Port increases president’s contracting authorityWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
The Board of Directors for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority unanimously voted to increase President Paul Toth’s contracting authority from $25,000 to $100,000 on Feb. 28.
“Last time we changed the (contracting) authority, it was back in the ’90s and obviously things have changed and gotten more expensive,” Toth said, adding that the amendment allows the Port Authority to move “at the speed of business.”
“What really brought [the amendment] out was just the market,” said Matt Sapara, chief operating officer for the Port Authority. “It becomes more and more difficult for us to retain our agility when we’re trying to get these projects completed.”
The materials from the Feb. 28 meeting echoed Toth’s and Sapara’s statement: “The cost of doing business has increased, rendering this threshold to be more frequently exceeded than when it was originally established.”
Before the amendment increasing his contracting authority was passed, Toth was able to enter contracts and select providers of goods, equipment, material and services of up to $25,000 without board approval. Now that amount changes to $100,000.
“It is recommended that the threshold be increased to $100,000 to enable the President to more efficiently commence those projects and secure those goods and services that are not financially significant,” read the board’s materials. Anything above $100,000 still requires a resolution from the Board of Directors.
Toth said that contracts must still be within the Port Authority’s budget. He also said that $100,000 was in the ballpark of other port authority presidents’ contracting authority amounts.
The amendment also changed the signing requirements of checks, drafts, notes and bonds. Before the amendment passed, both the fiscal officer (which Toth is considered) or an assistant fiscal officer and a board member had to sign any checks, drafts, notes and bonds of $25,000 or more. Checks less than $25,000 only required the signature of either the fiscal officer or a board member, according to documents. With the change to the policy, the dual-signing requirement is now just for amounts of more than $100,000.
Sapara said he didn’t see any resistance to the amendment at the meeting, which Toth was unable to attend.
“We’re very fortunate that there’s a good relationship between the board and staff and there’s checks and balances in place,” he said, adding that Toth is still required to report on his decisions to the board.
Before the amendment, Toth was required to report on contracted expenditures of $10,000 to $25,000 to the Board of Directors every quarter. Now with the increased amount, Toth must report on expenditures from $10,000 to $100,000 every quarter.