State Auditor’s Program Will Provide Tracking And Rebates
At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Wetzel County Commission on Dec. 2, State Auditor Glen B. Gainer III, along with members of the state auditing staff, presented information to the commission regarding the State Purchasing Card Program. After addressing questions from county clerk’s office employees and reviewing information put forth by the state auditor’s office, the commission voted to implement the program for Wetzel County.
The State Purchasing Card Program is a payment process used for the procurement of small dollar items needed for county operation, although larger ticket priced items are available for purchase as well. It offers agencies, boards, and commissions an efficient method for streamlining the payment process.
“It empowers people to make purchases at a lower level,” said Gainer. It also allows for a greater amount of attention to be given to bigger financial projects. The commission decided to implement a ghost card option which was put forth by the State Auditor’s office at a previous commission meeting.
The county will receive all of the benefits of the Purchasing Card Program but will not be issued tangible cards. The commission felt that easing into the program at first would be the best way to begin a new, unfamiliar process. Comfort levels are likely to increase over time, according to Gainer, which will allow for more flexibility and control of the program.
There will be an appointed card coordinator for each county agency who will be responsible for monitoring and allocating funds provided to each county agency. County employees will be given the ability to make needed purchases at their level of operation, by cutting out much of the administrative paperwork that is entailed in purchasing items, while still being monitored by both the card coordinator and the commission.
The commission will have the ability to monitor spending within all county agencies. “Because you control the county budget, as a commission, you have the right to see, on a daily basis, what’s being spent and who is spending it,” said Director of Local Government Programs Jack Berry.
By utilizing the Purchasing Card Program, the commission will receive a rebate percentage based on their annual volume of spending and will increase efficiency, according to both Gainer and Berry. All rebates that result from county agency purchases will be returned to the commission as it is the commission’s fiscal responsibility to determine the county’s budget.
Commissioner Robert Gorby voiced his concern regarding his comfort level with the program. According to Gainer, there will be a security program implemented to ensure that funds are not misused. If fraud should occur, there will be no cost to the county. Funds will be replenished by VISA liability insurance. The only requirement of the state is to terminate the employee who committed the act. The county will not be responsible for the lost funds.
Commissioner Don Mason questioned who would be paying the cost of interest, if any. According to Gainer, there will be no interest rate on the purchaser cards. That cost of the interchange rate is paid by the business with which the county is conducting business. “The interchange rate, today, is embedded in the price of everything we buy today,” said Gainer.
The Purchasing Card Program has achieved great success, being recognized by VISA International in a 2004 nationwide study performed by Deloitte & Touche, which called WV’s program “one of the nation’s best”, having implemented 12 of the nation’s top 26 best practices.
The commission voted and passed the motion to implement the program for Wetzel County. Per request of the county clerk’s office,
the commission will wait until the new year to begin the program.
In other county news, the commission passed a motion to accept the bid of RC General Contracting, Charleston, to begin work on the Wetzel County 911 center.
According to Wetzel County 911 Executive Director Ed Sapp, RC General is qualified to complete the job. He stated that he had found no detrimental reports regarding the firm and that RC General would hire union workers. Their original bid was $1.311 million, $36,000 under their competitor, JD & E Contractors, Wheeling, who entered a bid of $1.347 million. Because the commission found both firms to be equally qualified and responsible, they were obligated to choose the lowest bidder.
Mason made a motion to choose RC General Contractors to begin work on the 911 center. Both Commissioners Mason and Gorby voted to accept the bid of RC General. Commission President Barbara King voted no, stating, “I do not know them”. She added that she was just not comfortable with that choice. The motion passed.
The Wetzel County Commission meets every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the commission quarters next to the courthouse.