2013-05-23 / Front Page

Limits may get second look

Commissioner seeks to change approval policy

MANISTIQUE – The Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners will consider a move to increase purchase limits for department’s budgeted items. Currently, departments must submit purchase requisition paperwork for board approval on any budgeted or unbudgeted item over $100.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the board, Commissioner Craig Reiter shared concerns from the Transit Board and the Schoolcraft County Commission on Aging.

“They brought up, again, the difficulty they’re having with the $100 limit on different things, especially if it’s a budgeted item,” he said. “Both of these groups are making a good case – it’s their money … and, quite frankly, I can see they’re point.”

Reiter asked his fellow board members if it would be possible to increase the amount needing board approval to $250. He noted that right now, even smaller budgeted items such as toners and gas add up quickly and end up requiring board approval.

“Every time that they (transit) fuel up a vehicle, it’s over $100,” he said. “So, every time that they’re fueling up … it would need board approval, because it’s over $100, but, yet, it’s a budgeted item.”

Commissioner Dan LaFoille, a member of the county’s Finance Committee, suggested the question go to the committee and they would make a recommendation to the board. Commissioner Jerry Zellar explained he liked the controls currently in place.

“I know it seems tiresome,” Zellar said. “But it’s probably why our head’s still above water a little bit.”

Reiter noted that granting the departments some leeway on some purchases could benefit everyone.

“It seems like we could streamline the paperwork and make things run a little more efficiently,” he said.

Chairperson Al Grimm said he would be wary of an adjustment in the current policy.

“There’s some counties that really got problems,” he said. “They have let some things slip through and now they’re paying for it … I’m not against keeping a tight rein on things.”

The board took no action on the suggestion.

In other business, County Clerk Dan McKinney said that he, along with Schoolcraft County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Noble and 11th Judicial Circuit Court Judge William Carmody are exploring security options for the courthouse. He noted security concerns have been amplified following recent issues at both the Delta and Marquette county courthouses.

“I think the direction to go would be to form a committee and look at how do we proceed,” he said. “Where do we even start with our security? There’s so many issues.”

He said there is currently $50,000 worth of grant money the county could pursue to make the security upgrades. The board voted unanimously to allow a committee to be formed for the purpose of exploring courthouse security options.

The board also voted Tuesday to increase the hours of Schoolcraft County Undersheriff Darrell Dixson from 16 to 24. Dixson and Sheriff W. John Norrington recently made the request to increase Dixson’s hours after he attended an undersheriff academy and learned of 23 duties for which he is responsible.

After the vote to allow the increase, Dixson thanked the board and explained that he and the sheriff are working to change the leadership role within the jail to better guide employees.

“If you come over to the department, you’ll see some changes that are already starting to happen,” he said. “If you want to do better and you don’t know how to do better, and you’re not led by someone who does better, then you become stagnant.”

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