MOULTRIE — Colquitt County Administrator Marion Hay has put the brakes on the county shop, which he said has been buying equipment and supplies without going through the purchasing department since around March of this year.

Hay, who discussed the issue following a Thursday Colquitt County Commission meeting, said he also has ordered county department heads to clear out-of-town travel with him ahead of time to ensure county money is being spent efficiently.

Commissioners expressed approval of the measures during their meeting.

The county’s recently enacted budget calls for spending $993,412 from reserve funds, and commissioners are looking at cutting expenses.

Buying equipment and supplies without going through the purchasing department also was a violation of county ordinance, Hay said. The policy of allowing the shop to purchase outside normal channels apparently started about the time former shop manager Charlie Carr was terminated in March.

Some other departments also may have been making purchases without going through the bid process as required by county ordinance, Hay said.

“I don’t know what was going on,” he said. “When I got back they had decentralized purchasing. The mechanics shop, they started their own purchasing. I don’t think they were following proper purchasing procedures. I’m sure there were other departments. I don’t know who they are.”

Hay said he has not determined how much money was spent on equipment and supplies that were not bid through the purchasing department.

“We have a purchasing department to follow the purchasing procedures and make sure purchasing is in proper compliance,” he said. “That had been taken out. I put that back in place. I told everybody all purchasing goes through that purchasing department.”

On travel, Hay said he sent a memorandum to all department heads stipulating that all travel requests for outside the county be submitted to him for approval.

“I have to know when they’re leaving, when they’re coming back, a justification for travel and how it will benefit the county,” Hay said.

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