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STATE PURCHASING AGENT FOR ELEEMOSYNARY
S. B. No. 172.]
An Act to create the office of State Purchasing Agent for the various eleemosynary institutions of the State of Texas; to define his duties, term of office, mode of qualification and compensation; to abolish the office or position of steward, quartermaster or other similar position in said institutions; to require all supplies to be purchased by said agent under competitive bids or contracts; to provide for the appointment of storekeepers or accountants in said institutions, and to define the duties thereof; to make an appropriation for the salary of said purchasing agent; to provide for the appointment of two clerks for said purchasing agent, and to make appropriation for their salaries; and to define offenses committed under the operation of this act, and to provide penalties therefor.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas:
SECTION 1. That there be and is hereby created the office of State Purchasing Agent, who shall be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, every two years, and who shall hold his office for the term of two years from the date of his qualification, and until his successor is appointed and qualified. Said Purchasing Agent shall receive an annual salary of two thousand dollars ($2000), which shall not be increased or diminished during his term of office, and he shall not receive, directly or indirectly, any extra compensation in the way of commissions or otherwise. Said agent shall not be interested in, or in any manner connected with, any contract or bid for furnishing supplies or articles of any kind to any of said institutions, or to any other department or institution of the State, or with any person, firm or corporation who is interested in or in any manner connected with any kind of contract with the State or any of its institutions and departments, nor shall he collect or be paid his salary or any part thereof while he is in any manner or degree indebted to the State, or in arrears in his accounts and reports as such agent. Neither shall said agent accept or receive from any person, firm or corporation to whom any contract may be awarded, directly or indirectly, by rebate, gift or otherwise, any money or other thing of value whatever, nor shall he receive any promise, obligation or contract for future reward or compensation from any such party; provided, that should said purchasing agent violate any of the provisions of this act, or should he receive any rebate, drawback, profit or benefit from any contract, he shall be deemed guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by confinement in the penitentiary not less than two nor more than five years.
SEC. 2. Upon being appointed and confirmed as aforesaid, said agent shall take the constitutional oath of office, and enter into a bond, with two or more good and sufficient sureties, payable to the State of Texas, in the sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), to be approved by the Governor of the State, and conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties, and that he will correctly and honestly pass upon and award all bids and contracts for supplies, and will fully and accurately account to and pay over to the State, or to the persons authorized to receive the same, all moneys, merchandise and articles of value that shall come into and pass
through his hands as such agent, or for which he may be responsible; and also conditioned that he will honestly, faithfully and accurately disburse and account for all moneys controlled or handled by him in the performance of his duties. It is further declared unlawful and within the conditions of said bond for said agent to sell or be in any manner concerned in the sale of any merchandise, supplies or other articles to any of the institutions herein named or to any other department or institution of the State. It shall also be within the conditions of said bond, and the same shall provide, that said purchasing agent shall not accept or receive, directly or indirectly, by rebate, commissions or in any other manner whatever any money or other thing of value from any person, firm or corporation to whom said agent may award any contract, directly or indirectly. The said bond shall be filed in the office of the Comptroller, and recoveries may be had on the same until exhausted.
SEC. 3. There shall be appointed by the superintendents, with the advice and consent of the boards of managers of said institutions, storekeepers and accountants, one for each of said institutions, who shall hold their offices for two years from date of qualification, or until their successors shall have qualified, unless sooner removed by the boards of managers at the suggestion of the superintendent or upon the complaint of the purchasing agent, for inefficiency, incompetency, neglect of duty or other adequate cause affecting their faithful and satisfactory performance of duty. Said storekeepers or accountants shall receive a compensation not to exceed the sum of nine hundred dollars ($900) per annum, to be charged and paid as part of the current expenses of said institutions, and they shall not be entitled to charge, collect or receive any other compensation or commutation or commission, unless their own individual board and lodging, if they shall be required to reside within the institutions to which they are attached. Each of said storekeepers or accountants shall, before entering upon the performance of his duties, make and file with the Comptroller of Public Accounts a bond in the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), payable to the State of Texas, to be approved by the Governor and filed with the Comptroller, which bond shall be conditioned for the full, faithful, accurate and honest performance of his duties, and it shall not be lawful for said storekeepers or accountants to sell or be in any way concerned in the sale of any merchandise, supplies or other articles to any of the institutions herein named, or to have any interest in any bid or contract therewith or with any other institution or department of the State government. The offices or positions of steward, quartermaster or other similar position heretofore existing in any and all of said named institutions are hereby abolished, and said storekeepers or accountants shall hereafter perform all the duties, except such as may be inconsistent with the provisions of this act, heretofore imposed upon such abolished officers or employes, as well as such other duties as may be required of them by the management of said institutions. They shall also keep the purchasing agent constantly advised as to the amount and character of supplies on hand, and the amount and character required in order to keep the institutions constantly provided for. They shall also furnish any other information respecting such matters as may be desired by the said purchasing agent.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof be punished by
confinement in the State penitentiary not less than two nor more than five years.
SEC. 4. It shall be the duty of the purchasing agent aforesaid to contract for all supplies, merchandise and articles of every description needed for the maintenance and operation of said institutions, except those supplies that are of a strictly perishable character, basing his contract or contracts upon estimates to be furnished him by the superintendents and approved by the boards of said institutions respectively, by the first day of May of each year, for an entire year; and all such contracts shall be made after full notice by advertisement of not less than four weeks in at least four of the leading papers of the State to be selected by said agent and within the limit of appropriations made by the Legislature for such purposes, regard being had to the appropriation for each institution. Such advertisement shall call for sealed bids or proposals to furnish the aggregate of the desired articles and supplies as estimated for by such institutions, naming the articles and supplies and the quantities and character required, and all such bids or proposals shall be for the entire period of one year; such supplies, articles and merchandise to be delivered at such times, in such quantities, and to such institutions as said agent may from time to time designate, and should the supplies, or any portion thereof, as contracted for, be not sufficient for the year for which the contract or contracts shall be made, then the contractor or contractors shall be required to furnish such additional supplies at the prices named for similar articles under the contract or contracts; provided, that should said purchasing agent at any time discover that he could purchase the same supplies for less money for any one year by buying the same for a less length of time than one year, he shall have the authority to make such purchases for a shorter length of time, but not less than three months. It being the purpose of this act to authorize and require said purchasing agent to make such contracts upon such terms as will secure the best and cheapest rates for the State in the purchase of supplies and articles of necessity for said institutions, and to that end he shall reserve the right to reject any and all bids, or to accept any bid in part or reject it in part; and if none of the bids and proposals are deemed advantageous and satisfactory, he may buy in the open market until a proper and satisfactory bid is offered. The period for which such bids or proposals are invited shall be clearly stated in said advertisements, as well as the terms and conditions contemplated by the provisions of this act. When the same. article is estimated for by two or more institutions, but of different brands or grades, the purchasing agent may determine which of the brands or grades shall be purchased so as to produce uniformity in use by all the institutions; provided, that other things being equal, supplies offered by bidders who have an established local business in this State shall have preference.
SEC. 5. Any and all bids or proposals under this act shall be accompanied by a good and sufficient bond or a certified check in such sum as the said purchasing agent may require, the same to be stated in the advertisements aforesaid, and the said agent may, if he deems it advisable, advertise for the various articles and supplies needed separately or together, and may accept the bid or bids for the same to be furnished separately or all by one bidder, as may be most advantageous to the State,
and when purchases are made by the State Purchasing Agent preference shall be given to State or home products, all things being equal.
SEC. 6. All bids shall be opened on the date and at the place specified in the advertisement for the same, and such opening and inspection of the bids shall be made by the purchasing agent in the presence of the Governor and Comptroller of Public Accounts and of the Superintendent and Board of Managers, if they desire to be present. The supplies and articles furnished under all bids and contracts shall be such as are called for by requisitions of the superintendents of the several institutions named, and equal to and of the same quality as the sample furnished purchasing agent, and all supplies furnished by contract as provided herein shall be equal to the sample which is required by Section 4 to accompany the bid. And when the supplies delivered under contract do not come up to the sample, the Superintendent shall refuse to accept the same. The estimates furnished said purchasing agent as aforesaid, upon which he makes his advertisements and contracts, shall, as near as practicable, state the quantity and quality of the articles and supplies needed, and when possible, the brand of the same, and copies of such estimates shall be filed with the Comptroller and be open to public inspection.
SEC. 7. Invoices of all supplies of whatever kind, shall be furnished in triplicate by the contractor or seller at the time of each delivery of said supplies, two of which shall be transmitted to the storekeeper of the institution to which supplies are sent, and one by the same mail to the purchasing agent. As soon as the supplies shall have been received and examined by the storekeeper of the institution to which the same shall have been shipped, and if he shall find them to correspond in every particular with the invoices transmitted him and the samples by which the supplies were sold, he shall transmit to the purchasing agent one of said invoices with a certificate thereon that the supplies received correspond in every particular with the invoice, and the sample by which the supplies were sold, and if the purchasing agent shall, upon further examination find such invoice to be correct, he shall transmit it with his approval to the Comptroller, and when such invoice so approved by the storekeeper of the institution to which the supplies named therein have been furnished, and by the purchasing agent, shall have been further approved by the Comptroller, he shall draw his warrant for the amount due on the invoice, or upon so much thereof as has been allowed, upon the State treasury, and it shall be charged against the institution so furnished. And the contractor or seller to the invoice to be transmitted by him to the storekeeper, thence to the purchasing agent, and thence to the Comptroller, shall append an affidavit made and subscribed to by him before any officer having a seal and authorized to administer oaths, that the invoice is correct, and that it corresponds in every particular to the supplies furnished and shipped.
SEC. 8. When any bid shall have been accepted, the purchasing agent shall require of the successful bidder a bond payable unto the State, with good and sufficient sureties, in the sum not less than one-third of the amount of the bid, to be approved by the Comptroller, conditioned that he will fully, faithfully and accurately execute the terms of the contract into which he has entered, said bond to be filed in the office of the Comptroller, and recoveries may be had on such bond until exhausted.
SEC. 9. In case any temporary and unforeseen exigency should arise in
any of the institutions named, and it shall be made to appear upon the written statement of the superintendent to the Board of Managers of such institution that a serious detriment will be caused to the service if the method of purchase, as herein before defined, shall be pursued, then such board, if upon examination it shall deem an immediate purchase necessary, may by appropriate order to be approved by the Governor and duly entered upon its minutes, authorize the purchase of such supplies as may be needed to meet such temporary and unforeseen exigency, and which are not embraced in any existing contract, and the superintendent may thereupon direct the storekeeper to purchase the same in open market. A report of such purchase, together with a copy of the application of the superintendent, and the order of the board, shall be transmitted to the purchasing agent, and he shall transmit the same, with his endorsement thereon to the Comptroller, and upon it the Comptroller shall issue his warrant upon the treasury of the State for the amount so expended. The provisions of this section shall only apply to articles and supplies that are not of a strictly perishable character.
SEC. 10. All purchases by contract, or otherwise, as herein authorized, shall be in accordance with such appropriations as have been made by the Legislature for the support of the several institutions respectively.
SEC. 11. The Governor, Comptroller and purchasing agent shall frame and transmit to each institution a system of rules and regulations for the purchase of such supplies as are strictly perishable in their character, and to which conformity by all the institutions is hereby required.
SEC. 12. The purchasing agent shall have authority to appoint one elerk to assist him in his duties, with a salary not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1000.00) per annum, and shall make an annual report to the Governor at the end of each fiscal year covering all his acts and doings, and such report shall be laid before the Legislature at its next session thereafter.
SEC. 13. The institutions herein contemplated are those for the care of the insane, the deaf and dumb, the blind, the orphans, the Confederate Home, and all others of a charitable and eleemosynary character, to be hereafter established under State patronage and control, and all laws and parts of laws in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.
SEC. 14. The sum of six thousand eight hundred dollars ($6800.00), or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated to pay the salary of the purchasing agent and the clerk aforesaid and contingent expenses for the first two years after the enactment and taking effect of this act; provided, that no officer, or employe created by this act shall ever use or receive for their own use any provisions, clothing, merchandise or other articles furnished by the State, but that the salaries herein fixed. shall be their only compensation, and any person who violates this provision shall, upon conviction, be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for a term not less than two nor more than ten years.
SEC. 15. No account for goods, wares or merchandise purchased by any officers created by this act, shall be paid, unless sworn to as required by Article 2323, of Revised Civil Statutes of Texas, which affidavit shall further state, that no commission or other compensation has been or will be paid as a consideration for such purchase, and that affiant knows such facts.
SEC. 16. The near approach of the close of the present session, and the