Reference Number: 
CTAS-908

All county purchasing is handled centrally under the County Financial Management System of 1981 act. The specific provisions regarding purchasing under the CFMS of 1981 are found in  T.C.A. §§ 5-21-118 through 5-21-120. The financial management committee, with the assistance of the purchasing agent, is to establish a purchasing system for the county. The system must provide among other procedures the following:

  1. The purchasing agent shall review all contracts or purchases for biddable supplies, materials, equipment, and other needs of the county;
  2. No purchase or contract can be made when the bid prices exceed the current market price for the same merchandise or service;
  3. Purchases and contracts must be awarded based on the lowest and best bid; and
  4. Specifications development shall be made by the department, agency, or official to receive the merchandise, construction or service (T.C.A § 5-21-119).

Purchasing Agent.  The finance director or a deputy appointed by him or her serves as the county purchasing agent unless the county legislative body establishes a separate purchasing department and appoints a purchasing agent.  If the county legislative body approves a separate purchasing department and a purchasing agent is hired, all duties and responsibilities relative to purchasing are removed from the finance director (T.C.A. § 5-21-118).

Duties of the Finance Director/Purchasing Agent. The duties related to county purchasing are performed by the finance director or his or her designee (unless a separate purchasing department is created and a purchasing agent is  appointed). The purchasing agent’s duties are as follows:
               

  • Contracting, purchasing, or obligating the county for supplies, material, equipment, contractual services, rental of machinery, buildings, or equipment (T.C.A. § 5-21-118(b)(1)).
  • Transferring materials, supplies, and equipment between county offices or agencies (T.C.A. § 5-21-118(b)(1)).
  • Supervising the storeroom or warehouse (T.C.A. § 5-21-118(b)(2)).
  • Contracting for building construction and purchase of land (T.C.A. § 5-21-118(b)(3)).
  • Public sale of all surplus materials, equipment, buildings, and land (T.C.A § 5-21-118(b)(4)).
  • Reviewing all contracts and purchases for biddable supplies, materials and equipment, and other needs of the county (T.C.A. § 5-21-119(b)(1)).
  • Reviewing specifications and changes to allow for maximum competition (T.C.A. § 5-21-119(b)(5)).
  • Preparing formal and informal bids (T.C.A. § 5-21-119(b)(5)).
  • Collecting sealed bids and opening bids publicly (T.C.A. § 5-21-119(b)(5)).
  • Evaluating bids (and submitting bids for approval by the financial management committee if required by the committee) (T.C.A. § 5-21-119(b)(5)).