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Financial Management Committee Meeting Minutes – November 3, 2022 (Unapproved)

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Acting Chair Beth Moore-Sumners, Director of Financial Management, opened the meeting asking that Commissioner Matt Rubelsky offer a prayer and lead the pledge.  Minutes of 9 March 2022 were later moved for approval by Commissioner Tracy Wilburn, seconded by Commissioner Erin Curry and were approved. The Acting Chair then provided information on the role of the committee and how the county operates under the 1981 Financial Management Act, noting not all counties do.   The Financial Management Committee, by that Act, must include as members the County Executive, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Superintendent of Roads.  The Committee could also be part of the Budget Committee but early on that decision was to keep the committees separate.  Ultimately this Committee has more operating authority than others with decisions generally made and upheld within the committee.  Decisions that require resolutions do go to the full Commission.  In the absence of any member no one can “set in” for that missing member.


Nominations were then accepted for Chairman and Vice Chairman.  A nomination by Commissioner Tracy Wilburn for the County Executive Graham Stowe to be Chairman was made.  After other potential nominations were discussed but not nominated, Commissioner Evan Baddour provided the second to the only nomination and that nomination, County Executive Graham Stowe as Chairman, was approved by acclimation.  The County Executive and Commissioner Wilburn nominated and seconded that Commissioner Curry be elected Vice-Chairman.  That nomination, being the only one, was approved by acclimation.


The newly elected Chair then asked the Financial Manager to take the lead on the agenda items.  First Item – Disposal of Assets.   The Financial Manager noted that the handout provided was lengthy and she then described the disposal process.  That is, a group email is sent to ask if anyone can use in the county organizations; if not, for those that are salable, she uses GovDeals.com.  Commissioner Wilburn moved for approval to place the items on the website for sale, and with Commissioner Curry providing the second, the motion was approved.


Next Agenda Item – the Bid Limit for proposed assets costing over $25K requires under the Tennessee Code specifications, quotes, and advertisements.  With inflation currently at a high rate, the $25K is causing significant challenges.  Those being, obtaining quotes difficult especially with no local offerings, timing in the paper coinciding with committee meeting times, urgency, with an example of a hot water system out in the high school cafeteria being given.  The County Executive noted that the culture of the county’s Financial Management Office is to seek methods to keep costs low.  A motion by Commissioner Curry and seconded by Commissioner Judy Pruett to raise that Bid Limit to over $50K was made and was approved.  This action will require a resolution and full commission approval.


Next Agenda Item – Quotes.  Currently, three quotes are required for purchases between $9,999 and $24,999.  The Financial Manager noted the difficulty in today’s environment to get three quotes, required under the purchasing rules.  She recommended that be increased to $15K.  The County Executive asked when the $10K was established and per Dr. Vickie Beard, the amount probably follows the rules established for the schools.  The County Executive noted that the $10K is around one/half of the $25K bid limit, so perhaps the quote limit should be $15K or $20K.  A motion by Commissioner Evan Baddour and seconded by Commissioner Tracy Wilburn to raise the quote limit to $15K was made and was approved.   This action does not need a resolution.


Next Agenda Item – Revision to Purchases without Purchase Orders.  The Financial Manager asked that postal box rentals also be included.  A motion by Commissioner Wilburn, seconded by Commissioner Curry was made and was approved.


Next Agenda Item -Public Records.  TCA has changed the Forms for requesting public records.  A motion by Commissioner Pruett, seconded by Commissioner Curry to approve the updated request forms was made and was approved.


Next Agenda Item – Disposal of Assets.  Excerpt of guidance provided.  Any asset has to be approved by this Committee.  Because of meeting times of the Committee, a recommendation was made to give Financial Management a $1K threshold authority to dispose.  A motion by Commissioner Curry, seconded by Commissioner Wilburn was made to authorize the Director Financial Management to dispose of assets under the $1K threshold.   Discussion on used value (no current value), provide all with a printout showing disposed items, per Dr. Beard the school has a $500 or less threshold; all would still go through the Financial Management Office for final disposal; anything questionable would be brought to the Committee; with passing of motion only about one-half would come to this committee on listing today; anybody in county to look at potential repair, School has a maintenance person.  This would be a policy change only.  Motion was restated and approved after above discussion.


Next Agenda Item – Unclaimed property timing.  Currently the report is due 1 May, however at state level changed to 1 November.  Motion to approve change in county from 1 May to 1 November made by Commissioner Wilburn, seconded by Commissioner Curry to change.  Motion approved.


Next Agenda Item – Travel policy.  The Director, Financial Management, discussed the challenges of county travel.  Those being, allowing travel the night before when location of travel and perhaps starting time would allow travel the morning of; approving travel and county paying up front and conference/meeting not attended; cost of motel room above GSA rates; different advantages between on-line vs actual attendance; some travel mandated to retain certifications; exceptions such as weather, traffic conditions; and time changes between locations.  One major problem, per County Executive, is maintaining consistency without a policy, which could be relooked if needed.   Per Director, Financial Management, COVID forced our hands on virtual and she hopes to see some of that continue, however for example, the school personnel require training which generally takes place in Nashville,  Commissioner Baddour questioned how much total spent on travel, and does this move “the meter” significantly.  The Director said could be big dollars but it’s more about not abusing the system.  Commissioner Rose Brown said providing a supervisory signed request with the associated Itinerary form would help and takes the burden off the Financial Management office.  The Director said they are still working on the form and she mentioned the Sheriff’s Office and the Ambulance department gets paid up front on meals.  If they don’t go, it should be taken out of their pay.  County Executive said that could be addressed at the next meeting.  A motion by Commissioner Baddour, seconded by Commissioner Curry to approve the travel policy with the exception of changing the starting time being considered for travel from 11 o’clock to 1 o’clock.  Motion approved. A question from Commissioner Annelle Guthrie on if motel rate higher than government rate, does the county pay the difference.  The Director mentioned there is usually a block of rooms set for commissioner attendees.  Commissioner Guthrie also noted there is usually a discount for early registering.  County Executive said this is a “live document” so bring ideas.  Commissioner Curry noted that in her work experience, she is required to take classes and many of those are also relevant to county training.  She stated that if you turn in a documented request to CTAS, those hours can be counted toward the required continuing education required for all commissioners.


Next Item on Agenda – Purchase of budgeting software.  The Director, Financial Management, provided a handout from a company who provides budgeting software, only being provided for discussion purposes.  She discussed the increase in workload within her organization, and the potential retirement of not only one known retirement but possibility of two more.  Nancy Griffin, a great asset for the county, has managed the detail workings of the county generally by hand, except for software such as EXCEL.  The handout described the various reporting available electronically, i.e. across departments, summaries, graphs.  The Director would like to reach out to other companies.  A motion by Commissioner Curry and seconded by Commissioner Pruett to pursue purchasing software to include other vendors was made and was approved.


Next Agenda Item – Update on Personnel.  The above-mentioned Nancy Griffin will be retiring 30 June 2023.  Per County Executive, the county needs to develop bench strength – get other people up to speed.  The Director mentioned people working within that she would be considering and that she would like to hire by 1 December.  During a previous hire with a similar job description, the second choice not hired at the time, could be hired without advertisement.  The one-time cost to the county would be $27322.39 (full loaded) for that time period, with the next budget year remaining the same due to filling an existing position.  A motion by Commissioner Wilburn, seconded by Commissioner Curry to send the $27,322.39 to the budget committee, was made and was approved.


No Old Business.  New Business – The Director, Financial Management, said that during a recent audit meeting, a recommendation to have a Budget Committee meeting prior to the final full Commission was made.  This recommendation was based on the salary line which can never be over the budgeted line.  This is challenging with schools especially for several reasons.  The meeting would be just for cleanup, she noted, and that perhaps should be discussed at Legislative meeting.


Commissioner Baddour moved for adjournment and with Commissioner Wilburn providing the second, the meeting was adjourned.


ATTENDEES:  Members of the Commission Chairman County Executive Graham Stowe, School Superintendent Dr. Vickie Beard, Road Superintendent Barry Hyatt (absent), although non-voting Erin Harmon for Barry Hyatt and for information purposes only, Commissioners Judy Pruett, Erin Curry;, Evan Baddour, Tracy Wilburn

Other Commissioners Attending:  David Wamble, Maurice Woodard, Terry Jones, Joseph Sutton, Joyce Woodard, David Adams, Matt Rubelsky, Rose Brown, Gayle Jones, Annelle Guthrie, Matt Hopkins

Other Attendees -Director of Financial Management Beth Moore-Sumners, Nancy Griffin, and members of the public