Seeking to rebuild confidence in the county’s administration, DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May unveiled a new purchasing policy to regulate vendors doing business with the county.
“We can’t control what happened in the past, but we can improve the process moving forward, developing these safeguards on a secure level to ensure the trust of our residents and the integrity of this county,” May said. “This new policy has the best value for our residents at heart, offers a transparent and competitive process and holds administrative and public parties responsible for any wrong actions.”
May and the county’s Interim Purchasing and Contracting Director Scott Callan unveiled the new Purchasing and Contracting policies and procedures, a 39-page document at a news conference on Aug. 6.
The new polices cover everything from exemptions, expenditures, ethics and grants to purchasing responsibilities, procurement procedures, and competitive bidding. Other issues such as bonds and insurance also are covered.
Some examples of policy violations that can cause a company to lose a DeKalb contract or be placed on an “Ineligible Source List” are: willfully or repeatedly breaching a country contract, establishing a pattern of unethical or immoral business practices; and being the subject of a claim or lawsuit filed by the county concerning goods, commodities, services or construction.
Callan said the new purchasing policies will provide guidelines, rules, regulations, laws and directions for all county staff. Callan said the new policies will fulfill objectives recommended in a 2013 Special Grand Jury report on county policies.
“These new polices create the framework for all procurement activities in a simplified, easy to understand manner that all parties engaged in the process must follow,” said Callan. “The new policy will enable this county to simply and positively communicate with internal departments, the business community, and citizens about DeKalb’s new standards and for purchasing and contacting.”
The Special Grand Jury’s yearlong investigation into DeKalb contracting was released on Aug. 21, 2013. The report recommended criminal charges against former DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. In particular, the report called for investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the bidding, awarding and management of contracts in DeKalb.
Ellis is currently awaiting trial on a 15-count indictment that accuses of him of illegally pressuring county contractors into giving him campaign contributions. Ellis is charged with extortion and other felonies for soliciting campaign contributions under threat.
May said the new policies spell out what county officials can and cannot do concerning vendors as well as vendor responsibilities.
“These new polices will create a transparent and known environment that seeks to achieve fundamental and public sector procurement goals. In the past, a CEO could just change the policies as they saw fit. A CEO could come up with polices and change them back and forth however they wanted. Those days are gone,” said May.
“Rather than have a knee-jerk reaction to the recommendations made by the Special Grand Jury, we took the recommendations to heart and acted both immediately and deliberately.” Callan says he looks forward to restoring residents’ confidence by implementing the new policy.“These new policies will enhance the county’s efforts to increase a business-friendly atmosphere and will continually improve internal operations,” said Callan.Interim CEO May says the new polices and procedures will be posted on DeKalb County’s web site’s homepage.
He says he will also post any updates or changes to the polices on the site as well.To see the new polices and procedures, visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov.