|Generally, the Board's existing Commitment and Signature Authorization authorizes the President/General Manger to execute agreements up to and inclusive of $50,000. He also has signature authority for expenditures of up to $100,000 for current Capital Improvement Plan items contained within the Board's approved budget, and he has been granted the authority to amend existing commitments/agreements requiring the expenditure by the Township of over $100,000 where the Board has previously approved the contract's scope of work and where the scope of the additional work is $20,000 or less per year.
There is one exception to the Board's grant of authority to the President/General Manager of $50,000/$100,000 (for capital improvements) in the existing Commitment and Signature Authorization: it exempts multi-year agreements. That is, all multi-year agreements, no matter the dollar amount, currently must be approved by the Board - whether or not they would otherwise fall within the President/General Manager's dollar limits. This means that, for example, multi-year software agreements,which are less than $100.00 would need to receive Board approval - or Township staff would need to determine a way to make such agreements annual contracts, frequently at a higher cost, to avoid vendor reticence to go through the Board approval process.
The attachment in the Board's packet illustrates a survey of some adjacent and some comparably municipalities. Of those comparably sized cities, most grant comparable monetary signature authorization to their city managers -- without a similar multi-year restriction. The Township's multi-year restriction is of some long-standing, and appears to be historically present in all of the Township's predecessor commitment and authorizations.
The Township Attorney could find no statutory provisions in the Townships' Enabling Legislation, the Texas Government Code or the Texas Local Government Code which imposes or requires such a multi-year restriction. Additionally, the Schwartz, Page & Harding law firm confirmed that there was not a statutory basis for this restriction. It is possible that when initially drafted this was a carry-over from the Township's previous form of governance and represents a practice which was simply continued. Alternately, it is possible that it was thought to be desirable to avoid somehow "binding" future boards.
The cities listed (as well as those which are not listed) may share similar concerns about "binding" future governing bodies. However, none of them have a similar authorization restriction. Additionally, requiring that existing multi-year agreements must receive Board consideration and approval means all such agreements, no matter how nominally priced, must each have a Form 1295 executed by the applicable vendor - a daunting requirement to many smaller vendors.
Finally, it should be noted that any proposed revision to the signature authority would not affect any Interlocal Agreements under Chapter 791 of the Texas Government Code, as based on Texas Attorney General's opinion, as only a governing body may authorize such an agreement. These agreements would continue to come to the Board.
Given the increasing number of contracts and other matters requiring the Board's attention, as well as the increased state legislative requirements for contracts approved by local governing bodies, staff has proposed removing this restriction from the Board's existing authorizations. If approved, the General Manager would have signature authority for those multi-year contracts or agreements which would otherwise be within the existing monetary ($50,000 or $100,000 as applicable) signature authorization.
The proposed Amendment to Commitment and Signature Authorization, therefore, if approved, would only remove this multi-year restriction. All other existing commitment and signature authorizations would remain unchanged.