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Cages Rattled Over Purchasing

The last town meeting of the fiscal year, appropriately enough, was a finance meeting. The main topic was a continued review of the Internal Audit Report on Procurement, drafted on April 16. The audit includes provisions for consolidating some of the bidding process by the town and Board of Education. Joining the two, though, proved somewhat contentious.

"I want to get away from control for control's sake," Charles Haberstroh of the audit subcommittee said of the mentality that each side should handle its own purchasing. The problem is some items could be bought in bulk. Doing so could save the town and the schools money. Right now both sides might award bids and issue purchase orders for the same product.

Complicating the process of consolidation is that the schools often receive lower rates on supplies than does the town. But in those cases there is no way to save money without violating contracts.

It was agreed they would investigate combining the systems where it's feasible and makes sense without breaking agreements. Other topics of interest last night included using tracking numbers to make it easier to follow items through proposals and meeting notes.

Discussion on an ethics and whistle blower clause in the report was delayed. It was felt that First Selectman Gordon Joseloff should have the say on that, but he was unable to attend last night.

The report was prepared by Internal Auditor Lynn Scully and is at this time in a draft state. Nothing discussed last night is final.

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