After another county contract was fumbled, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said he is looking into purchasing an online contract management system to streamline the process.
Currently, county-involved contracts are first signed by the vendor before being placed on the county commissioners’ agenda. After approval from the court, the county judge signs the contract, and it is physically walked to the clerk’s office for record keeping. In this process, contracts have not been signed in a timely manner or have even been lost, Gravell said.
In a recent case, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and the county auditor’s office were scolded by Gravell and the Commissioners Court for placing an item on the April 9 agenda that requested the approval for the use of county equipment after the equipment had already been used.
The contract was for the use of a sheriff’s patrol vehicle to be used by a sheriff hired by the Rosedale Foundation for an event patrol April 6. The request being placed on the agenda after the fact circumvents the approval process, Gravell said.
“I never thought I would have to say this publicly, but don’t put a contract on the agenda that has already been executed,” Gravell said. “I mean you’re now asking the county to sign off on an agreement that has already happened. That’s inappropriate, and it puts [the court]in a bind.”
The cost to the county was $36.
This is the second time in Gravell’s tenure that issues with contracts have been discussed in open court. Gravell, who took over as county judge Jan. 1, questioned why the sheriff’s office nor the auditor’s office had caught the error.
“I take full responsibility for this,” Deputy Chief Tim Ryle said. “I should’ve followed up on it and made sure it happened correctly, and I didn’t make sure it happened.”
To prevent further errors, a bid for the system is currently in a request for proposal, and Gravell said he hopes to have the purchasing of the new system in the fiscal year 2019-20 budget and implemented by January 2020.
The court did not approve the contract but said the money still needed to be paid back to the county, as it is taxpayer money.