The city council has agreed to pay over $1,000 in unpaid invoices to a local business.
The city of Yazoo City has owed $1,055 to Gilbert Lumber and Home Center, based on invoices that span back for over a year.
Alderman Dr. Jack Varner brought the matter to the city board’s attention two weeks ago, suggesting that the local business be paid as soon as possible.
However, the majority of the city board voted to not pay Gilbert until all the details were ironed out. Interim City Clerk Mario Edwards said the invoices did not match what was in the city clerk’s computer system.
Edwards provided an update to the city council during its Monday meeting, which later led to the board approving all payments to Gilbert.
“At the last regular meeting, it was brought up about the unpaid invoices from Gilbert created in 2014,” Edwards said. “There were some checks that did not clear with the bank. The account system shows the checks written, but some didn’t clear with the bank.”
During the last city council meeting, there was some discussion over charges made by Peter Gower, who is not employed by the city.
“Based on the signatures, there was one that was not a city employee,” Edwards said, during the recent board meeting. “A contracted employee of the city got the initial product and signed for it.”
However, the wrong items were purchased.
“He then asked the non-city employee to take those items back,” Edwards. “He got the new products and signed for them. But it was work done for the city. We did verify that.”
The city board agreed to pay all the invoices and include such payment in the next meeting’s claim docket.
Mayor Diane Delaware said she visited with the business owners personally.
“We found that we have allowed employees to go to the supplier with a purchase order number and sometimes without a purchase order number,” she said. “Previously, we didn’t have a system. Now we have one single operating system. No employee of the city should be able to go to Gilbert or any other vendor and pick up supplies without a purchase order.”
Edwards said he believes the mishap came from a previous administration.
“This was all before all of us,” Edwards said. “Purchase guidelines had not been provided. Now we should be able to follow the rules and do things the right way.”
Alderman Aubry Brent asked Delaware if the meeting with the local business owner went well.
“After you (Delaware) and the clerk went to see Gilbert, did we leave Gilbert maintaining an amicable relationship with the city,” he asked. “They have been suppliers for us for years.”
“We came to a clear understanding,” Delaware replied. “Change is difficult for any of us. But we left with a good relationship.”
The board authorized paying Gilbert and to include it in the next claim docket.