Claremore Daily Progress

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November 15, 2012

Helm, Thacker: Caught and Warned

DA Loring says commissioners broke law with intent, chooses not to file charges

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

Loring continued to issue further warning to the commissioners in the statement.
“My understanding is that you claim, despite having been to training in regard to county purchasing practices, that you did not understand the parameters of the $10,000 limitation on purchases without utilizing the bid process.  
“Clearly you understand that a single purchase cannot exceed $10,000 or you would be in violation of the law.” Loring wrote.
The issue though is about multiple purchases that cumulatively exceed the limit for something that arguably should be considered one purchase.  
The State Auditor and Inspector’s Office takes the position that commissioners cannot expend more than $10,000 in a year for the same item, service, system, etc., without public bidding, or else commissioners are splitting purchase orders and are in violation of the act, according to the statement.
“The statute itself, however, is not quite so clear on defining what a “purchase” actually means.  Here, you each had multiple roads that were worked on for each of the expenditures.  To be safe and to follow the spirit of the law, you should consider these multiple expenditures as one purchase in the future,” Loring wrote.  
Loring concluded stating that the district attorney’s office agreed with the SA&I interpretation adding a warning of  “You are hereby put on notice that if you should have a similar situation present itself again in the future, you should consult with your District Attorney before taking actions like you did in this case.”
Loring concluded by suggesting that legislature “work on cleaning up this law” in order to clarify the intent for prosecution.
“Of course I am pleased with the outcome of this investigation. My sole purpose is to represent the people of Rogers County. I take that responsibility very seriously and will  continue to do so as long as the people wish me to,” Thacker said.
Helm did not respond to the Claremore Progress when contacted for comment.

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