AMHERST, NY-- Town Comptroller Darlene A Carroll tells 2 on Your Side many of the vendors to whom she was withholding payment for various services and supplies, should be getting their checks starting today.
Carroll, frustrated by what she said were persistent violations of the state's bidding requirements by various town departments, had finally had enough and stopped authorizing payments toward those purchases for which there was no proof that bidding requirements had been followed.
The amount totaled more than $200,000.
Though backed in her stance by the town attorney, the town board last week ordered Carroll to pay more than 100 invoices which hadn't been paid.
She told Channel 2 News the invoices were paid in her last check run on Friday.
"I think it's a gray area, as to which items get added together or aggregated," said Town Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein, who said the purchasing laws can be interpreted different ways. Weinstein notes that while a single purchase of $20,000 for one item certainly meets the threshold of bidding requirements, the same might not be said for bunches of items purchased by a single department which, taken together, exceed that amount.
For example, while the purchase of a snow plow may be subject to bidding, does the purchase of individual items to operate or maintain it require the same scrutiny?
"I wouldn't be adding air filters together with oil and tires...she's very broad in her aggregation, and I am not."
Weinstein, who also serves as the town's Purchasing Director, says he is working on a plan to better improve the process for both making sure that commodities and services are purchases in accordance with the law, and for vendors to be paid.
Carroll told WGRZ that she had no evidence that the town had overpaid for goods and services, but maintains that the purchases were not in compliance with rules set up to prevent abuses.
Town Councilmember Steven D. Sanders says Carroll was correct in her stance to hold off on payment of the bills amid her concerns, but that the town board was also correct in ordering that the bills be paid.
"Where we received the goods or services, we have an obligation to pay for them," he said.