Claremore Daily Progress

October 29, 2012

More questions arise for Helm

Purchase procedures primary focus for Thacker, DeLozier

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Purchasing procedures became the primary focus Monday and the Rogers County commissioners look to navigate new restrictions on District 2 spending.

This discussion came after Commissioners Kirt Thacker and Dan DeLozier began to oversee felow commissioner Mike Helm’s operations last week.
Helm presented a number of blanket purchase orders during Monday’s meeting and Thacker immediately began to question the items.
“I brought the purchase orders I need for everyday,” Helm said.
Among the paperwork Helm included everything from car maintenance to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to 600 gallons of road patching material.
The vendors listed under blanket purchase order received the greatest scrutiny, as the items give Helm greater freedom to spend funds.
“I don’t want to go with a blanket purchase order,” Thacker said.
Thacker was looking for individual itemized purchase orders for the purchases.
He requested the documents be submitted daily to the county clerk for approval.
Thacker and DeLozier will be signing each purchase order prior to any purchase or obligation by Helm.
“I think the public needs to know what we are doing and the general business needs to be on purchase orders,” DeLozier said.
“The word is that we are stifling business in District 2,” Thacker said. 
Thacker explained that was not the intent, but neither was it to approve things weekly.
“Do you want to do business daily or play with it like this,” Thacker asked Helm.
The issue is that Helm requested a week’s worth of “business” most of which were by blanket purchase order. Helm explained that previously there was no discussion of how to make the transition. 
He said he would comply with their request, he just needed to know what they wanted.
“I think we should do it the way the purchasing procedures are set up by state statute,” Thacker said.
The items need to be itemized and estimated, that is how it works, Thacker added.
“If you follow the purchasing procedures then that is how issues are avoided,” Thacker said.
“All three districts need to be better with major projects,” said DeLozier. 
In addition to the discussion regarding blanket purchase orders, Helm was questioned about the $1.7 million in one-cent funds.
Helm was asked if the funds were obligated or encumbered and that no work had been completed.
“No,” Helm said.
However, Donelson Construction has completed approximately $1 million in work for road resurfacing without being encumbered by Helm.
County officials verified the work was completed with Donelson and that no purchasing paperwork has been completed to date by Helm.
Donelson has recently performed approximately $5 million in roadwork for Helm through the FEMA alternate project list under the Keetonville Road disaster.
Donelson Construction and Clever Stone are owned by Mike Donelson and both companies donated to Helms 2012 re-election campaign.
According to state purchasing procedures, all purchases are to be encumbered prior to the purchase or authorization of work.
This is an ongoing issue that was noted by State Auditor Gary Jones during the Rogers County audit earlier this year.
“It is this type of issue we are looking to oversee,” Thacker said.