Wright takes issue with $1,170 mailbag story

-A A +A

No mention made of Harbin’s authorization on requisition

By Damon Lawrence

Roane County Board of Education Member Danny Wright called a Roane County News story on the school system’s plan to purchase two expensive Italian leather briefcases inaccurate.


However, he didn’t mention the requisition the school system submitted to the county purchasing department to order the bags to “replace school/courthouse mail bags” at a cost of $1,170.
Roane County Executive Ron Woody said school officials do not commonly send over requisitions for items they have no intention to buy.
“I have never seen a requisition come over from them that was not something that they eventually purchased,” he said.
County budget director Kaley Walker said school system business manager Eric Harbin, who makes $82,796 a year, signed the requisition.
Attached to the requisition submitted by the school system was a piece of paper showing a website order form for two Brunelleschi Italian leather briefcases — one brown, one black — by Pratesi at a cost of $585 each.
“They did send a requisition and told them to see if they could find anything comparable,” Director of Schools Gary Aytes said after Thursday’s school board meeting. 
Woody said that’s not true.
“If they want it to be quoted or bid, they’ll put it on there, ‘please quote or please bid,’” he said.
The requisition didn’t mention anything about finding something comparable. Woody described it as very specific about what the school system wanted.
Woody said specifics such as ordering different colors and the number of bags indicate to him that the intent was to purchase.
Walker said the sole use of the briefcases is to carry documents between the courthouse and central office.
Aytes said the school system didn’t purchase the briefcases.
The Roane County News requested to see the school system’s credit card statement on Friday, but Woody said it wasn’t available.
The Roane County News plans to review it when it does become available.
When asked about the matter on Wednesday, Aytes said the briefcases are “good quality” and a good deal for the school system because “they’ve done the research, and this is a 20-year warranty on this thing. It comes out to $29 a year.”
Aytes repeated that assertion on Thursday.
“It’s not a bad price when you consider how long they last,” he said. 
Forzieri.com, the website from which the schools planned to purchase the Pratesi briefcases, said the warranty was only two years.
“They’re going to look at these, and if they don’t match the quality of the one that they had before, they’re going to send these back,” Aytes said on Wednesday.