The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Vehicle purchase questioned


June 5, 2019

CLOVIS — The Curry County Commission is looking into whether it can put $24,000 worth of toothpaste back in the tube. Except the toothpaste is really a vehicle.

By a 5-0 vote, the commission voted to table a request to waive county policy for a line-item transfer from the Curry County treasurer’s office to cover a recent vehicle purchase.

County Treasurer Debbie Spriggs said she had available funding to cover the vehicle cost, based on her office’s deputy chief position being vacant for months, but conceded she had “jumped the gun” in buying the vehicle last month without running it by County Manager Lance Pyle or the commission.

Commission Chairman Chet Spear said although Spriggs is an elected official, the county commission is still responsible for the overall budget, and county policy requires some type of clearance for a fixed asset — an item costing at least $5,000 and expected to serve the purchaser for more than a year.

Spear asked Spriggs if she had put a vehicle in her 2018-19 budget, or if she’d requested a budget change to cover the vehicle to either Pyle or the commissioner. To each of the three questions, Spriggs told Spear, “No, sir.”

Spriggs said the treasurer’s office is required to make daily bank deposits, and borrows vehicles from other departments. She normally uses one of the assessor’s office’s two vehicles, but noted many days those vehicles are already spoken for.

Spear countered the treasurer’s office had other options, including two vehicles with the clerk’s office and three with the administration offices.

“That’s a vehicle (selection) you have access to on a daily basis,” Spear said. “I’m wondering if you need a vehicle, as opposed to wanting a vehicle.”

County officials weren’t aware of what the return policy was for the vehicle during the meeting, but Pyle and Spriggs noted the vehicle was purchased at a government rate.

Commissioner Robert Thornton said the county needed to look at options, and the commission would deal with the matter in a special meeting should its next scheduled meeting on June 27 be too late.


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