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Council discusses purchasing cards

April 14, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

The use of purchasing cards to make some city purchases, while opening up the possibility of abuse, should save the city money, city officials said Tuesday.

The cards are similar to credit cards and would be used by department managers or employees to buy items costing less than $1,000.

The cards were among several proposals presented at the City Council's work session to change the way the city buys equipment and services. City Administrative Services Director John Budesky said the proposals will save the city time and money.

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Budesky said city departments are hampered by the length of time it takes to buy items.

Finance Director Alfred Martin said that specific to the purchase cards, there is a possibility for abuse, but there are plans to make those who have them accountable. Martin said the city would keep regular tabs on the use of the cards.

In addition, department managers will be able to limit the type of items that can be bought with the cards.

Budesky said the cards would prevent city employees from having to charge purchases on their personal credit cards for reimbursement from the city.

Other changes proposed Tuesday would rework the type of action required from managers to approve purchases. Budesky's proposals would lessen the amount of oversight at most levels, and would raise the cost of items that would require mayor and council approval from $5,000 to $10,000.

Another change would allow city employees to buy office supplies faster by joining in a contract between Washington County government and an office supply company.

The council gave preliminary approval to the changes.

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