Q May a county pay a restocking fee, in the event a lower quote is accepted subsequent to notifying the original vendor that the original vendor submitted the lowest quote but prior to the original vendor receiving a purchase order?

A Section 19-13-31 provides the process by which a county board of supervisors is to dispose of claims. The board is required to reject or disallow claims to be found to be illegal and which cannot be made legal by amendment. Section 19-13-35 provides a criminal penalty for a board member who knowingly votes for the payment of a claim not authorized by law, and Section 31-7-57 provides for individual liability of officials allowing for the unlawful expenditure of public funds. Section 31-7-119(1) provides that a board may not approve a claim without complying with the central purchasing system statutes, which include the requirement of a purchase order before the services are rendered. A claim cannot be amended by a board of supervisors and made legal by the issuance of a purchase order, requisition and receiving report after the fact. Therefore, the board may not legally pay the claim of a restocking fee submitted by the vendor because of the lack of compliance with the central purchasing statutes, Sections 31-7-101 et. seq. A vendor may recover the fair market value of the commodities or services provided pursuant to an order from a court of competent jurisdiction. The county may pay a claim if it were done in conjunction with a settlement of a claim involved in litigation. The county would be obligated to raise any defenses it might have to any such claim. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Sutton, July 22, 2016)