EATON — The Preble County Commissioners are considering a new policy which could potentially effect all county offices.
It was brought to Clerk Connie Crowell’s attention by County Auditor Lavon Wright that offices were buying food for their meetings and then getting reimbursed for the funds spent. This discovery came about by an audit completed by state examiners.
Crowell brought the issue to the commissioners’ attention during the meeting on Monday, Aug. 14.
“Items are being purchased that people need to keep in mind proper public purchase. Such as, when they have meetings and they buy food and drinks,” she said. “According to the bill, or the bulletin, that was passed back in 2003, in 2004 it indicates that the appointing authority needs to have a policy for such a purchase.”
“I don’t think we should buy any food,” Commissioner Rodney Creech said.
Crowell responded, “[Wright] tells me that people are purchasing gift cards to reward volunteers and a variety of things.”
“We’re not allowed to do that,” Creech replied.
“I’m working on coming up with a proposed policy for us, I don’t know about the other offices. I’ll ask the prosecutor,” Crowell said.
“Even if they’re allowed to do it, can we have a policy in place where they’re not allowed to?” Creech questioned. “How many times have we bought out of our personal pockets?”
They brought the potential policy back up during a monthly EMA meeting with Director David Anderson. He was planning on purchasing and being reimbursed for pizza and drinks for the Fire and EMS Chiefs’ meeting in August.
Commissioner Chris Day said, “I don’t know what’s been done in the past, but the purchase of food and drink for meetings and stuff is really not an acceptable policy for the county offices.”
“This is the first I’ve heard of this,” Anderson replied. “For the 14 years that this has been going on, we’ve always supplied stuff.”
“I understand that, I’m just saying that it was brought to my attention that this was being done in multiple offices. We’re really not supposed to be purchasing food,” Day said. “This was an area that had not been looked at prior.”
Robertson added, “It’s not just your office, other offices have purchased items not on the approved list.”
“We will be setting a policy that everyone will be following. [Crowell] is working on that now. From here forward don’t do anything like that, until we have the policy figured out,” Day said.