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City workers must get invoices upon arrival of all equipment

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The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - Council members are demanding invoices be received with approved purchase order numbers in a reasonable time frame for the bill to be paid.

Ferris Mayor Jimmie Birdwell said in a letter dated Sept. 23 stating, 'the invoice must be picked up the day the work is done.'

The memo was hand delivered to every department head, City Secretary Alice Holloway said.

During the council meeting on Oct. 6, council-members Victor Burnett and Lori Perkins questioned bills received from Danny's Automotive Shop, owned by Danny Satterwhite.

Two bills out of a total of four were dated Feb. 24, 2003 and May 19, 2003 totaling $108 and $52.50 respectfully.

Four tires and a bumper were reported on one of the squad cars for $52.50 in May and the other bill from February was for miscellaneous items purchased.

Burnett questioned why the bills were just now being submitted for payment.

'All these bills are from the beginning of the year, Burnett said.

'If Mr. Satterwhite can not get bills sent in 30 days, he can't be paid.'

Satterwhite said he does not have a problem giving invoices to the city's employees when materials or city equipment is repaired or materials are bought.

He said he was been complying with the memo since it was release two to three weeks ago.

Years ago if the city did not have the money to pay for the bills incurred by the automotive shop, Satterwhite said he would hold the invoices and submit them when the city could afford to pay him for work to be performed.

Perkins asked why the city had received two invoices dated Aug. 20 for $251.69 and $17.50.

Holloway said the bill for $17.50 was for repairs made to the rear emergency lights on the department's Camaro.

An invoice for the $251.69 bill said it was for miscellaneous items.

Purchase order numbers

City employees wanting to purchase any one item over $25 or an invoice for a group of items totaling $100 or more, must have an approved purchase order number before the items can be purchased, Holloway said.

She said it has been an accepted city policy for years, before she even began working for the city.

In 2001, Holloway said, a memo was sent out to remind city supervisors and department heads purchase orders must be used.

Only in an emergency can a item be bought or equipment be repaired, but the city secretary said, 'must get the purchase order signed the next day.'

A dark blue Ferris Police Camaro was seen sitting at Danny's Automotive in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Oct. 7, for what was later described by Satterwhite as 'ordinary maintenance.'

'Never in the history of me working on Ferris equipment have they (city employees) had to have a purchase order number,' said Satterwhite.

'I wasn't given a po number.'

Holloway said she did not receive a purchase order request from the police department for any repairs or maintenance to be made to the Camero.

She said she asked acting police chief Mike Zaidle why the car was at the automobile repair shop without a po number, but he told her he didn't know why it was over there.

'What it boils down to is we have no leadership at the police department,' Ferris City Councilman Jessie Hernandez said.

'The man who is supposed to be running the police department has not stepped up. The officer had no authorization to take the car (to the automotive repair shop).'

Zaidle refused to comment on the situation saying, 'I have to get back with you on it. I can't make a comment at this time.'

Satterwhite said the mayor had written a letter a long time ago stating only work carried out of town to be repaired must have a po number.

Holloway said the memo he was referring to was written by the mayor when city owned automobiles would be sent to either Ed's Garage in Ennis, Danny's Automotive or

R & W Automotive, both in Ferris.

She said the city has always required a po number be approved for work performed in Ferris or outside the city limits.

According to the city secretary, supervisors or department heads must write out a purchase order request and get it approved by the mayor.

When the request has been approved, Holloway said she would then issue a number for the purchase order and inform the supervisor of its approval.

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