The Palestine City Council approved changes to the city’s purchasing policy, coupled with a reorganization of staff and responsibilities during its meeting Monday.
During the work session, council members discussed details surrounding the proposed changes to the purchasing policy, as well as the reorganization of staff that comes with the retirement of Ruth Berry, who has been the city’s purchasing agent for the past 31 years.
Berry told council members during the work session that the policy could use some rewriting.
“We haven’t updated the purchasing policy in several years,” Berry said. “If we could get in line with the state Local Government Code, it’d be a lot easier, as far as the bidding process.”
City Manager Wendy Ellis elaborated on this during the regular meeting.
Ellis explained that the city had reviewed Berry’s responsibilities as purchasing agent, as well as procedures in the finance department's purchasing policy, and “looked to see if there was a more efficient way to manage those day-to-day operations” — which resulted in the proposed changes.
“As Ms. Berry has been reviewing, these recommended changes would put us in line with the state of Texas Local Government Code and would put our process in a more conducive matter to get business taken care of,” Ellis said.
Formerly, if the city made an expenditure of $1,000 or more, a purchase order would have to be made.
Under the proposed changes, $1,000 would increase to $5000 for the requirement of a purchase order, and the amount required for a sealed bid, such as from an area business or organization, would increase from $25,000 to $50,000.
Additionally, expenditures of $10,000 or more that had already been approved by the council would not have to be re-approved.
Council members voted to approve the updated policy and reorganization of staff, resulting in the following: it would reorganize the responsibilities of positions to basically cover Berry’s former duties as purchasing agent (a position that would be eliminated) and would create a permanent part-time position (formerly a temporary position) in the finance department.