A recent purchasing policy violation resulted in Erath County not receiving the lowest price for uniforms for the sheriff's office.

On Monday, commissioners approved an exception to the purchasing policy that allowed a $4,500 expense to be broken into four separate transactions.

GT Distributing gave an Erath County Sheriff's Office employee a bulk-order price of $25.38 each for the purchase of uniforms that were needed by the department. However, the employee opted to place four small orders, keeping each total purchase price under $1,000, which avoided the county's requisition process, according to County Auditor James Young.

The requisition process includes seeking quotes from at least three vendors to determine the lowest price and best value.

Because of the split purchases, the county did not receive the bulk price discount it would have if the 20-year-old policy was followed, and instead, paid a unit price of about $39.

"This was a deliberate attempt to bypass the system," Young told commissioners.

Despite the policy violation, Janet Martin of the county auditor's office recommended paying the invoice because the vendor did nothing wrong, but encouraged employee repercussions.

"The vendor acted in good faith, the employee did not," Martin said.

County commissioners approved the policy exception.

"We provided an exception, but this won't happen again," County Judge Tab Thompson said.

Sheriff Tommy Bryant said he addressed the issue immediately, and assured the court that incidents like this would not happen again.