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Basic Procurement Policies
Our purchasing authority is contingent upon strict adherence to various state, CSU, and campus procurement regulations. The procurement policies we follow ensure our compliance to these regulations and that the University is receiving the best procurement value for its money. There are only seven basic policies from which all the procurement regulations flow. It is important that you understand and comply with these policies when obtaining products and services for your department.
The seven basic policies are:
Authority to Contract
You must have specific authority to obligate the University to pay for goods and services. Campus departments have been delegated the authority to purchase only those products and services that qualify for the Procurement Card, or Direct Payment process. All other purchases must be made by Procurement and Contract Services Department.
Please do not sign any contracts or agreements with a vendor. Instead, send it to Procurement and Contract Services for review. Buyers are familiar with state laws governing the CSU system's authority. Also, buyers may be able to negotiate a better contract for you.
Requisitions submitted to Purchasing after the order has been placed with the vendor or after the University has received the products or services are called Confirming Orders. Confirming orders are not allowed. There are several potential problems associated with confirming orders; such as the receipt of duplicate shipments, violations of legal requirements, the issuance of redundant payments, missed discounts, delays in settlements, lost items, and unidentified invoices. Any faculty or staff member who buys products or services without following the proper process assumes the possibility of personal liability for payment.
As a public institution, the University's purchases are open to public inspection and oversight. Formal sealed bids are opened publicly and the amount of each bid is announced and recorded. Formal sealed proposals are also announced publicly, with only the names of the proposers announced and recorded. Completed solicitations are public records and available for inspection by the public.
Selection of Vendors
The University purchases from the lowest cost vendor who can meet our requirements. Vendors are selected by the informal bid, formal bid, or formal proposal process. There are two exceptions: Sole Brand and Sole Source purchases.
Sole Brand items have unique performance features not found in other items, but are available on the open market from multiple sources.
Sole Source items have unique performance features not found in other items and are available only from a single manufacturer or from a dealer with exclusive distribution rights. If you think your web requisition order may qualify, please complete either a Sole Brand Justification Form or a Sole Source Justification Form.
Vendor Outreach Programs
The University seeks to do business with small businesses and disabled veteran businesses. We do this by setting annual purchasing goals; instituting changes to purchasing procedures that will enhance the program; and documenting, tracking, and reporting our success to the CSU Chancellor's Office and the State Department of General Services.
The State requires that the University purchase on a public competitive bid basis and award orders to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications. Best value is assured when the University obtains products and/or services of the highest quality required at the lowest possible price.
- Purchase Transactions below $50,000: Competition is sought when the buyer determines that competition is desirable to acquire the best price and/or delivery, develop a source, confirm prices, or other compelling business reasons.
- Purchase Transactions Above $50,000: Competition is sought through the formal bid process with awards being made to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications through Invitation for Bids, and the highest ranked vendor on our Requests for Proposals. Awards shall be determined on the basis of one of two methods: (1) cost alone or (2) on a cost per quality point basis.
- Product or Service as Unique or Proprietary, Single or Sole Source: The requirement for competitive bidding of products and services in excess of $50,000 shall not apply when a Sole Source Justification that meets strict State and CSU criteria has been approved by the Director of Procurement and Contract Services. The criteria for sole source requires that a product or service have the characteristics and functions of which are such that only a single product or service will properly satisfy the University's needs and all other products or services will be unacceptable for such needs.
Certain commodities are standardized to take advantage of quantity discounts, avoid numerous small orders, and comply with state legislation. All office supplies should be ordered from Staples Advantage (through ESM Campus Marketplace) to take advantage of reduced prices negotiated by a CSU Master Enabling Agreement. Also, State legislation has mandated that 50% of all purchases by State agencies must meet recycled product guidelines, so recycled products should be ordered whenever possible.
Conflict of Interest
University employees may not personally benefit from their official positions or decisions. Any University employee who has, or whose relative has, a substantial interest in providing a product or service to the University, shall make known that interest and shall refrain from participating in the procurement decision making process.
University employees shall not accept or solicit, directly or indirectly, anything of economic value as a gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, or loan which is or may appear to be designed to influence official conduct in any manner, particularly from a person who is seeking to obtain contractual or other business or financial arrangements with the University (e.g. a vendor, who has interests that might be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee's duty).