The purchase of goods and services from funds administered through the State of New York (including State Operations, DIFR, IFR, and Current Restricted Fund) are subject to the New York State Finance Law, State Agency Regulations, Executive Branch Directives, and State University Policy.
University policy requires that only authorized University representatives may make commitments for the purchase, lease, or rental of goods or services. Authorized representatives are defined as those Business Office employees specifically designated by the President and Vice President for Finance and Management and having signatures on file with the state of New York. Additionally, P-card holders are authorized to make purchases for the University within established guidelines for cardholders. Limited purpose authorizations may at times be further delegated as circumstances warrant.
It is necessary to receive prior approval from the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office for planned purchase of goods or services, including contractual obligations. The incurring of any liability without prior approval is unauthorized and becomes a personal liability. Unauthorized actions in rare cases of true emergency affecting the immediate health and safety of persons or property are justified and then only if the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office could not be reached. Standing Procedures for Physical Plant and Public Safety address emergency situations.
While nothing can replace good planning, and often a crisis results merely from the lack of it, the unanticipated will at times occur. In those circumstances the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office may, for expediency, give a verbal authorization to proceed.
Please call the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office (ext. 2305) to clarify the proper action and gain the guidance and assistance as needed.
The following describes the chronological flow of documents, their review, and transactions of the purchasing process.
Informal exploration of the commodity or service at the originating departmental level which may include vendor contact regarding specifications, prices, delivery, warranty, set-up, utilities, service, and competitive prices for equivalents. There is to be no commitment to a vendor by the originating department. Unauthorized commitments are considered to have incurred a personal liability by the individual responsible. Departments are encouraged to contact the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office at ext. 2305 at this preliminary stage for advice and recommendations.
Note: Check to see if the commodity/service is available through any of the Preferred Sources first before obtaining quotes elsewhere.
The originating department completes a purchase requisition in Red Dragon Depot attaching any vendor quote information, reasonable of price checklist (for purchases $2,500 or more), and other detailed specifications if necessary.
If a service is to be purchased, there may be need for a formal contract with performance specifications. If the service involves any kind of construction or alteration to the Physical Plant, including consulting services, the campus Facilities Office becomes involved and a complex contractual process is required. External approvals may be necessary prior to any commitment to a provider of services.
The Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office, upon receipt of requisition, performs a review and audit against all State, SUNY, and University regulations policies and procedures, including but not limited to, determinations on competitive pricing, M/WBE, procurement opportunities legislation, NYS contracts, and preferred sources.
The purchase order is generated through Red Dragon Depot and sent to the vendor by the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office. In some cases, external approvals may be necessary prior to issuance of the purchase order to the vendor. It is this purchase order issuance which establishes the only authorized and binding commitment to the vendor; any other vendor contact is considered informal and non-binding to the University.
Goods are generally received at the Central Receiving facility located on Stratton Drive. Once the department has received the items from Central Receiving, the originating department must receive the items(s) within Red Dragon Depot. Receiving items in Red Dragon Depot is essential for timely vendor payment as required under prompt payment legislation. Partial shipments should be paid promptly rather than waiting for order completion. The Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office should be contacted for advice and instructions in cases of discovered damage or other unusual circumstances. In cases where a return must be made, contact the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office for proper procedures and documentation to accompany the return.
Central Stores stocks most commonly needed office supply items.
The State of New York has extended, to certain agencies, special access privileges to State purchasing activity. These preferred agencies include:
New York State Department of Correction (Corcraft)
New York State Preferred Source Program for People Who Are Blind (NYSPSP)
New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID)
The products and services 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.
The Office of General Services (OGS) is the central purchasing agency for New York State. Its bureau of standards and purchase develop product specifications and analyze product performance; its engineering units advise on physical facilities, computerization, telecommunications, 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.
Besides the usual price advantage gained through the power of volume purchasing and formal competition that NYS term contracts offer, competitive bidding and procurement opportunities requirements can be avoided at the campus level, saving a great deal of time and effort.
Open market purchases are defined as those which are not available from Preferred Sources or NYS 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 NYS Term Contract, the campus must compile defensible documentation justifying why the Preferred Source or State Contract was not selected. Requirements set forth below (#6) must be strictly followed.
Every instance of smart buying involves utilization of specifications. The process is informal for simple purchases, but written specifications, including dimensions, materials, capacities, performance, warranties, etc. 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.
The requirements for seeking competition set by the State of New York applies to all State Agencies and become stricter as dollar value increases.
This establishes formal guidelines for securing group or individual local lodging to be paid from State funding. This procedure serves to expedite payments to lodging vendors, while designating the name(s) of those authorized to charge lodging to the University, as well as certify tax-exempt status.
NOTE: Attendees are expected to personally pay for all telephone calls, cable-movie rentals, and all other incidental charges at the time of check out.
The various contracts for the purchase of services, including design/construction, executed and in force under the statutory regulations of New York State include those funded from State Purpose, DIFR, IFR, and other certain special funding. Those contracts funded independently such as by ASC, Alumni Association, are not governed by New York State regulations and are not covered by these guidelines (except for construction contracts). However, if any contract is funded partially from New York State funds or if a contract is expected to convert to New York State funding in some future year, full compliance with New York State regulations and these guidelines is required from the outset.
The following serves to clarify campus authority, responsibility and accountability in regard to contract administration, specifying the roles of each level of campus management (because construction contracts require a special expertise and extensive preparation, the Office of Facilities assumes many of the responsibilities of the Business Office-Purchasing and the operating departmental manager stated below).
All levels of campus operating management, beginning with the President as the Chief Administrative Officer, through the Division of Finance and Management encompassing the Business Office and its Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office, and to the operating unit (department), share in the responsibility for full compliance with statutes and regulations. This shared responsibility is facilitated by the delegation of specific authority levels to ensure adequate review, control and the avoidance of violations. All levels are accountable for compliance within their delegated authority.
Delegated the authority to ensure overall compliance, the Business Office-Purchasing coordinates and oversees the contract development and execution process, including acting as the sole office to obligate funds and finalize any kind of commitment by the University.
The operating (departmental) manager having jurisdiction over the area or operation which the contract serves has the following responsibilities and authority:
In summary, direct contract administration rests with the manager, with legal and administrative coordination resting with the Business Office-Purchasing.
October 1, 2014
SUNY 7553 Purchasing and Contracting; 7558 Procurement Card Policy and Guidelines; Public Officers Law §74
Vice President for Finance & Management
To conduct the University's functions of teaching, research, and service, it is sometimes necessary to enter into legally binding agreements (“contracts”) with other entities. The University will only be bound by written contracts to which the University or a subunit is formally a party, that have been reviewed and approved in accordance with this policy, and that have been executed by University officials who have specific contract signature authority. No officer or member of the University community has the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the University, or any program, department or division of the University, in the absence of a formal written delegation of authority. This policy describes the University’s contract review and approval requirements and the protocols for the delegation of signature authority. This policy applies to all members of the University community. This policy does not pertain to Employment Contracts, Appointments and SUNY Research Foundation Contracts.
A. Contract means any agreement between two or more persons that creates a legally binding obligation to do or not to do a particular thing. A contract may or may not involve the payment of money. This policy applies to any document that obligates the University, irrespective of the terminology used to describe that document. Types of documents that constitute contracts include, but are not limited to: academic agreements; affiliation agreements; assignments; business agreements; material transfer agreements (MTA’s); memoranda of understanding (MOU’s); memoranda of agreement; non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s); promises to pay; promissory notes; purchase orders; riders or addenda to existing contracts; separation agreements; settlement agreements; and waivers.
B. Business Contract includes the following types of contracts: deeds; leases; construction agreements; agreements with software consultants, for computer hardware, or for telecommunication services; contracts with vendors for purchase of materials, equipment or services; procurement agreements; financing agreements; independent contractor/consultant agreements (except when part of a research contract); and agreements with temporary employment agencies.
C. Academic Affiliation Agreements: For memoranda of understanding or agreements regarding academic operations (for example, affiliation agreements between University schools and external agencies such as hospitals, social agencies, or school systems; or collaboration agreements with other universities) approval is required by the President, Vice President of Finance and Management or their designees. Such agreements may also require review by the SUNY Office of General Counsel. If an Academic Affiliation Agreement involves a commitment of University funds, it also is a Business Agreement and follows the applicable process for such agreements.
D. Contract Initiator means the individual who proposes to enter into contract negotiations with a non-University individual or entity. Contract Initiators must be University employees who have undergone procurement training, and may not be students or student employees.
E. Renewals, extensions, amendments and modifications to previously approved contracts should be approved and signed in the same manner as the original contracts.
Except where a specific, written exception applies, the following requirements apply to all contracts. If, after reviewing this policy, you are uncertain about the review and approval process or requirements for a particular type of contract, contact the Purchasing Office.
A. Preliminary Review by Contract Initiator
Contract Initiators are responsible for conducting a preliminary review of proposed contracts. Prior to submitting a contract for required review and approval as described below, the Contract Initiator must read the entire contract to confirm that the contract:
When a contract also involves a purchase, the Contract Initiator must follow the requirements of the University’s Procurement Policy and/or Procurement Card Policy.
B. Administrative Review and Approval
Following preliminary review by the Contract Initiator, all contracts must undergo further administrative review and approval as set forth below:
C. Contract Signature Authority
Only the President is authorized to enter into contracts, deeds, or leases between the University and another party. The President, however, is permitted to delegate this responsibility to appropriate University officials as follows:
Vice President for Finance and Management has the authority to sign contracts, deeds or leases arising out of the normal business operations of the University.
Additional, limited delegations of contract signature authority may be made by the President and the Vice President of Finance and Management. All delegations of signature authority must be in writing and entered onto the New York State Office of the State Comptroller Bureau of Contracts Authorized Signature Form. Copies of all such written delegations must be provided to the Office of the State Comptroller.
D. Retention of Signed Contracts
A copy of signed business contracts, MOUs, and affiliation contracts are to be maintained by the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office.
NO OFFICER OR MEMBER OF THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY MAY SIGN OR OTHERWISE EXECUTE A CONTRACT THAT BINDS THE UNIVERSITY OR ITS SUBUNITS UNLESS HE/SHE HAS BEEN DELEGATED SIGNATURE AUTHORITY THAT HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED IN WRITING AND IS ON FILE AS SET FORTH IN THIS POLICY. CONTRACTS SIGNED BY OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES WITHOUT DOCUMENTED SIGNATURE AUTHORITY MAY BE DEEMED VOID. INDIVIDUALS IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES MAY BE PERSONALLY LIABLE FOR THE OBLIGATIONS ASSUMED UNDER SUCH CONTRACTS PER THE UNIVERSITY’S EMPLOYEE INDEMNIFICATION POLICY, AND ARE SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT.
Managers/supervisors are responsible for communicating this policy to all staff members and for enforcing its requirements.
The special University-wide lump-sum distribution of Academic Equipment Replacement funding has specific and defined restrictions governing its use. The following guidelines apply:
Reimbursement or Payment for Food/Beverages - NYS Requirements
Under certain circumstances, cost of food and beverages can be considered an appropriate NYS expenditure. The following guidelines are intended to clarify those circumstances and limitations.
It is important to note that NYS has issued no formal guidelines as to appropriate expenses; rather each incident is audited on a case-by-case basis. Under flexibility extended to agencies, local practices should be consistent and defensible, reflecting the spirit of occasional SUNY and NYS audit comments and perceptions of appropriate use of public funds. Generally, purchases that are considered to be or have the appearance of being improper should be avoided.
1. Official Business Travel Status:
Employee: Reimbursement for food costs in accordance with standard reimbursement rates is acceptable; reimbursed via travel reimbursement voucher (see Travel Guidelines).
Non-employee (candidate, consultant, student acting in an official administrative capacity) food expenses are paid by Standard Voucher.
2. Meal Allowances Per the President's Cabinet, the allowable rates for candidate-related meal expenses are as follows:
Exceptions to this policy apply to searches for members of the President's Council or at the discretion of the appropriate vice president.
3. Food/beverages supporting a formal official business setting (conference, workshop, training session), evidenced by a formal program agenda, statement of purpose, listing of participants; the food/beverages must serve a demonstrably essential/important ingredient for success, not merely a hospitality enhancement; a working lunch session which could not have been scheduled differently nor individually paid could be acceptable if justified.
4. Food/beverage/hospitality supported by participant fees (typically within a conference registration fee), evidenced by a formal program/agenda, state of purpose, and listing of participants.
1. Alcoholic beverages
2. Food/beverage provided in a largely social unstructured setting, such as reception, parties, gatherings, which do not serve a clear official business purpose.
3. Food/beverages provided as incidental to normal meetings (staff meetings, committee meetings, etc.) on which the success of the meeting does not depend. Typically involving predominantly employees, the food/beverages serve no essential purpose, therefore, the costs of which should not be borne by State funds.
Occasionally, employees of the University incur expenses for food/beverages that they pay with their own funds while conducting legitimate University business.
Employee food reimbursement claims should be submitted to the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office using a Standard Voucher.
Food-Type expenses must be justified (serve a business purpose) and be reasonable. The employee should submit copies of invoices, receipts, cancelled checks, and/or credit card statements along with information about the event or items. A list of attendees and their status may be required. The above-mentioned guidelines apply.
There is a limited opportunity for multi-year installment purchases within the State of New York. The duration of an agreement cannot exceed the useful life (five year minimum). Only purchases with an outright purchase price exceeding $250,000 may be acquired in this manner on the rationale that for purchases under $250,000 the additional cost of financing is not justified. The cost threshold is arguably too high for small agencies such as SUNY Cortland, but the policy is firm. Additionally, all multi-year installment purchases must follow C.O.P.S. (Certificates of Participation) procedures requiring advance appropriation requests (generally a request for C.O.P.S. multi-year purchasing must be submitted in October for the next fiscal year). The State has given the Office of General Services (OGS) sole authority for obtaining C.O.P.S. financing.
Leasing is generally discouraged by the State of New York as not cost effective unless leasing is the only option offered by the vendor. All proposals for leases must be presented for review and approval to the Attorney General (AG), Office of the State Comptroller (OSC), and Office of General Services (OGS). While leasing may be considered a viable alternative to outright purchasing for short term needs, strong arguments must be presented to persuade the external approving agencies. In cases where technological advances may render the acquisition obsolete in a period shorter than its useful life, leasing may be considered valid.
In cases of short-term need, renting may be permissible if clearly cost-effective. Because rentals are carefully scrutinized by OSC at the time of payment processing, it is essential that the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office be contacted for advice and coordination at the early planning stages and that no unauthorized vendor commitments be made.
The SUNY Research Foundation (RF), established to administer externally funded grants, is a legally, separate corporate entity in the State of New York. As such, the regulations and procedures of the State and SUNY do not apply. The SUNY Research Foundation's policies and procedures do reflect sponsor mandates (federal agencies, etc.) and parallel SUNY to the extent feasible. Purchases against RF grants are processed independently from State Purchasing, following RF procedures and using RF forms.
There are cases in which funding for a single purchase may be shared by both State and RF resources. In such a circumstance, both sets of procedures must apply with the stricter standards (usually State) prevailing. It is vital therefore that good planning and coordination occur to successfully process split-funded purchases.
There are, on rare occasions, situations requiring action to protect persons or property. An emergency is defined as that which presents a clear and immediate danger to persons or the physical environment. In these situations normal procedures and requirements may be abbreviated or suspended so long as full justification and documentation are developed as soon as practicable. In cases when the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office is unavailable for authorization and coordination, usually outside normal office hours, the Director of Physical Plant, the Director of Public Safety and the Director of Facilities may authorize emergency purchases of goods or services. Full written justification must be provided to support approvals, as applicable, by external agencies. In situations involving physical structures, a presidential certification is necessary to justify suspension of standing purchasing regulations and requirements.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to maintain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS's) for all chemical products which contain potentially hazardous components.
The MSDS's, which contain important health and safety and emergency information, must be made readily available to employees.
MSDS's are required for all chemical products which contain potentially hazardous components.
If an MSDS is requested for a product which is not hazardous under the OSHA regulations, the vendor must state that the product is exempt when declining the MSDS request. The requesting department must requesting MSDS's from vendors at the time of purchase, and forwarding them (or having the vendor send them directly) to the Environmental Health & Safety. Environmental Health & Safety Office will review the MSDS's, retain a copy in a master file, and forward the MSDS to appropriate campus personnel.
SUNY Cortland maintains an inventory of all State and Research Foundation-owned equipment through a University automated system. It is the responsibility of the University to record all additions, deletions, and changes in a timely and accurate manner and this responsibility is delegated to the Property Control Manager within the Business Office. The program requires, however, the ongoing cooperative efforts of Business Office departments for document processing and individual University departments for physical inventory verifications.
See Property Control Office for more information.
Gift certificates/Gift cards are not authorized purchases from any funding source under the control of the State of New York, including State Operating, IFR, DIFR. Gift certificates/Gift cards and cash gifts are prohibited because of the potential for impropriety and tax liability evasion. Any kind of payment to any individual must be processed through the payroll process, or in certain areas as a voucher payment, both generating tax disclosure and audit trail.
The University is tax exempt - Tax Exemption Certificate.
SUNY Cortland Tax Exempt #: 14740026K
SUNY Cortland Federal ID #: 146013200
Price quotes from at least 2-3 other responsible vendors that can provide the similar type product or service to demonstrate that the vendor you have chosen has the lowest reasonable price. Each procurement should include a quote from at least one M/W/SDVOB vendor as a good faith effort to meet state goals. Published price lists or Internet search information may be acceptable when price quotes are not feasible. It is advisable to document reasonableness of price and vendor selection criteria whenever possible for purchases less than $2,500 and is required for purchases $2,500 and above. Written documentation should support both the selection of the vendor and the reasonableness of the price (Reasonableness of Price Check List).
A Single Source procurement is defined as one in which two or more vendors can supply the commodity, technology, and/or perform the services required by an agency, but the State agency selects one vendor over the others for reasons such as expertise or previous experience with similar purchases. Circumstances leading an agency to select this method of procurement may include, for example, an agency's need for a specific consultant firm where a number of firms are available to perform the work. In such case, the agency can demonstrate a rational basis for selecting a single vendor because of specific factors such as past experience with a particular issue, familiarity with specific agency operations, experience with similar projects at other agencies or at other levels of government, demonstrated expertise, or capacity and willingness to respond to the situation.
In a single source procurement, the agency must document in the Procurement Record:
All such documentation is required by OSC in order to review the proposed purchase.
A Sole Source procurement is one for which only one vendor can supply the commodities, technology and/or perform the services required by an agency. Procurement by this method must be documented in the Procurement Record by an explanation of:
All such documentation is required by OSC in order to review the proposed purchase.
If the procurement cost is $50,000 or more and the purchase is not from a State contract, we are required to place a notice of the anticipated purchase in the New York State Contract Reporter for a minimum of fifteen business days.
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM