Humphrey questions legality of squad talks

10:00 am | June 13, 2013

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey is questioning whether recent negotiations between Carter County Commission Chairman Tom “Yogi” Bowers and the Carter County Rescue Squad were in violation of the 1981 Financial Management Act.

Humphrey raised the issue during the Financial Management Committee meeting Wednesday morning after Bowers gave an update on negotiations with the CCRS to come to an agreement for services.

Bowers told the committee the CCRS had agreed to accept $170,000 a year for a four-year term and would continue to provide the same level of services. Humphrey said he was concerned the negotiations went against the 1981 Financial Management Act because Bowers acted alone in the negotiations and did not involve any other commissioners, financial management committee members or finance department employees.

Bowers said he had been told by the county attorney and the County Technical Assistance Service that no violations or issues had occurred.

“I don’t know why you didn’t take leadership in this,” Bowers said.

Humphrey said CTAS had told him differently.

He said while the agreement Bowers negotiated did come with a savings from the initial amount the CCRS asked for, it was still higher than what the county could have paid had the commission reached an agreement earlier.

“We could have had this before for $104,000 a year,” Humphrey said.

In other business, the committee also took a look at possible new vendors for software to replace financial management software the county’s finance director called “antiquated.”

The committee reduced the number of possible software vendors from three to two after Finance Director Ingrid Deloach presented quotes from three vendors for new financial management software for the finance department. BIS gave a price of $86,010; Skyward Inc. gave a price of $162,918 and Tyler Technologies provided a price of $261,887.

The committee agreed to eliminate Tyler Technologies from consideration because of the price given for software services.

The committee first considered working with Skyward Inc. in June 2012 when the former vendor, Bridge Computer Systems, was bought out by Saratoga Technologies.

The committee decided to renew the contract with Saratoga instead of pursuing a new vendor, but the system provider has fallen short of the committee’s expectations for service.

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