LE HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – The Hill County Commission met Thursday morning for its regular monthly meeting and voted unanimously to support Auditor Kathy Olson’s recommendation to deny approval of a 4.87 claim $.
The claim related to the Great Northern Fair’s monthly Verizon phone bill, which was less than $5 due to a credit on the account.
Olson said the proper claims process was not followed, as it was delivered to his office the day it was due and was fulfilled through autopay.
Clerk and Archivist Sue Armstrong argued that spending the time and resources to review a request for a few dollars just wasn’t worth it.
The issue was discussed for about 30 minutes on Thursday, and it was clear the county had spent a lot of time on this issue before the meeting.
Treasurer Sandy Brown admitted the request should have been sent to Olson’s office sooner, but said she believes the process was changed to allow automatic payment following meetings with the assistant county attorney. of the time, Brian Lilletvedt, who retired at the end of April.
Armstrong agreed, adding that there was a draft created of a plan. However, Olson and the Commission said it was never finalized or approved by them.
Commission President Diane McLean said they had spoken to Lilletvedt about it, but a process for the procedure was never completed.
Brown said it made sense that monthly bills for things like utilities and phone bills would be paid automatically, and Armstrong said it doesn’t even have to be done through the claims process.
Olson and the Commission said even automatically paid invoices must be pre-approved by them before payment is made.
Commissioner Mark Peterson said he wanted to see things before they were paid for and was ‘bothered’ by the ‘bypass’ of normal procedures.
Although the request was denied, it has already been paid. It’s unclear whether the Commission will seek reimbursement of the funds, and if so, it’s unclear what would happen.