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Purchase of Commodities and Services

PURCHASE OF COMMODITIES AND SERVICES

A.  Preferred Sources:

The State of New York has extended to certain agencies special access privileges to State purchasing activity. These preferred agencies include:

Department of Correction (Corcraft)

Industries for the Disabled

Veterans Industries

Office of Mental Health

recognized organizations serving physically and mentally handicapped

The products which these agencies sell must be purchased by State Agencies regardless of price or other considerations; State University, under flexibility, does have more discretion but must clearly document the basis for not purchasing from preferred sources.

B.   N.Y.S. Contracts

The Office of General Services is the central purchasing agency for New York State. Its authority is broad and its services varied. Its bureau of standards and purchase develop product specifications and analyze product performance; its engineering units advise on physical facilities, computerization, telecommuni-cations, etc. OGS also negotiates regional and state-wide term commodity contracts with vendors through a formal competitive process for a variety of consumable supplies and equipment. State agencies are required to purchase from these contracts (except that preferred sources take precedence). SUNY through its flexibility may utilize term contracts or purchase the equivalent from the open market if lower prices can be obtained.

Besides the usual price advantage gained through the power of volume purchasing and formal competition that N.Y.S. term contracts offer, competitive bidding and procurement opportunities requirements can be avoided at the campus level, saving a great deal of time and effort.

C.  Open Market Purchases

Open market purchases are defined as those which are not available from Preferred Sources or N.Y.S. Term Contracts. If the campus wishes to purchase a particular service or commodity from the open market which is available from a Preferred Source or N.Y.S. Term Contract, the campus must compile defensible documentation justifying why the Preferred Source or Contract was not selected. Requirements set forth below (E.) must be strictly followed.

D.  Specification Preparation

Every instance of smart buying involves utilization of specifications. The process is informal for simple purchases, but written specifications, including such information as dimensions, materials, capacities, performance, warranties, need to be established in order to accurately and objectively compare competing products and to ensure desired product acquisition. Best value does not necessarily mean only lowest price, and thorough comparative product analysis against established specifications ensures the correct purchasing decision. A selection not carrying the lowest cost must be fully justified by reference to its specifications.

Solicitation of competitive quotes or bids from vendors is possible only by supplying common specifications which are sufficiently generic to avoid exclusionary consequences, whether inadvertent or deliberate.

Purchasing staff, having the responsibility for coordinating the procurement of a wide variety of products and services, cannot have full expertise across the full purchasing spectrum and must, at times, seek the assistance of initiating departmental staff or others in specification development. Especially in the procurement of highly technical or complex materials, equipment, or services, the responsibility for specification development must fall to the initiating department with Purchasing maintaining its role of coordination and oversight to ensure sufficient detail and avoidance of exclusionary language. External expertise for specification development may also be sought, whether from OGS, SUNY, other colleges, or the private sector, all toward the goal of prudent and proper purchasing.

E. Open Market Purchases--Competition Price Ranges

The requirements for seeking competition set by the State of New York applies to all State Agencies and become stricter as dollar value increases. SUNY enjoys a greater level of discretion, that is, more relaxed requirements, under flexibility. These requirements apply to open market purchases and to purchases which, while available from Preferred Sources or N.Y.S. Term Contracts, are unacceptable to the campus. Effective in FY 1993, the following dollar limits apply:
 

Dollar Limit  Requirement
$0-$10,000
 
a. No documented competitive bidding is required, but prices must be certified as reasonable and representing best value; normally competition is the best technique. 
b. Purchases from a NY Small Business, certified M/WBE, and recycled goods meeting N.Y.S. recycled content standards may be purchased without competition so long as prices are reasonable and represent good value. 
c. Post-audit by the Office of the State Comptroller. 
$10,000.01-$20,000
a. No documented competitive bidding is required, but prices must be certified as reasonable and representing best value; normally competition is the best technique. 
b. Quarterly Contract Reporter publication
c. Purchases from a  NY Small Business, certified M/WBE, and recycled goods meeting N.Y.S. recycled content standards may be purchased without competition so long as prices are reasonable and represent good value. 
d. Post-audit by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). 
$20,000.01-$50,000  
a. No documented competitive bidding is required, but prices must be certified as reasonable and representing best value; normally competition is the best technique. 
b. Contract Reporter notice (minimum 15 business days advance notice) 
c. Purchases from a  NY Small Business, certified M/WBE, and recycled goods meeting N.Y.S. recycled content standards may be purchased without competition so long as prices are reasonable and represent good value. 
d. Post-audit by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). 
$50,000.01-$125,000
a. Minimum - three informal quotes or proposals required from responsible vendors. (A formal process is optional.)
b. Contract reporter notice (minimum 15 business days advance notice prior to award) 
c. Purchases from a  NY Small Business, certified M/WBE, and recycled goods meeting N.Y.S. recycled content standards may be purchased without competition so long as prices are reasonable and represent good value. 
d. Post-audit by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). 
$125,000.01-$250,000
a. Formal process: minimum - five sealed bids required from responsible vendors. 
b. Contract Reporter notice (minimum 15 business days advance notice prior to bid opening) 
c. Request For Proposal (RFP) or Invitation for Bid (IFB) required to fully describe the proposed purchase, especially if complex and/or involving systems, services, installation, etc.
d. Post-audit by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). 
e. OSC and Attorney General review and approval required prior to award for single/sole source contracts, bid protests, IFB/RFP provision exceptions.
Over $250,000
 
a. Formal process: minimum - five sealed bids required from responsible vendors. 
b. Contract Reporter notice (minimum 15 business days advance notice prior to bid opening) 
c. Request For Proposal (RFP) or Invitation for Bid (IFB) required to fully describe the proposed purchase, especially if complex and/or involving systems, services, installation, etc.
d. OSC and Attorney General review and approval required prior to award.