Under the authority delegated by the State of North Carolina and the Administration
Carolina University, the University Purchasing Department has the exclusive responsibility for
making all purchase contracts entered into for the University, except for University Bookstore
purchases for resale, the purchase of University Library holdings, and authorized capital
Improvements Project purchases which are made by their respective managers. The Director of
Purchasing and Departmental Purchasing Agents are the only individuals in the Purchasing
Department authorized to make purchasing commitments for the University.
The University operates on the principle of budgetary allotments to the various agencies,
and departments. An accountable officer is responsible for expenditures for the allotment.
The authority to charge purchases against the allotted budgets for materials and services is
furnished to the Purchasing Department by the signature of the accountable officer on a purchase
requisition, or their electronic approval for on-line requisitions.
Purchases made by the University, irrespective of the source of funds (grants, contracts,
receipts, etc.), must comply with the policies and procedures contained within this manual.
All requests for materials and services from commercial vendors or individuals must be submitted to the Purchasing Department electronically through the CataMart eProcurement System. The purchase requisition will be processed resulting in the issuance of a purchase order.
Standing Purchase Orders
Standing purchase orders may be issued for a recurring need for miscellaneous supplies of a minor nature, which are not available under existing contracts. The purchase order shall not exceed $5,000 or three months in duration without approval from the Director of Procurement & AP Services.
State Purchase Contracts
Western Carolina University is required to purchase needed items provided by North Carolina State Contract from the contracting vendors. It is not permissible to purchase items similar to those on contract and designed to perform the same function from a non-contract source unless the purchase price is less than the term contract price. Documentation of the state contract price must be attached to the purchasing file copy of the purchase order.
The Purchasing Department will provide detailed information about the many contract items to any department upon request.
Gasoline and Service Credit Cards
Gasoline credit cards for commercial operated facilities through the University Gas Fleet Card Program and State operated facilities may be obtained for use with University owned vehicles by a University department. The Physical Plant provides credit cards for those vehicles assigned to Western Carolina University through Central Motor Pool. It is not permissible for Gas Fleet cards to be used for any service other than those associated with the operation of State owned vehicles. Gas Fleet cards are not to be used when the necessary services are available from State or University operated facilities. Policies and procedures applicable to purchasing gasoline for use in State vehicles are available from the University Motor Pool.
Purchase of Personal Computer Equipment and Software
Compliance with University Policy #67 is required for the purchase of computer equipment and software.
Purchase of Used Equipment
When a department has special need for a particular item of used equipment, the proposed purchase should be discussed with the Director of Procurement & AP Services and the request submitted from on-line requisition. This requisition will be processed in the same manner as a request for a new item (see Policy: Solicitation of Bids and Quotations). A new equipment warranty should be required on all used equipment purchased except those items purchased from State or Federal Surplus Property. When a used item is available on short notice and subject to prior sale, a waiver of competitive bidding may be requested.
Policy on Printing and Copying
University Policy #40 on Printing and Copying must be complied with when acquiring printing, copying and copiers. Printing which falls outside the limits of the Print Shop shall be ordered following normal purchasing procedures.
Purchases from University Book & Supply Store and Print Shop
It is not permissible to routinely purchase office and administrative supplies, or to purchase items available on State Contract from the University Bookstore. All purchases of supplies from the the University Book & Supply Store and the Print Shop must be submitted directly to the appropriate department. The Purchasing Department does not process these requisitions.
Purchases Disallowed from State Appropriated Funds
Purchase of Refreshments, Sundries, Etc.
Refreshments (coffee, donuts, drinks, etc.) may not be purchased with State appropriated funds except when purchased for breaks related to internal or external conferences. Such purchases are subject to cost limits as described in University Travel procedures, Section 10 (please visit the Controller's Office for details). Such purchases may be allowed, however, against certain grants, contract or trust funds, or discretionary accounts, providing the funding agency will not disallow the expenditure.
Purchase of Personal Convenience Items
The purchase of personal convenience items may not be made with State appropriated funds. Purchases may only be made against trust funds. Listed below are items normally considered in this category. Should you have questions concerning any item not listed, contact the Purchasing Department.
Purchase of Alcoholic Beverages
The purchase of alcoholic beverages may not be made with State appropriated funds or University Trust Funds. Purchases of alcoholic beverages may be made from Development Account number 997XXX if approved by the Vice Chancellor for Advancement and External Affairs. All other purchase requests must be submitted to the Chancellor's Office for consideration.
Use of State Purchasing Power for Private Gain
The purchasing power of the State (University) is not to be used for private advantage or gain. Purchases under contracts made by the State are not to be allowed for personal use out of private funds nor are agencies or institutions to place orders for articles for ownership by employees or other individuals.
Purchases from or through State Employees
Every reasonable effort is made to avoid making purchases from or through employees of State government or any of its agencies or of public school administrative units. Any instances which may develop of doing business with such personnel require prior approval through the Division of Purchase and Contract. A request should be submitted to the University Purchasing Department who will determine if a request for approval should be made to the Purchase and Contract Division.
Lease vs. Purchase of Equipment
The State/University does not generally lease or rent equipment, although there is no specific rule prohibiting this practice. If equipment is to be required on a continuing basis, it is generally more economical to purchase it.
It may be desirable to rent equipment for a specific requirement of short duration. Rental agreements are similar to lease agreements, except that rental agreements are normally for an indefinite period and can be terminated by the rentee after giving notice, usually thirty days, in advance. The initial cost of some equipment is so great and/or the technology is so rapidly changing; it may be more economical to rent or lease the equipment.
When the cost of a piece of equipment exceeds $25,000 and the useful life expectancy is less than five years, a lease/rental versus purchase evaluation should be made. Request for bids/quotations should include both options unless acceptable justification is provided on why this is not feasible.
Solicitation of Bids and Quotations
The Statutes of the State of North Carolina and University Purchasing Procedures require competition for all purchases by State agencies exceeding $5,000, except as may be provided otherwise by statute or term contracts. Where it is not sought or obtained, the reason must be valid and documented.
A purchase requisition must be submitted before formal bids or quotations will be solicited by the University Purchasing Department.
Return of Merchandise to Off-Campus Vendors
Return of merchandise ordered from off-campus vendors is the responsibility of the ordering department. The supplying vendor and University Purchasing Department shall be contacted prior to shipment of merchandise being returned to an off-campus vendor by a
department for any reason.
Solicitation by Sales Representatives
Sales representatives are encouraged to visit departments to keep the departments informed of new items being introduced and to assist departments by providing information on various aspects of their products and services. Receipt of equipment and products for demonstration purposes is permissible provided no obligation is made to the vendor to purchase these items. It is not permissible for a department to receive materials on consignment, pending issuance of a confirming purchase order.
Complaint to Vendor
When notified by the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract or Federal Government that a vendor has be debarred from doing business with that government entity, WCU Purchasing Agents are notified by the Director of Purchasing and purchases
from these vendors are suspended until notified that the debarment has been rescinded.
Historically Underutilized Business Utilization Policy
Western Carolina University has with intent practiced non-discrimination and promoted patronization of historically underutilized businesses in its procurement process. The University has a commitment to continue this practice and to enhance opportunities for HUB vendors to do business with the University in accordance with Executive Order No. 77.
Evidence of the University's commitment to do business with HUB vendors is reflected in the participation of these vendors in University purchases. The University has actively developed a HUB vendor file and includes these vendors in bid requests when qualified. HUB vendors on State term contracts are used when they are the sole contract vendor, or in the case of multiple vendors, they offer equal or greater benefit to the University than other contract vendors. All new vendors are mailed vendor registration forms, which ask them to designate if they are a HUB business. Those who respond affirmatively are added to the HUB vendor file.
Because of the demographics of the area, local HUB businesses available for utilization by Western Carolina University are limited. The Purchasing Department will seek to identify and patronize HUB vendors locally and those outside the immediate area.
The University will seek additional HUB vendors from the following sources:
It is the intent of Western Carolina University and the University Purchasing Department
to continue to increase the percentage of HUB vendors in our vendor file and to maintain
a commitment to their utilization. University departmental personnel will be made
aware of this
commitment and the importance of using HUB businesses by including this emphasis as an important part of periodic purchasing seminars and workshops held throughout campus. The Director of Purchasing is the University coordinator responsible for the HUB Utilization Plan.
University Term Contracts
When the frequency of order and volume of purchases of the same or similar items reach a level at which it may be beneficial to the University to establish a term contract, a contract should be established through the bid process. University purchasing agents will monitor their assigned commodities to identify items for which term contracts may be appropriate.
The University shall acquire consultant services only after it is determined that the function for which the consultant is retained cannot be reasonably accomplished by employees of the University; that the use of a consultant is reasonably necessary to the proper operation of the University; that the estimated cost is reasonable as compared with the likely benefits or results; that the funds are available for the contract; and that the contract is in the best interest of the University and the State.
Services of a consultant shall mean work or task(s) performed by State employees or independent contractors possessing specialized knowledge, experience, expertise, and professional qualifications to investigate assigned problems or projects and to provide counsel, review, analysis, or advice in formulating or implementing improvements in programs or services. This includes, but is not limited to, the organization, planning, directing, control, evaluation and operations of a program, agency or department.
Requirements for retaining a consultant are:
1) Authorized pre-bid approval of consulting contracts by the Chancellor or the Chancellor's designees if a consulting contract is less than or equal to a campus' delegated purchasing authority and determined to be in the best interest of the University.
2) Authorized pre-bid approval of consulting contracts by the University of North Carolina General Administration's (UNC GA), Chief Operating Officer (COO) if a consulting contract is above a campus' delegated purchasing authority. In order to obtain approval, a campus must submit an email to the UNC GA Chief Operating Officer with the following information:
a) What services the campus desires to secure
b) What benefits the campus/department expects to receive from the consultant service
c) What the campus estimates the cost of the service to be
d) What sources the campus has identified
When the consulting service has been approved by the COO, an approval will be emailed to the appropriate campus contact and the campus can then prepare and issue the solicitation document for the needed consulting service.
3) UNC campus contracts for consulting services must be consistent with all procurement policies and procedures adopted by a campus including policies and procedures for personal and professional services, competitive bidding and sole-source justifications.
4) All professional service consulting contracts for the fiscal year, whether above or below a UNC Campus' delegated purchasing authority, must be reported to the UNC GA Procurement Director by August 31st of the following fiscal year. A Consultant Log has been created for each campus to fill in their consulting services contracts for each fiscal year.
5) Once the UNC GA Procurement Director has received each campus' Consultant Log, they will forward to the UNC GA Chief Operating Officer for final review and record keeping purposes.
6) Consulting contracts for instructional services, curriculum development and conducting academically-oriented research will remain exempt from the State Consulting Act and are exempt from being reported to the UNC GA Procurement Director and the UNC GA Chief Operating Officer.
1. Prior to securing the services of a consultant, the department shall submit to the Director of Procurement & AP Services written justification for its request for consultant services. This written justification shall explain what services the department desires to secure; how the work to be performed relates to the proper function of the department; what benefits the department expects to receive from the consultant's services; what the department estimates to be the cost of the services sought; what potential sources of consultant services, if any, the department has identified; and such additional information as may be required. The request and justification must be approved by the appropriate Dean and/or Vice Chancellor and a letter of endorsement obtained from the Chancellor.
2. Consultant services shall be obtained from other State agencies when the services available from other State agencies substantially meet the reasonable specifications of the requesting department. If the department is requesting authority to contract for consulting services outside of State government, the justification shall also detail what potential sources of those services exist within State government and explain why the desired services were not available from those sources.
3. The documents submitted by the department requesting authority to retain consultants will be reviewed by the Director of Procurement & AP Services and, upon approval, forwarded to the Chancellor for review and approval.
4. If the consulting contract is anticipated to exceed the University's delegated authority, $250,000, a request must also be submitted to the UNC GA Chief Operating Officer to obtain approval.
5. Once the University receives approval to solicit proposals for consultant services, the requesting department/Purchasing Office shall:
Prepare a request for proposals (RFP) to disseminate among prospective service providers. Post all RFP's estimated to exceed $10,000 to the Division of Purchase and Contract's Interactive Purchasing System (IPS). Publicly open all proposals received at a date and time set in the request for proposals. Review all proposals received on the basis of evaluation criteria significantly related to the function to be performed and equally applied to all proposals received. Award the contract to the lowest cost proposal best meeting the requirements of the RFP.
6. All contracts for consultant services shall be in writing and in a format approved by the State Division of Purchase and Contract. The contracts must be approved by Legal Counsel and signed by the Chancellor.
Any consultant contract executed without the approvals as specified above shall be void and no State funds shall be expended pursuant to any such contract. Any employee or official of the State of North Carolina who executes a University consultant contract without these approvals shall be liable to repay any amount expended pursuant to such contract plus court costs.
It is the general policy of the University to acquire contractual services by seeking competition. The final decision-making authority in regard to any phase of procurement or performance of any contractual service is the University Chancellor.
A department of the University shall seek to obtain a contractual service only after the following determinations have been made: that funds are available to cover the total cost of the service; that the desired level of quality of the service is adequate and reasonable for the purpose intended; that all rules, regulations and procedures referred to herein have been or will be complied with; and that obtaining the service is in the best interest of the University and the State.
Contractual services shall mean work performed by an independent contractor requiring specialized knowledge, experience, expertise or similar capabilities wherein the service rendered does not consist primarily of acquisition by the State of equipment or materials. For the purpose of clarification, equipment service contracts are contractual services and subject to the rules and regulations herein.
For all contractual service contracts over $5,000, unless an emergency or pressing need exists, the University shall comply with the following:
1. The department shall prepare a task description of the services and desired results. For statewide or multi-agency term contracts, The Division of Purchase and Contract (P&C) will establish the task description of services and desired results. Task descriptions shall contain all of the following:
The date(s) of service (the contract shall not be for more than three (3) years including extensions and renewals, without the prior approval of the Director of Procurement and AP Services.); detailed specifications or type and level of work required; what the University will furnish; what the Contractor will furnish; the method, schedule, and procedures for billing and payments; other terms and conditions, specifications or procedures bearing on the conduct of the work.
2. Upon completion of the task description and desired results, competition shall be solicited, where available, for expenditures over $5,000. If over $5,000, the University must solicit competition by issuing a written Request for Proposal (RFP), which shall contain the task description and desired results, and specify or provide for all of the following:
Provide for the laws of North Carolina to govern the contract; the contract shall be cancelable upon a specified written notice at any time by the State for unsatisfactory performance or for the convenience of the State; provide for the option to require a performance bond or other suitable means of ensuing faithful performance when deemed by the State to be necessary; the contract must be in compliance with State and Federal antitrust laws; the contractor shall furnish all workers' compensation, liability insurance, and other insurance as may be required to protect themself and the State from claims which may arise; provide for a payment schedule; provide for price adjustments provisions, if any; identify the agency liaison personnel and any other agency resources that will be available to the contractor; provide the criteria for evaluation; request a description of the offeror's qualifications and references; have the cost of the service broken down by components; and have the offeror identify the proposed methodology for accomplishing the work (if not furnished in the RFP).
3. Request for Proposals $10,000 or greater must be posted to the IPS.
4. After opening, and completion of the evaluation, the University shall prepare a written recommendation for award, and if over the established benchmark of $250,000, shall submit a copy of all offers received and their recommendation to P&C for approval of contract and award, or other action deemed necessary by the SPO (Examples: cancellation, negotiation, etc.). Notice of the decision by P&C shall be sent to the agency.
5. All contracts for services shall be in writing and in a format approved by the State Division of Purchase and Contract. The contracts must be approved by Legal Counsel and signed by the Chancellor unless authority is delegated elsewhere. Contracts for servicing equipment may be executed by the University Purchasing Office. All other delegations of authority will be made in writing from the Chancellor. The following types of services shall be exempt from adherence to procedures for securing contractual services:
Services provided by individuals by direct employment contracts with the State; public utility services (gas, water, and electricity), telephone, telegraph and cable services furnished by utility companies; services provided which are subject to published tariff rates as established by the Interstate Commerce Commission; services which are merely incidental to the purchase of supplies, materials or equipment; contracts for construction of and structural changes to public buildings; personal services provided by doctors, dentists, attorneys, architects, professional engineers, scientists or performers of the fine arts or similar professions (A personal service shall be interpreted to be the occasional or temporary use of an individual's professional skills to perform a professional task); services provided directly by an agency of the State, Federal or Local Government, or their employees when performing the service as a part of their normal governmental function; and any other service designated to be exempt by the State Purchasing Officer, or his authorized representative.
Service/Repair of University Equipment
Obtaining service for University equipment is the responsibility of the department to whom the equipment is assigned. The department should determine if the equipment is in warranty, on a service or maintenance contract, or out-of-warranty. Obtaining service and submitting an invoice for payment on a confirming requisition is not permitted.
When it is determined that service is required on equipment, which is under warranty, the department with the equipment should call the manufacturer to obtain the service. When service is required on equipment, which is under a service, or maintenance contract, the department with the equipment should call contract vendor to obtain the service. When service is required on equipment, which is not under warranty or a service contract, a purchase requisition must be submitted and a purchase order must be issued to obtain the service. Documentation of the nature of all services performed should be maintained by the department possessing the equipment.
Sole Source/Waiver of Competition Purchases
When the purchase of highly technical/unique items or services indicate there may be only one known source or brand specific item that will satisfy the requirement and the purchase exceeds the bid threshold ($5000), documentation must be provided justifying the purchase without competitive bidding. The Director of Procurement & AP Services must approve these purchases. Please note that "cost" or "urgency" is not a valid sole source justification.
Requisitions for sole source/waiver of competition purchases should be submitted to the Purchasing Office.
A justification memo for the purchase must accompany the requisition providing the following information:
Sole Source Request Form (Word)
- Name and address of the suggested supplier
- Technical specifications or qualifications which make the vendor unique
- Names and addresses of other vendors, which provide similar items or services, and details of the ways they fail to meet requirements.
- Any other information which supports the uniqueness of the requested item(s) or services.
Copies of all correspondence including any vendor quotations received in the selection of the special purchase should accompany the requisition and memo.
If the request is over $250,000 in cost, the request will be forwarded to the State Purchase and Contract Division for processing. If the State Purchase and Contract Division concurs with the justification for the waiver, the request will be
presented to the State Board of Award for approval as a sole source/waiver of competition.
If $250,000 or less, the requisition and justification must be approved by the Director of Procurement & AP Services.
All documentation for the sole source/waiver of competition purchase will be attached to the purchase order in the eProcurement System (CataMart).
The University is delegated the authority to make emergency purchases $250,000 or less without following the prescribed procedure for routine purchases. Emergency purchases exceeding the threshold for which competition is required and for which bids will not be obtained must be approved by the Director of Procurement & AP Services or Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance. Emergency purchases greater than $250,000.00 must be approved, by telephone, by the State Purchase and Contract Division, if time permits, before the purchases are made or reported as a matter of record if time does not permit. Emergencies are defined as: "Situations, which endanger lives, property, or the continuation of vital programs and require immediate, on-the-spot purchases of equipment, materials, supplies or services."
Requisitions for emergency requests for purchases should be submitted by entering a requisition in CataMart with a justification for the emergency purchase and the Purchasing Office notified by telephone.
The Purchasing Office will solicit quotations by telephone or fax machine, if necessary; obtain approval of the State Purchase and Contract Division, if required and time permits; and place the order.
The Purchasing Office may assign a purchase order number, if necessary, to the transaction and authorize the requesting department to place the order by telephone.
If the emergency occurs outside of normal business hours, the Director of Procurement & AP Services or one of the Purchasing Agents should be contacted for assistance. If they are unavailable, the purchase may be made, and must be fully documented and forwarded to the Director of Procurement & AP Services for review the next working day.
Purchases made on an emergency basis outside of competitive/State Term contract guidelines will be reviewed for approval by the Director of Procurement & AP Services or Associate Vice Chancellor for Financial Services and all documentation maintained in the Purchasing Office.
Delivery Within Fiscal Year Purchase Made
The statues of North Carolina require that unexpended appropriated funds be reverted to the State at the end of the fiscal year unless special permission is given by the State Budget Division to carry them forward to the next fiscal year. University policy requires delivery to be made before payment can be made for the goods or services.
Since delivery on many equipment items may require as much as six months or more, orders, particularly for equipment, must be placed as early in the year as it is possible to anticipate the need. This does not preclude placing purchase orders late in the fiscal year, but if delivery cannot be made before June 30, payment will be made from the next fiscal year's budget. Orders cannot be placed contingent upon receipt of the goods prior to the end of the fiscal year.
Departments anticipating the need for supplies or equipment to be delivered after July 1 and charged against the next year's budgeted funds may process purchase requests prior to June 30 provided that the requests carry the following statement:
FOR DELIVERY WITHIN NEXT FISCAL YEAR
"TO BE PAID FROM 20__ - __ FUNDS"
The purchase request will be encumbered against next year's funds immediately after July 1.