County Board Chair Bill Ryan (D-IN-WF, White Plains) has put into effect a new rule for purchases by members and staff of the Board of Legislators: get prior written approval.

“The new requirement for written pre-approval strengthens existing procedures and puts into place a major new control that addresses a shortcoming in the purchasing process identified by the Special Committee on Internal Controls and Procedures,” said Ryan.

“Going forward, nothing big or small, can be purchased without prior written authorization by either the Board Chair, the Board Clerk or the Director of Fiscal Affairs. Securing prior approval is a prerequisite to either ordering goods and services or being reimbursed for them by the county,” Ryan said. “This is the first time in the 38-year history of the Board spanning the tenures of now eleven different Chairs when such a requirement has been put in place.”

Along with a set of new purchasing rules, Ryan introduced a new “Purchase Authorization Form” which requires the description, purpose and estimated cost of the item proposed for purchase.  This form follows the recently introduced “Request for Reimbursement” form which requires a detailed description of a pre-approved purchase along with receipts.

Under the new rules, a report of all purchases by the Board of Legislators shall be compiled quarterly by the Board’s Office of Fiscal Affairs. These reports will be provided to the members of the Board of Legislators, filed with the Budget and Appropriations Committee and posted on the Board’s web site.

“When it comes to purchasing items for the Board, the message will now be clear: without prior written approval, you own what you bought!  And request county reimbursement? Don’t even bother,” Ryan said.

Ryan said that he has made these changes so we can assure taxpayers that strong and adequate controls are in place to protect their tax dollars.