Claremore Daily Progress

September 25, 2012

County Clerk halts payments

Helm’s POs questioned, information requested

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Rogers County Clerk Peggy Armstrong brought forth questions Monday on two separate purchase orders presented for payment by Commissioner Mike Helm.

Payment for both were halted until more information is supplied by Helm.
Purchase orders 301164 and 300436 dealt with two different issues under statute, however, both were missing documentation to provide adequate information for payment, according to officials in the county clerk’s office.
P.O. 301164 to Maxwell Supply was submitted for payment for $11,262.45. Including in that invoice was 29 rolls of Mirafi Geotextile Fabric totaling $11,034.50.
This item was not bid per state statute and therefore the reason for the discussion.
“This is a more difficult question with the fabric issue because it is unknown until you start tearing up the roads,” Assistant District Attorney David Iski said.
“The best thing we [the county] can do is look at the bid process and generally if we are going to spend more then $10,000 we would go out for a bid,” Iski said.
Iski asked if there was a way for Helm to know how much material would be needed.
Helm said there are 10 different types of fabric and that he doesn’t know which one to use until the road is torn up.
“I don’t know how to bid 10 different pieces,” Helm said. “How do we do this and do we do this under a blanket purchase order.”
Commissioner Kirt Thacker compared the issue to the recent issue of road striping trying to insure that the item is handled correctly.
Commissioner Dan DeLozier suggested the item be bid per roll.
As the discussion continued, the commissioners tried to find a solution for the problem, including researching the product to determine if it is listed under a state contract.
The discussion also included what the proper procedure should be from this point forward.
“Should the project be stopped immediately and wait for a bid?” Iski said.
Ultimately, the question presented by the public was simply if the purchase order was not properly supported with documentation prior to use of the product.
Helm said he did not know how much would be needed for the project and it is dependent on the type of soil.
Helm stated that the county uses felt all the time for roads in the southern part of the county, but the issue here was that the felt needed on the northern roads was different.
“The roads in the south were always within a quote but this is the first time it has gone over,” Helm said.
Because this item exceeded the quote,  then there is a bid issue, according to Helm.
He also explained that he had purchased felt from the vendor before and did not have an issue with the quote.
Helm previously purchased a different type of Mirafi fabric in June of 2011 from the same vendor, Maxwell Supply,  for $9,647, according to county clerk records.
The reason it was different this time is because it was a different type of soil, according to Helm.
“We just don’t know what it will cost,” Helm said.
Helm then said that it would require bidding the 10 different types of material.
“We brought this before Iski and the board to say, hey we are going to have to bid all 10 types,” Helm said.
“The issue today is that it is $11,034.50 and we sign it we get in the paper for not going out for bids,” Thacker said.
“Shouldn’t your motivation be to stay within the statutes,” Andrea Feedback asked. “Where is the accountability?”
The commissioners voted to hold payment of the purchase order until further documentation could be presented.
Helm was asked to see if the item had been included under state contract that would cover this purchase.
The second purchase order that was questioned during the meeting dealt with the issue that the state bid contract was not attached to P.O. 300436.
The order was written to P&K Equipment for $120,272.50 for the purchase of a John Deere 7140 tractor and tiger saber mower.
Helm simply esaid that the vendor would be providing the documentation, as the bid is more than 2,000 pages in length.
He did not want to print the documentation and waste money.
After multiple attempts by the county clerk’s office, no documentation has been provided to date and the item has yet to be located under the state contract by officials.