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Rockdale County working to clean up contracts

CONYERS -- The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners is working to be more transparent and better monitor its contracts with vendors.

At Tuesday's meeting, Greg Pridgeon, chief of staff, presented the board with potential contracts for optional supplemental insurance options for county employees. Pridgeon asked the commissioners to defer voting on these contracts until their Sept. 27 meeting.

Pridgeon said his staff found these vendors either had no contracts with the county or had contracts that had expired.

"As we are finding these various discrepancies, we are bringing them to the attention of this board," Pridgeon said.

Commissioner JaNice Van Ness asked Pridgeon how these vendors had been allowed to operate in the county without contracts. Pridgeon said he did not know.

Van Ness expressed concerns about Pridgeon presenting these missing contracts at the board meeting before speaking to the commissioners in private.

"You have not said until today that there has been no contract and now we have to ratify it. That seems very inappropriate," Van Ness said.

Chairman Richard Oden said the board would correct the "wink and handshake" agreements as the staff found them.

"What we're attempting to do here is make things transparent," he said.

Commissioner Oz Nesbitt requested that someone in the Department of Human Resources review contracts to ensure there are other missing contracts.

"It sounds like once upon a time, several of these companies have had some type of verbal arrangement or agreement of some kind and they've been allowed to take up business with our employees without the proper agreement," Nesbitt said. "Let's stop it now. Let's do what needs to be done. Call these people and tell them if they're doing business with this county, they're going to have to go through the proper process."

Oden said he understood there was "some mess up under the carpet," but the county was working to be transparent with the citizens of Rockdale.

Pridgeon said the staff is working to go through all contracts with the county and will present the commission with a complete list of contracts between the county and vendors.

"If there's anything else out there like that, go ahead and bring them forward now, so we can get this cleared up by the end of the year, so we can move forward with contracts and formal agreements so this won't continue to take up a lot of our time," Nesbitt said.

The board voted 2-1 to defer the insurance contracts until its Sept. 27 meeting.