Georgia Code 50-5-51 gives procurement authority to the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS). Included is the authority to contract for the rental, lease, purchase or other acquisition of all supplies, materials, services (other than professional and personal employment services) and equipment required by the state government or any of its institutions, to contract for telephone services, have general supervision over all storerooms and to contract for state printing. The Board of Regents policy manual states “The University System shall utilize the sources of the central purchasing agency for the State of Georgia rather than establish a separate control purchasing office.” The Board further “directs that each of its operating units comply with the various statutes, rules and regulations governing purchases with state appropriated funds. In addition, the same regulation shall apply to purchases from funds to which the University System has title.” DOAS State Purchasing Division (SPD) has delegated general purchase authority to the Procurement and Contract Services Department at Georgia Southern University. The Purchasing Department is established to manage the procurement of supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services for the University. It has the responsibility for preparing, negotiating, executing, awarding and administering all contracts other than some personal service and all Public Works contracts. Further, it serves to coordinate the University’s procurement activity with appropriate State agencies. In addition to state statutes, the University adheres to policies established by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the University and recommendations furnished by the state and internal auditors.Specific service goals of the department are to define economies, assist in the planning of purchases, develop standard specifications and reduce administrative costs and inventories.
Authority for Approval of Purchases
The University budget establishes funds to be used for certain purposes under the authority of the designated budget head that has the primary responsibility for approval of all purchases charged against their accounts. The budget head may delegate this authority to other persons by completing an Alternate Approver Authorization Form and submitting the form to Financial Accounting.
Timeliness of Purchase and Lead Times
The Purchasing Department is committed to completing University departmental purchases in a timely manner. Many factors determine the time to complete a purchase including, but not limited to: state procurement regulations, buyer workload, commodity purchased, availability of funds, vendors, time of year and other contract considerations. The following lead times (from receipt of requisition with all necessary signatures and approvals to issuance of purchase order) are considered to be necessary to ensure that procurements can be completed correctly and within established regulations:
a. Bids (RFQ’s and purchases $25,000 and greater,
not otherwise exempted, and Sole Brand) 30 – 60 days
b. Sole Source (determined by dollar amount) 10 – 25 days
c. Open Market purchases ($24,999.99 and less) 7 – 15 days
d. Contract Releases (purchased against state or agency contracts) 7 – 15 days
e. Requests for Proposal (RFP’s) 90 – 180 days
Authority to Commit University Funds
The authority to commit University funds for supplies, materials, equipment and certain contractual services has been delegated to the Procurement and Contract Services Department within limits established by the Department of Administrative Services, State Purchasing Division. This policy of purchasing centralization provides for economies and efficiencies.
University departments are currently delegated authority up to $4,999.99 per transaction. Exception is catalog purchases from the Georgia First Marketplace using eProcurement where the limit is $24,999.99. Purchases must comply with other regulations as indicated elsewhere within this document. Departments may not “split” purchases to avoid this transaction limit. Purchases by departments which do not conform to regulations and policy may be determined to be “nonconforming purchases”. When such a purchase is detected, the appropriate Department Head shall be notified in writing and an explanation requested as to the circumstances surrounding the situation. A final determination shall be made by the Director of Procurement and Contract Services.
Relationships between Procurement and Contract Services and other departments
The Department of Procurement and Contract Services is a service unit, and in order to be of the most benefit to the University, is largely dependent upon the cooperation and assistance of all University units, offices and departments. In order to define the relationship between the Department of Procurement and Contract Services and other University units, offices and departments as definitely as possible, the following governing practices are set forth:
- Only Procurement and Contract Services can formally solicit quotations from vendors. Departments are to contact vendors for informal quotations or budget pricing. All vendor pricing obtained should be submitted to Procurement and Contract Services when submitting a requisition.
- The Procurement and Contract Services Department will conduct all correspondence with the State Purchasing Division (SPD).
- All formal correspondence with vendors should be either handled through or pre-approved by the Procurement and Contract Services Department. Formal communications is defined as those which obligate either the vendor or the University to specific contractual actions. This is particularly true once a solicitation to bid is in process. Again, departments are encouraged to seek technical advice and product availability information directly from vendors.
- The degree of success that Procurement and Contract Services Department has is dependent upon receiving timely information from departments concerning upcoming events and requirements. This allows us to be proactive versus reactive. We encourage departments to:
- E-mail or telephone us advising of upcoming projects or needs
- Seek our participation in meeting with vendors
- The University seeks to deal fairly, consistently and openly with all vendors in the spirit of cooperation. There are situations, however, where the bargaining position of the University could be compromised when vendors receive information regarding orders, prices or future plans. Departments should refrain from revealing information not absolutely necessary, or defer the vendor to the Purchasing office.
- Contact the Purchasing Department when solicited by a vendor offering a suspicious “good deal”. This office is in contact with other Purchasing offices throughout the country and often has knowledge of scams in progress.
- Departments contemplating accepting equipment on a “trial, loan or demo” basis should contact Procurement and Contract Services first. Vendors, and sometimes departments, may need to be made aware of certain risks or obligations especially with regards to risk management and liability issues.
- Relationships with vendors should be kept on a business like basis. Refrain from accepting any gifts and especially those of greater than nominal value.
- Keep the Purchasing Department notified of pertinent information relayed by vendors such as potential or actual price increases, new products etc. This is especially true if the vendor indicates a price change during the term of a contract.
- Departments are required to follow the University Policy for Negotiation and Execution of Contracts, which clearly defines who is authorized to sign agreements and/or contracts. Agreements and/or contracts signed by personnel without contracting authority are illegal contracts and the person signing may assume personal liability.
- In order to establish and administer a contract, it requires a joint effort between Purchasing and the user department(s). Close coordination and communication is the key.
Under competitive Request for Quotes (bids), the award will be made to the responsible vendor offering the lowest price for materials or services meeting the required specifications. Quality and service standards in specifications must, therefore, be adequately defined. Under a Request for Proposal (RFP) grades are assigned separately for Technical and Cost with the award going to the vendor with the highest total grade.
Five primary methods used to obtain goods and services, listed in order of preference are:
- **eProcurement – Marketplace
- *Purchasing card
- eProcurement – Special Request
- purchase orders
- *petty cash (administered by Accounts Payable)
* denotes purchasing methods delegated to departments at established levels.
** eProcurement should be used in lieu of the purchasing card when available on Marketplace.
The general dollar value limits listed below are either delegated by DOAS, BOR or established by University policy:
$1,000 or less Limit for use of Petty Cash (minimum reimbursement of $50)
$3,000 or greater Level for taggable equipment (plus weapons)
$4,999.99 or less Limit for departmental purchases and P-Card limits
$5,000 and greater Capitalized assets (depreciable assets)
$25,000 and greater Level requiring competitive solicitation
Mandatory Sources of Supply
The State of Georgia and DOAS have established a number of mandatory sources of supply. These include: DOAS Statewide Contracts, Georgia Correctional Industries, and other Sheltered Workshops. The Procurement and Contract Services web page offers links to DOAS State Purchasing and other related sites. Statewide contracts can be accessed through the Georgia First Marketplace (SciQuest) using ePro. These commodities are subject to change. For further information, call the Purchasing Department. The University also maintains Agency contracts which are unique to Georgia Southern University. Examples include Uniform Rentals, Security Services, Bus Charter, Linen Rentals, and T-shirt Purchases. The Order of Precedence in sourcing supply is: Statewide Contracts, Existing Agency Contracts, Georgia Correctional Industries and Georgia Enterprises for Products and Services and then Open Market. Open market purchases should only be made where the desired good or service is not carried under a contract indicated above. This Order of Precedence applies to departmental purchases (Procurement Card) as well as those submitted through Procurement and Contract Services.
The Procurement and Contract Services Department is responsible for administering the many statewide contracts issued by DOAS and used by the University. Many of these contracts are mandatory sources of supply and must be used before soliciting other vendors. Additionally, depending upon need, the Procurement and Contract Services Department will enter into contracts with vendors for repetitive items and/or services in support of the campus department’s mission (Agency Contracts). The use of supply contracts and blanket orders usually improve the University’s position with regards to price and delivery and are encouraged whenever feasible. Departments having repetitive needs for certain commodities are encouraged to contact Purchasing regarding the possibility of establishing an annual contract.
Georgia Southern University, as a unit of the State of Georgia, is exempt from payment of Georgia Sales and Use Tax and most Federal Excise taxes. Student and Athletic funds are also exempt. Generally, the only State taxes paid by the University are the Georgia Motor Fuel Tax and the scrap tire tax. Generally, the University is not liable to pay state sales taxes of other states if the transaction is consummated in the State of Georgia. A tax exempt form may be obtained from the Purchasing Office.
Purchases for the personal use of employees
It is unlawful (Georgia Code 50-5-80) for the University to make purchases for the personal use of its employees. The Board of Regents manual further states that“employees of the University System shall not purchase goods or services through channels used in the purchase of goods and services for the operation of the University System.”Some items, the nature of which indicates that their end-use is more personal than official are prohibited from purchase without prior approval of the Procurement and Contract Services Department. These items include but are not necessarily limited to: holiday decorations, cut flowers, coffee makers, entertainment and/or refreshments, portable table radios, watches, ground-breaking shovels and other items to be granted as a donation or gratuity in favor of a person, corporation or association, employment agency placement fees, greeting cards, trophies and other awards and shoes.If a department routinely buys items listed above (for example: Catering buying flowers for official functions), then it should submit an exemption request via memo to the Purchasing Office. We will respond in writing keeping a copy of your request on file for audit purposes.
Purchases using Contracts, Grants or Gifts
Purchases using funds derived from contracts, grants or gifts are subject to State of Georgia regulations, Board of Regents and University policies and will be expended in the same manner as University funds. All requisitions citing these funds must be approved by the Office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs (ORSSP) and/or Research Accounting Office prior to receipt by the Purchasing Department.
Defined as a purchase urgently needed arising from unforeseen causes, including, but not limited to, extreme weather conditions, official declared emergencies, and due to the urgency of the circumstances, such as the immediate welfare of the general public. Poor planning or the pending expiration of funds does not constitute a valid justification for an emergency purchase.
- A system or piece of equipment ceases to functions or malfunctions to the extent that it ceases the normal activity of the University Mission.
- Circumstances resulting in an extremely detrimental effect on the operation of the University.
- Any situation in which inaction may seriously endanger the safety of any person and where direct action will alleviate the situation.
Should an emergency arise during normal working hours, contact the Purchasing Department by phone as soon as possible. A member of the staff will review the situation with you and make a decision on the appropriate course of action. Purchasing is required to report to DOAS all emergency purchases so it is imperative that this office be notified immediately.
Should an emergency take place after hours, weekends and/or holidays, the department should make the purchase or acquire the services. If necessary, the department can furnish the vendor with their VISA card number or advise the vendor that Purchasing will contact them the next work day with either a purchase order number or a VISA card number. Departments must contact the Purchasing Department on the next working day. Proper follow up action will be discussed and taken at that time.
Sole Source/Sole Brand Procurements
Two of the more scrutinized procurement tools during a purchasing audit are the use of sole source and sole brand procurements. Both of these are heavily regulated by the state and require certain minimum justifications as indicated below.
Sole source simply means justifying that only one company can provide the good or service that is being requested. Justifications must address the following:
1 Information to establish the context of the sole source (i.e. the item’s function, how it is to be used, operational environment and/or previous experience or history)
2 Identify efforts to locate other possible sources. This includes department searches as well as purchasing attempting to find other sources.
3 Provide proposed suppliers unique/exclusive capabilities making them the only company/person who can complete the task. Some examples include:
- Exclusive source can furnish services because of its previous experience with the University and hiring another source would result in excessive cost to the University. The excessive cost must be quantified. Simply stating that a vendor “did a good job before” is not justification for sole source.
- Exclusive source has unique technical competence or expertise. Explain.
- Exclusive source possesses patents or other exclusive rights to the item being furnished. Provide documentation.
Sole source may not be used as an attempt to contract with a favored service provider or a favored product (see Sole Brand). This is perhaps the largest abuse of sole source in purchasing and carefully scrutinized by the audit staff.
Effective 2012 all Sole Source procurements up to $249,999.99 must be posted on the Georgia Bid Registry for a minimum of five business days before an award may be made. Sole Source procurements $250,000 or greater must be posted for a minimum of fifteen (15) calendar days. If a legitimate challenge is made to the Sole Source then a competitive bid must be prepared and the competitive process followed.
Sole Brand is a competitive solicitation in which it has been determined that only one brand will fill the requirement. A common justification for sole brand involves “standardization” meaning the item must match existing items. For example: uniforms or scientific lab equipment where training, spare parts and maintenance are issues involving which brand to buy and reduced costs to the University.
Departments desiring to purchase an item or services under sole source and/or sole brand justifications must complete the sole source and/or sole brand form found in the forms gallery on our web page. A member of the purchasing staff will review it to ensure all the above minimum requirements are met. If not, it will be returned to the department. If additional sources or brands meeting specifications are found, purchasing will issue the solicitation as a competitive bid.
Department Heads are responsible for ensuring their departments maintain their own files relating to purchases. These files must include a copy of the requisition, a copy of the resulting purchase order or contract and any pertinent or significant correspondence. Upon receipt of an issued purchase order from the Purchasing office, departments should compare this to their requisition to ensure that the purchase order matches what they intended to order. Discrepancies should be brought the attention of the Purchasing office immediately.
Senate Bill 160 amends O.C.G.A. 13-10-90 relating to definitions and O.C.G.A. 13-10-91 relating to verification. These changes require that State and Federal Government Entities obtain a signed and notarized Contractor Affidavit providing the Federal Work Authorization User Identification Number, from all vendors who will provide a physical performance of service(s) to the Entity of $2,500.00 per occurrence or greater.
E-Verify identification numbers can be obtained at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department of Homeland Security website, www.uscis.gov and required forms, on the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA) website http://www.audits.ga.gov/NALGAD/section_3_affidavits.html
Last updated: 1/31/2014