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Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

Unpaid bill could have hurt county

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bedford County Finance Director Robert Daniel told the county's Financial Management Committee on Tuesday that he paid an invoice for more than $120,000 for computer services for the school system as an emergency expenditure after the county discovered it was about to be sued for non-payment.

A recording of the meeting was provided to the Times-Gazette by the county finance office.

Unexpected find

County commissioner J.D. "Bo" Wilson, a member of the finance committee, said he was approached by someone at church and told that the county was about to be sued for non-payment.

He contacted Daniel, who said the invoices for $110,401 in the current fiscal year and $10,438 for the last fiscal year were never sent to his office. He said that if the county had been turned over to collection on the unpaid debt, it would have risked losing $800,000 to $900,000 in "e-rate" grant funding for school technology.

School superintendent Ray Butrum is on administrative leave for the rest of the month, and former superintendent Mike Bone is serving as interim superintendent.

Invoice path

The school superintendent, by virtue of the office, serves as a member of the financial management committee, and Bone attended Tuesday night's meeting. Bone said he didn't know where the invoices had been sent, saying they used to come to the school system central office.

Wilson said this was the second such incident where an invoice had not been properly sent to the county finance office; the first, said Wilson, involved bulbs for the interactive whiteboards used in many county classrooms.

Correct process

The committee stressed to Bone the importance of the county's purchase order process for all expenditures.

"I can only assume that everyone knows that," said Bone. "We'll address it again."

Wilson said that the school system's director of technology, Ben Barrett, was not to blame and took the proper steps in regard to the expenditures.

Other business

In other discussion, the committee approved budget amendments for the school system and the county general fund, and a resolution to finance new sheriff's department vehicles recently approved by commissioners.

Ray reminded commissioners about a scheduled Dec. 5 meeting in Nashville with the Tennessee Corrections Institute to discuss the county's jail overcrowding situation.