now required to submit all purchasing documentation to the town clerk.

The move was prompted by a request from Town Clerk/Treasurer Mary Mead. She suggested all bid paperwork should reside in Town Hall rather than held by various members of committees and departments. This would ensure that when committee members change the paperwork won’t go with them. Mead also said, after describing the requirement of obtaining three quotes for projects, that often, when the town gets a bill for a project, there is no supporting documentation that the steps necessary under the purchasing policy have been completed.

Board members voted unanimously to amend the policy to require the town’s committees and departments to submit all purchase documentation to the Town Clerk/Treasurer’s office. This will include “a list of vendors contacted, date, and copies of all quotes, vendor correspondence and a copy of any agreement and/or contract documents executed after accepting the quote.” Documents will need to be submitted when an agreement authorizing work to be done has been reached.

While this change is a small one in terms of policy language, it does mark a fairly notable shift from the previous process, which had documents residing with various members of committees and departments. “It was a minor change that requires the town to maintain a history of quotes for various projects bid,” Selectboard Chair Lane Morrison said, noting that it was undertaken at Mead’s urging. “[It is] good to have this history as a reference for budgeting in future years.”