UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH POLICY 05-02-05

CATEGORY:               FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
SECTION:                   Purchasing
SUBJECT:                  Department Purchasing Authority and Responsibilities
EFFECTIVE DATE:    April 7, 2006 Revised
PAGE(S):                    3

I.    SCOPE

      This policy establishes the purchasing authority for departments and their associated

      responsibilities.  It also describes purchases that are prohibited.

II.   POLICY

      Department Authority for Purchasing

      The University’s central Purchasing Department is authorized to manage the purchasing

      process as established in University policy 05-02-14, Authority for Management of

      Procurement.  Commitments in the name of the University are reserved solely for authorized

      University purchasing agents.  Unless delegated in writing by the central Purchasing

      Department or by a resolution of the Board of Trustees, purchasing authority for all other

      departments is limited to $5,000 per purchase for goods or services.  All purchase

      transactions that exceed $5,000 must be approved by the Purchasing Department or

      regional campus Purchasing Department.  Further restrictions of purchasing authority may

      be placed on individual purchasers by department managers.  A purchase commitment

      may not be divided into smaller transactions in order to circumvent established purchasing

      authority.

      Department Responsibilities

      Specifications

      University departments have the initial responsibility for specifying items to be purchased

      or the services to be performed.  Specifications should include a general description of the

      items/services, manufacturer and model number, quantity, physical characteristics,

      compatibility and integration requirements, required delivery date and any other pertinent

      requirements.  The Purchasing Department will assist in formulating a specification when

      requested to do so.

      Specifications must be prepared in a manner that permits fair and equitable consideration

      from all known sources qualified to meet the University's requirements.  The appropriate

      purchasing unit will consult with administrative officers, competent specialists, or others in

      order to secure any technical assistance required in this regard.

      Source Selection

      When available, University contracted suppliers should be used as the source for the

      purchase (see Policy 05-02-15, Required Use of Contracted Suppliers).  A list of University

      contracted suppliers is available at www.bc.pitt.edu/purchasing/index.html.

      If a University contracted supplier is not available, departments should attempt to obtain

      three competitive quotes for all purchases under $5,000.

      Formal competitive bidding is required for all purchases greater than $5,000 (see Policy

      05-02-16, Competitive Bidding).  The Purchasing Department reserves the final decision in

      the selection of sources.  When conducting competitive bidding, the Purchasing

      Department should be contacted to assist with developing a Request for Quote (RFQ) or

      Request for Proposal (RFP), and to oversee the bid evaluation process to ensure fair and

      open competition.

      Exceptions may be made with acceptable written justification from the appropriate vice

      chancellor, campus president, dean, or director when deemed appropriate and acceptable

      by the University Purchasing Department (see Policy 05-02-17, Directed or Sole Source

      Purchase Justification).

      Positive efforts should be made to provide opportunities to bid to disadvantaged, minority

      and women-owned businesses.

      Contract Form

      In order to mitigate the risk of financial loss to the University, all purchases of goods and

      services must be conveyed to suppliers using a written or electronic form of contract

      approved by the University’s Purchasing Department.  The Purchasing Department will

      consult with the Office of General Counsel for non-standard terms and conditions when

      necessary.  All purchase orders must be sent to suppliers using procedures established

      by the Purchasing Department.  Verbal orders are prohibited.

      All purchasers should understand the legal consequences of the commitments that they

      make on behalf of the University, and should have sufficient knowledge to recognize and

      bring to the attention of their supervisor or the Purchasing Department any situation that

      requires consultation with University authorities on tax, legal, liability, and insurance matters.

      In order to protect the University against possible claims or damage suits, under no

      circumstances should work commence (especially construction or repair work of any kind)

      or product be accepted without a contract that is executed by an individual with appropriate

      purchasing authority.

      Grants, Contracts, Sponsored Programs, Restricted Funds

      Purchases charged to grants, contracts, sponsored programs, or restricted funds must

      comply with University policies and any specific expenditure policy of the funding source,

      if more restrictive than University policy.  The business manager or grant administrator is

      responsible for understanding and complying with these funding source restrictions in

      each research agreement.

      Prohibitions

      The following purchases are prohibited.

      1.   Personal purchases using any University purchasing method.

      2.   Political contributions in accordance with Policy 05-06-06, Political Contributions.

      Advance Written Approval

      The following purchases require advance written approval from the Chancellor, Provost or

      appropriate Senior Vice Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean or

      equivalent Academic Director.  Otherwise, such expenditures are personal and should not

      be purchased with University funds.

      1.   Purchases for organized business meetings, whether on or off campus.  Organized

            business meetings may include other University individuals whose presence is required

            and necessary for the conduct of official University business such as interviewing of

            candidates and special University programs.  The meal cost, including tips, may not

            exceed $60.00 per person.

      2.   Gifts and charitable contributions.

      3.   Purchases for official University business events such as retirement receptions,

            employee recognition receptions or University-endorsed student activities are permitted

            with the appropriate approvals.

      Training and Knowledge of University Policies and Procedures

      All individuals with purchasing responsibilities are required to complete Purchasing

      Fundamentals training.  This training is provided by the Purchasing Department, and

      provides purchasers with a basic knowledge of purchasing policies and procedures.

      Record Keeping

      Department purchase records should be retained in compliance with University Financial

      Records Retention Schedule at www.bc.pitt.edu/frs/FinancialRecordRetentionSchedule.html.

      Conflicts of Interest and Ethics

      All individuals with regular purchasing responsibilities are required to comply with University

      Policy 05-02-02, Conflict of Interest and Procurement Relationships, and University Policy

      05-02-03, Code of Ethics.

III.  REFERENCE

      For detailed guidance on specifications, source selection, approved contract forms, and

      other purchasing procedures, see www.bc.pitt.edu/purchasing/tools.html.