The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Purchasing Procedures

Reference Number: MTAS-1683
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: October 19, 2015
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One of the most important jobs of a municipality is choosing the person responsible for purchasing. In some cases the municipal charter specifies the buyer. If the charter doesn't, the governing body must make the selection. The municipality should formally recognize the office of purchasing agent and the adoption of the purchasing procedures by ordinance. The buyer should be available to give input for creating and adopting purchasing procedures.

Using written, organized buying procedures is important because it lets taxpa­yers know their money is being spent carefully. Vendors know they will be treated fairly, and employees will have support, direction and protection from their highest superiors. Good purchasing policies should be developed around mandatory purchasing laws and regulations, common-sense business practices, and day-to-day practical experience.

The sample purchasing procedures contained in "Purchasing through Competitive Sealed Proposals" were selected as samples because they are comprehensive and practical. Some will be better than others for certain municipalities. In any case, the policies can easily be modified for most situations. According to these procedures, the municipality competitively bids everything costing $1,000 or mr and requires public advertisement and sealed bids for everything costing $2,500 or more. To modify for another municipality, simply change the amounts. Changes in routing of paperwork can be modified in the same way.

The size of the municipality makes little difference in the need for good purchasing procedures. Some municipalities will want a more sophisticated system.

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