CABARRUS COUNTY, Plaintiff, v. SYSTEL BUSINESS EQUIPMENT COMPANY,
Filed: 5 July 2005
Counties--preaudit certificate--settlement agreement
Any county obligation evidenced by an agreement to pay money shall include a preaudit
certificate signed by a finance officer. An agreement settling a dispute concerning rented copier
equipment was not valid because it did not include the required certificate. N.C.G.S. § 159-
Appeal by Plaintiff from order entered 27 April 2004 by Judge
W. David Lee in Superior Court, Cabarrus County. Heard in the
Court of Appeals 10 May 2005.
Hartsell & Williams, P.A., by Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr. and
Christy E. Wilhelm, for plaintiff-appellant.
Poyner & Spruill, LLP, by E. Fitzgerald Parnell, III and
Cynthia L. Van Horne, for defendant-appellee.
Under North Carolina law, any county obligation evidenced by
an agreement to pay money shall include a preaudit certificate
signed by a finance officer. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 159-28(a) (2004).
In this appeal, Plaintiff Cabarrus County contends that a
settlement agreement between itself and Defendant Systel Business
Equipment Company, Inc., which did not include a signed preaudit
certificate, was invalid. Because the settlement agreement failed
to meet the statutory requirements, we hold that the agreement was
unenforceable. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s ruling.
The record reflects that in December 1999, Cabarrus County
issued a request for proposed bids from companies for photocopier
services. The Board of County Commissioners voted on 18 January
2000 to award the contract to Systel. On 18 July 2000, a Cabarrus
County manager executed an Equipment Rental Agreement.
On 17 April 2001, Cabarrus County notified Systel that it was
not renewing the copier contract as outlined in the Equipment
Rental Agreement and requested that Systel remove its equipment
from Cabarrus County’s offices. Systel failed to remove its
equipment, claiming that Cabarrus County remained obligated t