Teamwork! Local Government’s road to success…is easier when everyone knows where they are going….

poor_teamwork-resizedThe number of people that make up Local Government’s TEAM is much larger than anyone can imagine. We have, department heads (police, fire, highway department, water, waste water, solid waste, town clerk/tax collector, town executive 0ffices) and hired personnel in all of those departments that work hard at making government run smoothly.

Last but not least, the biggest part of that TEAM is the Legislative Body (property owners/tax payers) who raise the money and elect a Board of Selectmen (BOS). The BOS is the administrative part of the TEAM. The primary function of the BOS is to attend to the prudential affairs of the town as directed by the legislative body…RSA 41:8 and RSA 41:9.

The BOS under RSA 41:9 (VI), is “responsible for establishing and maintaining appropriate internal control procedures to insure the safeguarding of all town assets and properties.” This internal control policies are known as Town of Henniker Selectmen’s Policies (read here).

These policies are designed to effectuate an efficient and orderly implementation of the Legislative Body’s directives. Any distortion of, or failure to follow these internal control policies could lead to the break down of the orderly transaction of town business and thus puts the assets and properties of this town at risk.

The most sacrosanct of our policy’s is the Procurement Policy. This policy deals with the expenditure of tax money. In the policy document cited above [Section III-1 (page III-1-4) or (page 29-32 of 63 pages in pdf).]  clearly defines the Procurement policy.

The Procurement Policy sets forth a clear definition of Major and Non Major purchases for goods and services. Once again, another project has been brought to the public’s attention that seems to indicate that the Procurement Policy has been at best twisted and at worst completely violated.

The removal of debris ordered by the Army Corps of Engineers, which was to be removed in 2015, has been completed. The total bill for that project was $21,649 sand-pile11212016.

The intent of the policy is to make sure that projects are to be planned in detailed and all aspects of the project should be accounted for in one total price. At no point in this project was there ever adherence to the requirements of a Non Major purchase:

“For all non-major purchases over $3,000.00, it shall be the responsibility of the Department Heads to provide to the Finance Director a standard purchase order form. The Department Head must accompany the purchase order form with at least three quotations or prices and specify the method by which the quotations or prices were obtained.The purchase order shall be presented to the Finance Director for review. If the Finance Director recommends the purchase order be paid, he shall sign it and present it to the Town Administrator. By his/her signature, the Town Administrator shall approve or disapprove the purchase order.”

At the BOS meeting on November 15, 2016, pursuant to Article III.1 Non major purchase, I asked for a copy of the purchase order for the sand removal project that was subject to the Army Corps’ order. Chairman Blomback advised me that no such purchase order was necessary and Town Administrator Christine Trovato stated that no such purchase order was created for this project.

I asked Chairman Blomback if he could supply me with the invoices for this project which he did. He also sent me this email chairman-email-procurement

The Chairman’s explanation is somewhat tortuous. Video evidence contradicts the statement made that the Select Board gave the directive to clean up the site when in fact it was the Town Administrator who ordered it. Also the Chairman stated, ” that policy was instituted, at the Department Head level, to keep the selectboard informed of decisions that were flowing upward through the town flowchart.” Video evidence shows that the Select Board was confused about the cost involved:

At the 5:28 mark Selectman Fortner states that the board does not require written proof of conversations between the Town Administrator and other Department heads…yet the procurement policy stated above states just the opposite. The policy does require written proof…the creation of a purchase order singed by the Department Head, the Finance Director and the Town Administrator…to me that policy requires written proof.

Mr. Fortner asks for time to research it and get the facts…as of yet no one has returned to the conversation.

ohb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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