Purchasing Office Procedures

I. Introduction

II. General Procedures

A. Selecting Sources for Products and Services

  1. Campus Sources

  2. State Contracts, Agency Contracts, and State Mandatory Sources  

  3. Open Market Sources

  4. Sole Brand and Sole Source

  5. Purchase of Items Exempt from State Purchasing regulations   (DOAS Exempt List)

  6. Contracting for Services

B. Fund Approvals and Authority to Purchase

  1. Grant and Contract Funded Purchases

  2. Approval to Authorize Use of Departmental Funds

  3. Additional Approvals Required

  4. Unauthorized Charges

C. Purchasing Issues

  1. Supplier Forms, Terms, and Conditions

  2. Changes to Purchase Orders

  3. Demonstration Equipment and Items on Approval

  4. Donated and Loaned Equipment

  5. Scams and Fraud

  6. Purchases for Personal or Non-State Use

  7. Sales and Excise Taxes

  8. Rental, Lease, Installment Purchase, Maintenance, Service Agreements

  9. Procedures for Memberships, Subscriptions and Licenses

D. Relationship with Sources of Supply (Vendors)

  1. Specifications
    Specification Matrix Example

  2. Gifts from Suppliers, Conflicts of Interest

  3. Reciprocal, Barter, and In Kind Agreements

E. Use of Consolidated Purchase, Term Contracts, and Bidding

  1. Consolidated Purchases

  2. Term Contracts

  3. Bidding

F. Emergency Purchasing

  1. Definition of an Emergency Purchase

G. Purchase or Rental of Vehicles

III. Purchase Request Process

A. When to Use the Purchase Request Form

B. Routing and Distribution

C. Preparation of Purchase Request Form

Example Purchase Request Form

Example Purchase Request Continuation Form

APPENDIX A

Sample Sole Brand Memorandum Cover Sheet

Sample Sole Brand Justification – Use Item on Existing Equipment, same manufacturer

Sample Sole Brand Justification – For Research or Classroom Instruction Goals

Sample Sole Brand Justification – Extensive Training

Sample Sole Brand Justification – Substantial Inventory

Sample Sole Source Justification - Repair

Purchasing Office Procedures

I. Introduction

1. Delegation of Purchasing Authority

The Vice President for Finance and Administration designates the Assistant Director of Procurement & Contract Services responsible for the day to day management of purchasing activities.  This designation includes the capacity to obligate the institution for the costs of goods and services (i.e., to purchase).  The Assistant Director of Procurement & Contract Services may authorize other positions or areas on campus to purchase if it is in the best interest of the institution.

Each designated or delegated individual is personally responsible for meeting all Board of Regents, State, and external requirements for the specifying, bidding, and purchasing for the items and services under their responsibility. In addition, these individuals are responsible for the duties to meeting all applicable institutional purchasing and accounting requirements.

Departmental procedures to implement these delegated or designated duties are the responsibility of the respective office. Designees cannot obligate the institution without proper funding authorization from an official who has budget responsibility for the funds to be obligated. The cabinet level officer over the budget to be obligated has the responsibility

for funding approval of a purchase. Cabinet officers may delegate the fund approval responsibility to personnel in their division. Any procedures to implement delegation are the responsibility of the respective cabinet officer.

The Assistant Director of Procurement & Contract Services established the following designations:

  • Agency Funds – the individual responsible for the account.
  • Athletic Funds - for resale – Director of Athletics
  • Auxiliary Services – items for resale in Auxiliary units – Director of Auxiliary Services
  • Expenses related to employee travel (transportation, lodging, etc,) – each cabinet level officer and the Travel Office
  • Facilities items and Construction services regulated by the Vice Chancellor for Real Estate and Facilities of the University System – Director of Physical Plant and Facilities Planning
  • Information Technology items – Director of Information Technology
  • Library collections and related services exempt from State purchasing regulation as defined in the Georgia Procurement Manual– Director of the Odom Library
  • Telecommunications lines and services – Director of Auxiliary Services
  • All items and services not otherwise delegated – Purchasing Office staff

2. Order of Precedence for Procedures

This section explains the process the Purchasing Department will use when processing a Purchase Request from a campus department and when reviewing a Purchasing Card transaction for items not delegated by VSU Procedures to other campus offices. Other individuals or departments designated with the authority to purchase and obligate funds may have their own procedures to be followed provided these conform to the State, BOR, and VSU policies.

Generally, the purchasing policies and procedures of the State of Georgia address how or where an item can be ordered. The budgeting and accounting, directives of the state Department of Audits, State Accounting Office, and Board of Regents generally regulate what can be ordered with funds. For purchasing at the institutional level these various sources of policy are applied as procedures by a combination of the type of item or service being purchased, the source of funding, and the total cost to meet a need.

Specific policies in Purchasing exist if there are either exceptions or exemptions from the requirement to follow state laws and regulations; otherwise everything is subject to the same process.

II. General Procedures

A. Selecting Sources for Products and Services

1. Campus Sources

The Central Warehouse Stores operation has a limited selection of items in stock. These items have been purchased through State approved process. If these are needed then this source should be used. A few additional items are available through the Plant Operations warehouse. Most items at this location are specific to Plant maintenance needs and are not what is normally used by campus departments.

Generally items purchased by the VSU Bookstore or Food Service operations are not purchased through the State approved process so cannot be used in large quantities by campus departments.

2. State Contracts, Agency Contracts, and State Mandatory Sources

When the items or services needed are on contracts authorized by the State Purchasing Office then these are to be used by the campus. Lists of these contracts are available on the State Purchasing web sites. Georgia Enterprises for Products and Services (GEPS ) Mandatory Items

http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/PRSapp/PR_StateWide_contract_menu.jsp

http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/PRSapp/PR_AGENCY_contract_menu.jsp

3. Open Market Sources

Items and services not available from State approved sources are considered to be open market purchases. If it is reasonably expected that a departmental need will exceed $5,000 in a fiscal year for similar services or a group of related items then the total need should be combined for bidding. If the total need is reasonably expected to be less than $5,000 then a department can use the Purchasing card to pay without any bidding by the institution. University departments should advise the Purchasing department as far in advance as possible of plans which will require over $5000. Departments should submit Purchase Requests to the Purchasing department as soon as need is determined. Normally, this will be before specifications or desired brands and models are determined. This will allow adequate time for requests from all departments to receive the appropriate amount of attention. . These steps could allow problems with the state bidding process to be solved before the formal bid is issued.

4. Sole Brand and Sole Source

Purchasing Regulations, in accordance with state, federal, and university policy, require that material, equipment, supplies, and services be procured via competitive means. However, the competitive process can be either modified if Sole Brand is justified or waived if Sole Source is adequately justified.

Before any item can be considered for purchase from a Sole Source without competitive bidding there must be justification as to why no other product by any other company can do what is needed. This justification is called Sole Brand.

Sample Sole Brand Memoranda are in Appendix A.

There are various reasons an item or service can be Sole Brand. Purchasing's decision on the reasonability of the request will be based on the thoroughness of the requester's investigation, evaluation, and documentation of alternate items and sources of supply. Rejection of similar products must be based solely on their failure to meet specific and necessary specifications at a comparable level of functioning. In this evaluation, a "comparable level" does not mean exactly equal in all aspects unless the need for a specific level of function must be provided to allow the research or administrative task to be properly performed. In all cases Purchasing may choose to seek additional sources through public advertisement of the request.

Sole Brand justification cannot be solely based on quality, price, or that only one company sells the desired brand. Quality can be specified in a bid as tolerances or performance requirements to keep it from being a subjective evaluation based on opinion. State Purchasing regulations require price consideration be evaluated via competitive bidding. A bid advertised in the State Bid Registry will allow the market to determine if other companies have comparable items.

Sole Source may be obtained after Sole Brand is justified. Sole Source requires the manufacturer to write and state that either the item is only available directly from them or they must specify the exact dealer office to use and that if their items are purchased from any other source their product warranties will not be valid.

5. Purchase of Items Exempt from State Purchasing regulations. (DOAS Exempt List)

Specific items and services are classified in the Georgia Procurement Manual as Exempt. These are not required to follow the state bidding procedures but must meet the legal and accounting procedures required by the Board of Regents and State law. When purchasing exempt items or services the requesting department is to follow the BOR Policy 707.01 which in part states “…professional practices for purchasing in the public environment are to be employed at all times.” If the department has been delegated authority to purchase under the VSU policy then the procedure developed by the department will be followed. For all other departments, to meet this requirement the requesting department will justify the price as fair and reasonable using one of the following methods and submit a purchase request for the purchasing office to place an order:

  • A price comparable to other published prices for the same or similar items.
  • An education discount price from the supplier.
  • Pricing similar to what other public institutions in the university system or the region have paid.
  • A price from another government or cooperatively bid contract such as GSA, E&I, WSCA, etc.
  • Justification that an item has no comparable substitutes and the pricing is the best that could be negotiated with the supplier.

6. Contracting for Services

Contracting for a service requires a legally binding contract to be signed by all parties to the agreement. Generally there are three types of services: Consulting, Labor, and Performance.

  • Consulting provides advice only in the form of a report or other documentation in response to a request by the institution. These services are frequently listed as exempt from State Purchasing regulations.
  • Labor performs a specific task assigned by the institution which allows the work to be reviewed or inspected for quality and completeness. These usually require bidding if the amount exceeds the $5,000 limit of the State regulations.
  • Performance requires the public presentation of knowledge, skills, or personal abilities pertaining to a specific area of expertise at the request of the institution. The unique nature of any presentation can usually allow sole source justification be to documented based on the need for the individual differences between possible contractors.

When contracting for these services a legal contract document must be used along with a purchase request to encumber the funds for accounting purposes.

  • There are three types of contract documents to use for specific situations. If the contract document is provided by a regulatory state agency, such as the Board of Regents Office of the Vice Chancellor for Real Estate and Facilities for Architects, construction, and related services, those documents must be used.
  • When the amount will be under $5,000 for the year, or the service is listed as exempt in the State Purchasing Department Georgia Procurement Manual , then either the standard agreement developed by VSU is to be used or the service provider can provide a contract is a form suitable for the VSU Office of Legal Affairs to review, edit, and authorize as acceptable.
  • If the service is not listed as Exempt by the State Purchasing Department Georgia Procurement Manual and is over $5,000 the service could require bidding. The state forms for service contracting will be used as part of the bid for these needs.

B. Fund Approvals and Authority to Purchase

1. Grant and Contract Funded Purchases

It is the responsibility of each Principle Investigator or grant recipient to determine if expenditures with the funds received are exempt from State purchasing regulations. When a purchase request or purchasing card transaction is submitted to the Purchasing Department, it will be processed following the usual policies. Information about any exceptions to the usual policies, which are permitted by the grant agreement, must be conveyed to the Purchasing Department with the purchase request or Purchasing Card statement. If any additional procedures are required by the terms of the grant or contract agreement, it is the responsibility of the administrator of that agreement to inform Purchasing of the exact requirements.

2. Approval to Authorize Use of Departmental Funds

Budget managers authorize the use of funds. If a higher level of authorization is required by internal policies of a college or division it is the responsibility of the budget manager to know those requirements and to obtain the authorizations.

When utilizing the State Purchasing Card within the authorized policies a budget manager commits the university with the understanding they are subject to the requirements for use of the card if the purchase does not meet the requirements of the various regulating State and local offices.

When submitting a Purchase Request the budget manager is authorizing use of their budget funds but is not committing the university to pay for the items on the request. The authorization to use funds does not normally commit the university to expend funds for the items or services. After it has been verified all the required regulations have been fulfilled then expenditure of funds is authorized.

In the event the department's budget does not indicate an adequate balance to cover estimated costs at the time a purchase request is submitted, the budget manager is responsible to work with the Financial Services staff to resolve budget issues before a purchase order can be issued by the Purchasing Office.

3. Additional Approvals Required

There can be many State or Board of Regents level approvals required for items. These change frequently and can be found in those resource manuals. Campus policy requires additional approval for the following purchases:

  • Advertising for faculty positions must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Advertising for staff positions must be approved by the Human Resources office.
  • Information technology items must be approved by the Office for Information Technology
  • Printing, typesetting, or design must be approved by the University Relations office prior to either the Purchasing department contracting for any services or Printing Services starting work on the request. This does not include requests for black and white copying or for printing requests not involving VSU logos.
  • Telecommunications items such as cellphones, 2-way radios, PDAs with wireless capability, and regular desk top telephones require VSU Telecommunications Office approval.
  • Vehicles for use on the road require the State Fleet Support Services to approve the purchase.

4. Unauthorized Charges

The Purchasing Department does not issue purchase orders for items that have already been directly ordered by a department, except under the Emergency Purchase policies detailed in this manual. If this situation occurs it becomes an issue of how to pay for the item and the Financial Services Accounts Payable process should be consulted.

C. Purchasing Issues

1. Supplier Forms, Terms, and Conditions

Terms and conditions on supplier forms might conflict with state requirements. Any purchase that requires signed contracts must be approved through the Office of Legal Affairs before Purchasing can issue a purchase order.

2. Changes to Purchase Orders

Campus departments are not permitted to make any change to the items, prices, terms, or conditions on a purchase order issued by the Purchasing Office. If a change to an order is deemed necessary or desired then the Buyer who signed the purchase order should be consulted and details of any changes to be made are to be submitted in writing to the Buyer.

The Central Receiving unit of the Central Warehouse handles the common carrier claims for items lost or damaged in transit. If a department is experiencing difficulty in either receiving ordered goods or in the interpretation of specifications, the Buyer should be contacted to determine if a change is needed.

3. Demonstration Equipment and Items on Approval

When equipment is left by suppliers for demonstration purposes, they should be informed that the University assumes no responsibility for its loss or damage from any source and that if a purchase is made as a result of this demonstration, the equipment so purchased shall be new, unused, and (when appropriate) in original unbroken cartons, NOT the equipment demonstrated unless USED items are specified in the request prior to the event of the demonstration. This also applies to video tapes, movies, software, and books.

Departments are requested to not accept equipment on an approval basis unless it does not require bidding and the supplier is made aware of risks and liability they undertake.

4. Donated and Loaned Equipment

Caution is required before accepting any items that will or are intended to use only one manufacturer's supply of product. Such equipment should be able to utilize competitive products for which the equipment is intended. Lack of competition for the supplies has shown the gift could cost more in the long term than a competitive purchase.

5. Scams and Fraud

Telephone solicitations for office supplies, copier and laser printer toner, advertising, and similar products should be referred to the Purchasing department. Experience has shown that most of these instances result in receiving either poor quality merchandise at inflated prices or not product.

6. Purchases for Personal or Non-State Use

Both State and Board of Regents policies appear to specifically prohibit the ordering of anything through State processes and then attempting to pay back the institution for personal use or ownership of the item. As an example, office supplies, food, awards, etc for personal use can neither be ordered by the institution with the costs paid back, nor ordered along with an institutional order. Employees should refrain from trying to get a supplier to sell to them personally in association with any institutional order as it could appear the supplier received the institution order in some part due to providing a favorable price to the individual.

Georgia Code Section 50-5-80 makes it unlawful for individuals to take personal possession of items that are purchased through the university accounts.

Board of Regents policy Sec. 707.02 prohibits the purchase goods or services for personal use to be conducted through channels used in the purchase of goods and services for the operation of the University System. Policy 707.02 is understood to mean that any item or service contracted by the institution can not be used for personal benefit unless the item is personally purchased through an Auxiliary Service function that Board Policy establishes as the outlet to resell to the public.

In addition to the obvious prohibition provided by the cited laws and regulations, that of buying goods for personal ownership, there has been a subtler interpretation: a prohibition against buying certain goods and services, the nature of which indicates that their end use is more personal than official. If these situations apply then it must be documented with the Purchase Request form or the Purchasing Card Statement as an attached memo from the budget manager. As clarification, items can be permitted if:

  • the items are to be used as part of the instructional materials of a class
  • if a PI verifies the items are permitted by a grant
  • if external funds were collected to provide the items as part of a conference or meeting (e.g.: Public Services).

It is difficult to define all such goods and services. The following list includes examples of items which could be denied for purchase on the basis that the apparent end use is mostly personal in nature. It is the policy of the University that the Vice President for Finance and Administration, if deemed appropriate, the University President must approve purchases for items of this nature for use by students or employees when other than private agency funds are being used.

  • Office beverage or food services like water or coffee
  • Christmas decorations for offices, greeting cards.
  • Cut flowers.
  • Coffee makers, radios, water purifiers, refrigerators, televisions, microwave ovens, brief cases, and similar items.
  • Entertainment, food items, meals (except as authorized by travel policies), refreshments, alcoholic beverages.
  • Watches, trophies, ground-breaking shovels, medals, certificates, performance awards, and other items to be granted as a donation or gratuity in favor of a person, corporation or association for individual ownership.
  • Dues to a Chamber of Commerce or dues for individuals to be members in organizations not required by the duties of the position.
  • Employment agency placement fee, moving or relocation costs and other costs incurred by employees to obtain a position with the University.

7. Sales and Excise Taxes

This section applies to only those items ordered with official purchase orders and purchasing cards. All other tax questions are directed to VSU Financial Services, Accounts Payable Department.

Valdosta State University, as a unit of the State of Georgia, is exempt from payment of Georgia Sales and Use Tax, and Federal Excise taxes when using public funds. Specific taxes on over the road gasoline and tire products and underground storage tank use may be payable depending on the exact situation. Otherwise, state sales tax does not apply, provided purchases are placed with official purchase orders.

Any department receiving a request for an exemption certificate can get it online or refer the supplier to the website to get it directly. The link to the page with the Georgia and Florida exemption forms is http://www.valdosta.edu/finadmin/business/purchasing/commonlyusedforms.shtml

Generally, the University is not liable to pay state sales taxes of other states if the transaction is consummated in the State of Georgia. However, the University could be liable for taxes of another state if title to the goods passes in that state to VSU.

8. Rental, Lease, Installment Purchase, Maintenance, Service Agreements

When a written contract is required for one of these types of agreements, the contract will be the responsibility of the Purchasing Department. This responsibility does not apply services and funds delegated to other departments by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

When requested by a department, maintenance contracts will be negotiated on equipment as it is acquired, or will be renewed annually on existing equipment. Maintenance agreements are contracted annually at the request of the department. This is not an "automatic" procedure. A common expiration date of June 30 has been established for all such agreements, at which time renewals will be accomplished for the coming year.

Usually, rental and lease contracts have the same cost and terms for each year of the contract. Some maintenance contracts can be agreed to with renewals at the same price and terms or with indexed cost adjustment clauses. If a department requests a contract with a specific number of renewal periods, and if the company agrees to the same cost and terms for each year, then the original service request form will be used each year to renewal the contact for the number of years on the original request. However, since the volume of use can change over time, each year the Purchasing Office sends a renewal notice the campus so department can verify their estimated volume of contract usage for the next year. This will allow an appropriate amount funds to be encumbered each year.

9. Professional Memberships, Subscriptions and Licenses

Professional Memberships:
The University may pay institutional memberships and dues in professional associations provided that they are in the name of the University. Departments are responsible for making sure the University is not already a member of the organization before authorizing a purchase request.

Memberships in the name of an individual cannot be paid or reimbursed from any fund source unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Job Requirement: The membership is necessary to fulfill the requirements of a job. A letter of justification detailing the necessity of the membership must accompany any purchase request.  OR
  • The sole purpose of the membership is to purchase professional journals at a reduced rate that are not available through the University Library. The membership must include the cost of the journal and be less than the amount that would be paid if the journal was purchased alone. These journals become the property of the University rather than the individual in whose name the membership is made. The journals must pertain to the mission of the department from which payment is made. A letter of justification providing details to show the cost advantage of purchasing the membership must be provided.

Subscriptions:

Department budget managers may authorize purchase requests for subscriptions if the following circumstances apply:

  • The University is not already a subscriber or member of an organization.
  • The subscription is not available through the University Library.
  • The subscription is of a public nature and a tangible benefit accrues to the University by virtue of the payment.
  • A letter of justification accompanies the purchase request.

Licenses:

An employee must pay for a license or certification fee if it is required to meet the minimum job requirements.

  • If it is not a minimum job requirement but the department prefers the employee have it AND receives a tangible benefit in paying for the license, VSU can purchase it with a letter of justification from the department budget manager.
  • Ultimately, the department budget manager must also authorize the purchase from their assigned budget
  • Example: Notary Public

D. Relationship with Sources of Supply (Vendors)

1. Specifications

In the area of public administration extreme care must be taken to avoid the appearance of favoritism toward any supplier. Supplier access to selling and VSU specifying of requirements must keep competition open and fair. To accomplish these goals the following procedures are established:

Receiving the best price first and holding the bidder to it, avoiding any appearance of auctioning the bid among suppliers (i.e. telling each supplier what others bid until only one is willing to continue under those circumstances).

Keeps specifications fair and clear, and avoids impossible or unnecessary specifications.

Indicate, as appropriate, a preference for supplier(s)

Specification Matrix Example

ITEM TO BE ORDERED - Battery Charger

EVALUATION OF COMPARABLE MODELS

MAKE/Brand

Alemite

Associated

Sun

MODEL Number

7109

5-100

BC-150

SERIES Number

FEATURES TO BE EVALUATED

ACCEPTABLE LEVELS

Capacity Peak Load

100 Amp -6 volt maximum

100 amp 6 v

100 amp 6 v

200 amp 6 v

60 amp -12 volt maximum

60 amp 12v

60 amp 12v

60 amp 12v

Size of DC Ammeter

4 inch diameter minimum

5"

digital

4"

Range of Ammeter

0-90 minimum

0 -120

0 -120

0 -90

Timing Switch

Must Have

Yes

Yes

Yes

Variable Charge Switch

Must Have

Yes

Yes

Yes

Power Supply and AMPS

115v-60Hz, 15Amp Max

110v,60Hz, 15 amp

110v,60Hz, 18 amp

110v,60Hz, 10 amp

Performance

Slow to Fast Charge

Must Have

Yes

Yes

Yes

6 and 12 Volts

Must Have

Yes

Yes

Yes

Compatibility Requirement

Work with existing Allen

Yes

No

Yes

diagnostic equipment

Weight

70 lbs maximum

50 lbs

50 lbs

90 lbs

Acceptable Model

Yes

No

No

2. Gifts from Suppliers, Conflicts of Interest

In addition to laws covering bribery (16 O.C.G.A 16-10-2), restraint of trade

(O.C.G.A. 16-10-22), and Board of Regents policy concerning gratuities (Sec. 802.14), The Governor's Executive Order dated January 12, 1999 establishes and Ethics in Government Policy. Summarizing these guidelines leads to a common understanding in public administration, it is best to not accept anything but if small items are accepted these need to be items that are routinely used in offices around campus.

Employees of Valdosta State University are prohibited from participating in buying or selling transactions with the University. Exceptional measures of care should be exercised when the University does business with firms owned, in whole or in part, by family members or relatives of University employees.

The Attorney General has confirmed that employees of the Board of Regents are considered to be public employees and are required to comply with the disclosure provisions of the comprehensive conflicts of interest law (Section 4510-20 through 45-10-28). This law requires that all public officials and employees of the State, or any agency thereof, shall disclose on or before 1 January each year, all transactions during the preceding year between the State and the public official or employee or any business in which such official or employee or any member of their family has a substantial interest.

Exemption from these provisions is provided if the individual transaction is less than $250.00, and the aggregate total of all such transactions does not exceed $9000.00 in any calendar year. The forms necessary to comply with a January 31 filing deadline are available on the web pages for Board of Regents and Office of Planning and Budgets.

3. Reciprocal, Barter, and In Kind Agreements

A reciprocal agreement either states or implies that two companies will purchase from each other. An example is a situation when a company agrees to buy advertising in a VSU publication and VSU agrees to buy the product or service the company sells and these transactions become the basis of the pricing.

Barter and In Kind agreements are when goods or services are exchanged without money being used in the transaction. An example is a transaction when a company advertises in a VSU publication and VSU gets the product or service that company provides but at either a reduced payment or with no payment of money.

Using these types of agreements for public purchasing is not allowed. Determining the best value of any product or service must be with a competitive bid and cannot be either determined or documented in terms of non- competitively bid values assigned to items. 2) The transactions must show in the accounting records as expenses and revenues to accurately show the status of accounts.

E. Use of Consolidated Purchase, Term Contracts, and Bidding

The requirement to combine similar needs into an either open market or contract bid is a usual procedure for accountability of public funds. This process helps show both that when reasonably possible the expenditure of funds is planned and that the process is open for responsible suppliers to have a fair chance to sell to the campus. The decision to consolidate items will be determined by the Purchasing Office based on campus wide usage and projected needs.

1. Consolidated Purchases

The requirement to consolidate items for contracts is in the State Purchasing manual. The requirement to combine related items into one bid and purchase is not specifically stated but is the only reasonable decision when attempting to implement the $5,000 bid limit as required in the State procedures. As an example, if a department needs $200,000 of furniture but no item costs over $5,000, as a matter of public administration accountability ordering the total without any bidding would not be seen by the public as an acceptable practice. Therefore, the question becomes at what level is it required to bid similar items? The only guidance offered by the State or Regents is the $5,000 bid limit. Any other limit would be arbitrary and not defensible to the public so the $5,000 limit is used for bidding related items. The splitting or multiple buying of requirements to avoid the dollar value limitation is not acceptable.

An individual form is required for each service or item likely to not be available from a single supplier. If unlike items are included on the same request, it would result in dividing a request among suppliers which would unnecessarily complicate tracking and follow-up inquiries by a department about the purchase request.

2. Term Contracts

The combining of as many related item as possible into a contract is a goal. There are many factors that can be considered to determine if items can be consolidated on a contract but in the end the decision is based on the ability of an acceptable number of suppliers in the marketplace to bid and provide comparable items.

Contract pricing can be based the costs that best reflect the circumstances of the items pricing. Examples of contract pricing are:

  • a fixed price for the life on the contract
  • a variable price based on a price index of items directly related to the contract items
  • a price with a periodic adjustment based on a directly related index
  • a price based on a national price list that is utilized by most suppliers of the items

3. Bidding

A properly designed bid consideration price, quality, and service. Under the bid system of purchasing, price determines the award when all bidders are quoting on the same or acceptably substituted specifications. Quality and service must therefore be defined adequately in the bid invitation; failure to do so works in favor of the supplier and places the university at a disadvantage.

Total cost is a function of quality and service, among other factors. The degree of quality and the extent of service contained in the specifications, therefore, should be no more than is required to accomplish the purpose for which the purchase is being made. Specifications for excessive quality and services force bidders to quote higher prices to protect themselves against rejection of their bid for failure to meet the specifications. A brand which exceeds the specifications may be recommended along with any brand known to meet the specifications. Quotes will be requested on the required level of need and any of the recommended brands could be the low bidder if the supplier offers a favorably price.

The state generally wants all purchases open so competing businesses can offer competitive prices. In addition, efforts should be made to involve minority and small business in the procurement needs of the institution.

F. Emergency Purchasing

An emergency purchase is the only situation that can justify a purchase order being issued after the department has ordered the items or services. The professional judgment of a prudent employee acting in good faith shall constitute adequate basis for the decision to act when either an individual is endangered or if a situation poses a threat of immediate, serious damage to property. This procedure should be considered a measure of last resort since such actions must be fully justified to the satisfaction of the State Purchasing Office.

A letter of justification is required to accompany the purchase request for an emergency purchase. The emergency purchase justification should clearly fit into the framework of the definition of an emergency with the specific circumstances should be clearly stated.

In circumstances where the emergency purchase requested is over $100,000 and time is available the Purchasing Services Office will make a written request to State Purchasing furnishing as attachments all relevant supporting information and documentation. Emergency requests of this type must have the written approval of the Vice President Finance and Administration.

Emergency purchase procedures are available for employees on duty outside of the State of Georgia or outside the United States. Contact the Purchasing department for information.

It is a practice of VSU and State Purchasing to not accept emergency purchase justifications which are based on a need to utilize budgeted funds in time to avoid a budget lapse deadline.

1. Definition of an Emergency Purchase

An emergency situation exists if it is likely that supplies, equipment, and or contractual services cannot be obtained through normal processing means in time to avoid one of the following examples:

  • Research personnel are unable to perform mission due to lack of materials or services in the required time. (NOTE: Departments are responsible for planning and forecasting needs such that this situation is avoided except in unusual cases.
  • Field or distant emergency circumstances where no agency or State assistance is possible.
  • Circumstances where normal purchasing procedures cannot be utilized without resulting in extremely detrimental effects upon the operation of the agency and the State's business. An example is replacing instructional equipment needed for the current semester after a theft or fire makes the items unavailable.
  • A situation arises whereby the lack of items or services immediately endangers the health, welfare, or safety of any person. (NOTE: In this situation, the Purchasing department need not be contacted until the emergency danger is over.)

G. Purchase or Rental of Vehicles

The acquisition of any vehicle that can be registered and licensed in the State of Georgia is subject to the Fleet policies of the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) and the DOAS State Fleet Support Services regulations. Links to the VSU policies and procedures, as well as to the OPB and State regulations can be found on the VSU Fleet Coordination webpage VSU Vehicle Fleet Coordination

III. Purchase Request Process

A. When to Use the Purchase Request Form

A Purchase Request is required for the purchase of supplies, contracted services, and equipment when the purchase can not be made within the other procedures (i.e.: travel request, petty cash, check request, per-diem and fees, VSU credit card). A Purchase Request is made by completing a Service Request and marking the purchase request box in the upper left corner of the form.

A Purchase Request may be used for registration fees only if there are no other expenses for meals, lodging, or mileage to be submitted for the travel.

Items charged to personal service budget categories of the budget are not to be submitted on a Purchase Request.

B. Routing and Distribution

The originating department should forward the completed Purchase Request, signed by the department head or their official designee indicating availability of budgeted funds, to the Purchasing Department. The white copy is retained for the departmental record. The department head is responsible for obtaining appropriate signatures for special approval items or services. If any question exists concerning the availability of funds the Purchase Request shall also have the approval of the appropriate Dean or Director, and if that individual deems necessary under prevailing circumstances, the signature of a Vice President.

When the purchase order is prepared by the Purchasing Office a copy of the purchase request will be attached to the purchase order and sent to the department funding the purchase.

For most services, and items shipped directly to a campus department and bypassing the Central Receiving department, a copy of both the Purchase order and purchase request will be sent to the department identified on the Purchase request as the intended recipient.

C. Preparation of Purchase Request Form

Example Purchase Request Form

Example Purchase Request Continuation Form

The following steps provide a guide for the initiating department to use in completing the Service Request Form when used as a Purchase Request. Sample forms are provided following these instructions.

  1. Enter X in the box to the left of Purchase Request.
  2. Enter the People Soft Chartstring. If an item is to be charged to more than one account then type "split charge" and then list the account numbers with department name and the total to be charged to each account in the first lines of the description section of the form. This includes the situation when more than one object classification code in the same department account is used.
  3. Enter the department name and the name of the object code to match the listed account number (i.e. Purchasing-Supplies). If split charge is used in step 2 then enter "see below".
  4. The department head or an official designee is authorized to expend budgeted funds. If funds are not available and a budget amendment is anticipated, approval of the appropriate senior administrator and/or a vice president is required. This determination, and securing the necessary approvals, is the responsibility of the department head.
  5. If special authority approvals, as outlined in the policy section, are required for items such as Information Technology, Telecommunications, or for other special types of materials, the approval number, if appropriate, and signature are to be entered. It is the responsibility of the department head to make this determination and obtain approvals and signatures prior to submitting the request to the Purchasing Department.
  6. Enter name of building to which the item is to be delivered.
  7. Enter room number or name designation where the item is to be delivered.
  8. If the item is for a specific individual then the name of the person who is either to use or is requesting the item.
  9. If the delivery is NOT to the department listed in step #3, then enter the department or location designation for delivery.
  10. Enter the date that merchandise will be needed. If the request is $5000.00 or more and not on a contract, then allow one to three weeks for bids to be obtained and for the purchase order to be issued, plus additional time for the supplier's delivery. Processing time would normally be longer for orders over $10,000 or orders requiring State Purchasing review. Such statements as "immediately" or "at once" indicate routine processing only. A specific date will communicate the need and avoid misunderstandings. Entry of a desired date earlier than normally expected by routine processing should be accompanied by a memorandum, such as with an Emergency Purchase Request, or a statement in the description section of the form. The unusual situation that caused the request to be submitted with a short delivery time is to be described in the memorandum. This situation will alert the Buyer to contact the requesting department to discuss the request.
  11. If the final delivery point is not known, or if the item is large and the individual requesting the item wants to inspect it at Central Receiving prior to final delivery, or a specific individual should sign accepting delivery, then instructions such as, "Call when received." "Call for inspection." "Call (name) before opening packaging”, would be appropriate. Purchase Requests which specify delivery locations outside of Lowndes County, Georgia, should include the notation in Block 16 at the end of the description: "F.O.B." where the blank is the Ship To address including the building name. The contact name and telephone at that location should be in blocks 12 and 13.
  12. Enter the name of the person to be contacted should there be questions concerning the item. This could also be the person to be contacted if special instructions have been provided in step #11.
  13. Enter phone number or email of individual named in step #12.
  14. Assign a number in sequential order to each item requested. Items which constitute a set, and are purchased for a specific price for the set, are considered as a single item. The individual components of such a set are to be listed under the item as part of the description.
  15. Most items on a State Contract have an eleven digit NIGP code number. If the department knows the code it should be listed.
  16. Give a complete description of each item being requested. If an entire description for an item cannot be listed in this space then do not use this space for the description. Instead, just a brief item name is shown on the request. The description and specifications for each item should be typed on either the Service Request Continuation Form or on a separate sheet of white paper. When this is done, the number of attached pages and the number of items should be stated on the front of the request as follows: "See the attached ____ pages of ____ items."

    Many times it will be helpful to also show the name of the manufacturer and the model number in order to identify the specific item being requested. Using only a supplier's catalog number is misleading and should not be used unless absolutely necessary; then the complete description, issue or volume number of the catalog, and a copy of the page from the catalog should be given. The unit of packing desired (i.e. 6/case or 100 lb./bag), when applicable, also should be noted as part of the description.
  17. Enter the quantity needed and specify the unit of measurement, such as each, pounds, bushels, cubic feet, count, etc. Do not specify general unit measures such as one case unless the type and number of units, such as 6 each 12 oz. cans per case, are also specified in step #16 of the description section.
  18. Enter the estimated cost of each unit being requested. You are encouraged to get unit prices from catalogs or price lists which are usually furnished by suppliers. Records of past purchases may also be used The unit price shown in this column must be associated with the unit size described in both the description section and the quantity column.
  19. Enter the extended price (unit price multiplied by quantity) for each item requested. This serves as authority to charge the specified budget this cost. If shipping costs are in addition to this amount, then list shipping as a separate item and show the cost in this column.
  20. If Service Request Continuation Forms are being included with this request then check the box and note the number of the attached forms. When using the Continuation form, type the request number from the original Purchase Request in the space provided at the top right of the continuation form. The first continuation form will be numbered 1. All other information on the continuation form is to be entered in the same manner as steps #14 through #21.
  21. Enter the total dollar cost of all items included on this page.
  22. Enter the total dollar cost of all items on all forms included in this Purchase Request package.
  23. List any known suppliers (name, address, phone number) who have in the past supplied this item, or who have this item available for consideration, or whom you would like solicited for bids. Additional sheets can be attached or the description section can be used if additional room is needed

If an item is to be traded, it must be listed on the purchase request. Indicate the University property inventory (tag) number, if available, model, and serial number, and expected trade-in allowance.

When the Purchase Request has been completed and required approvals obtained by the department head, forward it to the Purchasing Department. Retain the white copy for department records.

APPENDIX A

SOLE BRAND AND SOLE SOURCE JUSTIFICATION FORMATS

The following sample memorandum, with one or more categories completed, must be forwarded to Purchasing when Sole Brand approval is requested for requests exceeding $5000. Purchases from contract vendors are exempted.

Sample Sole Brand Memorandum Cover Sheet

To: _______________________, Purchasing Office

From: _(Name of Principle Investigator, Department Head/Administrator )__

Date:

Subject: Sole Brand Justification for Purchase Request #___________________________

I am aware that University purchasing regulations require that we procure via competitive means whenever practicable. However, I am requesting a Sole Brand procurement based on the following criteria. (Complete and attach the appropriate following sections as necessary.)

Sample Sole Brand Justification – Use Item on Existing Equipment, Same Manufacturer

The requested product is an integral repair part or accessory of the same manufacturer, is compatible with existing equipment, and substitutes would jeopardize the serviceability of the integrated units.
Estimated price_____________________________________________
Proposed vendor_____________________________________________
Product Description _________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Manufacturer/Model Number of requested item:__________________________________

Existing equipment:_________________________________________

Manufacturer/Model Number:__________________________________

Age and Estimated Current Value_____________________________

Explain how the requested item is used in relationship to the current equipment and requested equipment. If the existing item is old and the requested item more expensive then please give reason for not requesting a replacement unit, such as: to replace the existing item would cost $XXX which is YY times the cost of purchasing this requested upgrade.

Sample Sole Brand Justification – For Research or Classroom Instruction Goals

The requested product has unique design/performance specifications which are essential to my (research protocol or instructional goals) and are not available in comparable products. (A and either B or C must be answered.)

A. These capabilities are:

B. In addition to the product requested, I have contacted all other known suppliers for this type of product and considered their products of comparable capabilities. These products are not acceptable because they are lacking comparable technical specifications described in part A. (Complete as necessary to list all available suppliers.)

Vendor:_____________________________________________________
Product Description:________________________________________
Vendor Contract/Phone number:_______________________________
Technical Deficiency:_______________________________________

Vendor:_____________________________________________________
Product Description:________________________________________
Vender Contact/Phone Number:________________________________
Technical Deficiency:_______________________________________

Vendor:_____________________________________________________
Product Description:________________________________________
Vendor Contact/Phone number:________________________________
Technical Deficiency:_______________________________________

Vendor:_____________________________________________________
Product Description:________________________________________
Vendor Contract/Phone number:_______________________________
Technical Deficiency:_______________________________________

Vendor:_____________________________________________________
Product Description:________________________________________
Vender Contact/Phone Number:________________________________
Technical Deficiency:_______________________________________

Vendor:_____________________________________________________
Product Description:________________________________________
Vendor Contact/Phone number:________________________________
Technical Deficiency:_______________________________________

Vendor:_____________________________________________________
Product Description:________________________________________
Vendor Contact/Phone number:________________________________
Technical Deficiency:_______________________________________

C. The requested product is essential in maintaining (experimental/instructional/) continuity. Provide a thorough explanation in "Explain in detail" section.

_______Requested product is being used in continuing experiments.

_______Other investigators have used this product in similar research and, for comparability of results, I require it.

_______ I have standardized (research procedures/ instructional coursework/service functions) on the requested product; the use of another product would delay the continuation of the program and require considerable time and effort evaluate or adopt.

Explain in detail:

Sample Sole Brand Justification – Extensive Training

The requested product is one with which I\or my staff have specialized and extensive training and retraining would incur substantial costs in time and effort.

Manufacturer/Model of existing product: ___________________________________________

Estimated hours/per person required to retrain: ____________

Numbers of persons requiring retraining: __________________

Other factors including estimated total cost to retrain:

Estimated total cost of requested items: _________

Estimated total cost of alternate items: _________

Sample Sole Brand Justification – Substantial Inventory

The institution has a substantial inventory of parts for the requested item. A substitute would not be
compatible with this inventory, would require the need to stock additional parts, and would cause the
institution to incur a substantial cost by making the existing inventory obsolete. This item (is/is not)
distributed through other suppliers.

Manufacturer/Model_______________________________
Number of parts inventory items stocked________________
Total value of items in stock__________
Estimated handling cost to stock additional items______
Number of items of equipment in use which utilize these parts____________
Total value of the existing equipment in use___________
Recommended suppliers listed on the Purchase Request form.

Sample Sole Source Justification - Repair

Occasionally, the need for repairs or other services are required. Usually these can be handled as an Emergency Purchase using the closest repair facility. If the service is not an emergency then a sole source must be justified for one of the following reasons. Please mark the appropriate line.

Recommended vendor__________________________________________

Alternate sources evaluated (if available and the time exists to look for additional service providers). _______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

______The extent of necessary services or repairs for this item can not be determined until the item has been dismantled for inspection at which point it cannot be economically moved or reassembled. The recommended vendor has provided the best local service for this type of requirement.

______The (function to be offered/item to be repaired) can not be moved or economically (provided at/shipped to) a distant supplier. Only local vendors have responded to requests to provide these services. The recommended vendor has provided the best local service for these needs.