The town has been recognized for the first time for excellence in handling taxpayer money by the preeminent regional organization dedicated to governmental purchasing.
Brent Quick, the town’s purchasing agent, said he had known about the Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing’s Sustained Professional Purchasing Award for years through his attendance at conferences. He helped the town aim for the award a couple years ago.
The CAGP was formed more than 60 years ago to support public procurement officials in the Carolinas. Its members include municipalities, school boards, community colleges, airport authorities and the states’ alcohol commissions.
Only 11 percent of all registered CAGP members attained the award for 2015, Quick said.
“In Knightdale,” Quick said, “we work diligently to make sure our residents trust the way their money is handled. We try to be excellent stewards of tax dollars.”
Quick’s role in the government is to coordinate purchases once items have been budgeted, so he works to find the best, most reliable vendors. He is a certified local government purchasing officer, which entails continuing education in the field, and he is the chairman of professional development for the CAGP’s board for the last two years.
But Quick said the award was a team effort by the town and all its departments.
“Everyone that has a credit card,” he said, “everyone that spent tax dollars had a part, and we’re glad the town achieved it.”
The award shows marked improvement from a few years ago when former Public Works Director Tracy Pedigo resigned after a controversial purchase of tires using the town’s account.
Pedigo used the the account to buy four tires at Just Tires on Village Park Drive for personal use, according to his own account of the incident, as well as Knightdale billing statements and receipts, at a discounted price of $407. Later that day he returned to the shop and Knightdale was refunded the $407 and Pedigo paid the “civilian amount” of $543.
The next day, Town Manager Seth Lawless reported to Knightdale police that the town had been defrauded at Just Tires, but Pedigo was not named in the police report and the town later declined prosecution. No charges were filed.
Pedigo called it “an honest mistake,” saying the store billed the town without him knowing, and that once he realized he went back to rectify it. He resigned five days later, but did not attribute his resignation to the incident.
When Quick began the effort to get this award two years ago, areas he identified to focus on included training vendors and easing relations with them, promoting minority outreach and continued internal training. The town was awarded points in all these areas.
To work on training vendors, for example, Quick developed a survey that he had not only vendors currently working with the town complete, but also proposed vendors and some who had quit doing business with the town.
“I took that feedback to better educate us internally to ease the process of the vendors that we’re working with,” he said.
The town was also awarded points for: making the bid process available online, promoting ethical and green purchasing, current and continued education of staff, internal training for staff and promotion of vendor opportunities through social media.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826