The Board of Selectmen approved a set of changes to the town’s financial and administrative regulation at its monthly meeting in January. When Finance Director John Cifarelli took over the position, he reviewed regulations and administrative rules and came across a set of regulations that hadn’t been updated in over 20 years.
“I thought some of the amounts [for spending that required a finance director’s approval] looked a little low,” Cifarelli said. He brought his findings to the Board of Finance and they agreed and asked him to come back with recommendations. After consulting the town auditors and comparing Orange’s regulations to other towns, a few changes were made and were approved by the Board of Finance pending the Board of Selectmen’s approval.
In a nutshell, the regulations that were last approved in 1997 required purchase orders of $500 or more to be approved by the director of finance. “We’re going to change that $500 to $5,000 must be signed by the director of finance prior to purchase,” Cifarelli explained. “In addition, where it says ‘department heads may purchase goods and services costing less than $500 without quotations or formal bid proposals,’ we’d like to change that to $5,000 also.”
Prior to the change, the Board of Finance required at least three responsible quotations for purchases costing $500 to $5,000. Said Cifarelli, “We’d like to change that to ‘at least three written quotations are required for purchases costing between $5,000 and $20,000.’” Prior to approval to raise the amount to $20,000, the regulations stated that formal bids for purchases $5,000 or more must be advertised at least once for 10 days in a newspaper having substantial circulation. As the town revamps and modernizes its website, an option could be to eliminate printed notice, but until then, the town will continue to advertise bids in the local monthly newspaper.
“This is a good modernization after 21 years to update it,” said First Selectman James Zeoli.