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 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.
The Office of General Services is the central purchasing agency for New York State. Its authority is broad and its services vary. 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. State agencies are required to purchase from these contracts (except when Preferred Sources take precedence). If the contract has the "OGS or less" clause, 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.
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.
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.
The requirements for seeking competition set by the State of New York applies to all State Agencies and become stricter as dollar value increases.