Purchasing at Public Auctions

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Under T.C.A. § 12-2-421 (formerly § 12-3-1006), counties are authorized to purchase new or secondhand articles, including materials, supplies, commodities, and equipment, at publicly advertised auctions without public advertisement and competitive bidding. This law requires the county legislative body to establish written procedures to govern purchases at public auctions. CTAS has developed a sample set of policies and forms that a county may use as an example in developing its own procedures.  Each county's procedures should be tailored to the purchasing laws under which that particular county operates.

If a county purchases any materials, supplies, commodities, or equipment at a publicly advertised auction, the statute requires that the purchasing official report the following information to the county legislative body:

  1. Description of materials, supplies, commodities, or equipment purchased
  2. Auction where items were purchased
  3. Purchase price of items
  4. Vendor of items