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WJBD - Local News - State Attorney Says Sheriff Doesn't Need County Board Approval for Squad Car Purchases

State Attorney Says Sheriff Doesn't Need County Board Approval for Squad Car Purchases

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Marion County State's Attorney Matt Wilzbach says Sheriff Jerry Devore doesn't need approval from the county board to purchase two new vehicles.  Wilzbach came before the county board's law enforcement committee Wednesday night.  "If the purchase of the cars in question, if it's already an a line item, then he can spend it with or without your authorization.  he needs to come to the Board with the purpose of paperwork.  If the Board doesn't say that we're not going to do it, he can sign the contract tomorrow as long as the money is in his budget", said Wilzbach.

The county board had a 7-7 tie at its January meeting on allowing the sheriff to move forward with the purchase of two new Tahoe vehicles.  Some of their questions dealt with not advertising for bids.  Wilzbach says that is not necessary in a situation like vehicles where a state bid is available that has already gone through the bidding process.  He adds in other situations, bids are required on items costing $30,000 or more unless there is an emergency situation.  Wilzbach also confirmed a government body is not tied to accepting the lowest bid if they have a reason for not doing so.  Wilzbach plans on coming back before the full county board on Tuesday night to give the same explanation.  

Meanwhile, Finance Committee Chair Terry Johnston is wondering if the county board should not include funding for major purchases in the budget.  He notes the money can always be added, but can't be taken away.   

The sheriff agreed with the committee to provide a correctional officer to man the security desk at the public entrance door to the courthouse during all future committee and full board meetings as a security precaution.  

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