9
CENTRALIZED PURCHASING

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

The government of the average-sized city is usually the largest business enterprise within its political boundary, and its purchases of materials, supplies, and equipment amount to from twenty-five to forty-five per cent of the total budget. The list of items bought by cities of 100,000 and upward includes an amazing number of classifications and items.1 Not only has the purchasing function offered one of the favorite opportunities for graft in city administration, but the loose methods that still prevail in most of our cities, assuming the absence of corruption, lead directly to high prices, poor and irregular qualities, dishonest quantities and qualities, and the general absence of business methods in the management of buying and selling.2

The science of governmental buying, also called procurement, has made

____________________
1
One city has its commodity classification divided into twenty accounts, covering general groups of purchases as follows:
1. Contractual services.
2. Running contract services.
3. Office supplies and equipment.
4. Hospital supplies and equipment.
5. Drugs and chemicals.
6. Paints, supplies, oils.
7. Cleaning supplies and equipment.
8. Dry goods and clothing.
9. Fuel and coal.
10. Photo and engineering equipment.
11. Petroleum products.
12. Horticultural supplies.
13. Hardware and cordage.
14. Tools and appliances.
15. Auto parts and supplies.
16. Mechanical supplies.
17. Electrical supplies.
18. Building and road materials.
19. Castings and forgings.
20. Foodstuffs.
2
A good seventeen-page brochure on Centralized Public Purchasing is the reprint of an address by Joseph W. Nicholson, City Purchasing Agent of Milwaukee, given at a meeting in Topeka, Kansas, March 23, 1936.

-199-

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City Management
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xix
  • 1 - The Changing City 1
  • 2 - Administrative Principles 22
  • 3 - The Civil Service 49
  • 4 - Personnel Management 70
  • 5 - Revenues and Taxation 95
  • 6 - Finance and Accounting 124
  • 7 - Expenditures and Debts 151
  • Conclusions 174
  • 8 - State Financial Supervision 176
  • Conclusions 194
  • 9 - Centralized Purchasing 199
  • 10 - Planning 226
  • 11 - Zoning 249
  • 12 - Slums and Housing 275
  • 13 - The Law Department 300
  • 14 - Public Health 319
  • 15 - Recreation and Parks 355
  • Conclusions 378
  • 16 - Public Welfare 383
  • 17 - Police Administration 412
  • 18 - Traffic. 449
  • 19 - Fire 477
  • 20 - Public Works 509
  • 21 - Streets 539
  • 22 - Public Utilities 566
  • 23 - Wastes 593
  • Conclusions 620
  • 24- Water 623
  • Conclusions 646
  • 25 - Courts 649
  • Conclusions 669
  • 26 - Education 673
  • 27 - Nominations and Elections 696
  • 28 - New Horizons 716
  • Index 747
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