Procurement Policies and Procedures
Authority For Procurement
Iona University's Department of Business Services operates within the division of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. Within Business Services, the purchasing function has the responsibility for all procurement negotiations and the administration of procurement policies and procedures as delegated by the President of the University.
Responsibility and Objectives
The Business Services Department is responsible for the organization and administration of the purchasing function for all departments of the University, with the exception of Facilities Management, Information Technology, Athletics and the Iona University Libraries. In performing these services in accordance with sound and prudent business practices, the Business Services Department seeks to realize for the University the maximum value for every dollar expended. The Business Services Department, in its aim to achieve this goal and governed by policies delegated by the President, is responsible for the following:
- Obtaining competitive bids and selecting vendors.
- Maintaining liaisons with vendors that service the University.
- Coordinating the procurement of goods and services for the academic and administrative departments of the University.
- Developing sources of supply to assure that Business Services has an adequate number of qualified vendors from whom to obtain supplies, services and equipment.
- Developing and implementing standards that permit the cost-effective purchase of materials and supplies while contributing to furthering an integrated image for the University.
In accordance with the authority delegated to the Purchasing Coordinator by the Director of Business Services, all purchases, regardless of source of funds, will be governed by the following policies: The mission of the Business Services Department at Iona University is to achieve the best possible balance between minimizing the cost of expenditures for goods and services while insuring reasonable response and flexibility from vendors. It is the policy to obtain all supplies, equipment and services at a cost that provides the best value to the University, consistent with quantity, quality and availability of the items at the time of purchase. In conforming to this policy, the cost of the purchase and the delivery time required by the using department will be considered. Competitive bids will be solicited whenever practical. Purchases made that are not made in accordance with the procedures set out in this manual require the approval of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.
Gifts and Gratuities
It is the policy of the Business Services Department as well as other related personnel of Iona University to decline personal gifts or gratuities in connection with the purchasing function. The staff of the Business Services Department may not accept personal gifts or gratuities from any current or potential supplier of goods or services to the University without approval from the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration or the President.
Conflict of Interest
Iona University does not enter into purchasing/leasing contracts with students, faculty, staff, board members, parents or members of their immediate families without the approval of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration or the President. Acquisitions from a business in which an employee of Iona University has an interest are prohibited. Interest is deemed present if the employee and/or their spouse or dependent minor children own ten percent or more of the assets of a business.
All funds deposited with Iona University, regardless of source, are College funds and must be handled in accordance with College policy. Although departments are allocated funds in their budgets for a given period, this allocation is only an authority to requisition, not to purchase.
The Budget Director, in the Office of the Senior V.P. for Finance and Administration, assigns a four-digit cost center to each department. All purchase requisitions must carry the complete number of the cost center to be charged.
Account Element Codes
Along with the cost center code, the Budget Director also assigns account element codes. These codes designate the proper budget line for each purchase. The account element code for all requests must be included on your purchase requisition to ensure prompt and accurate processing.
Approval Levels for Purchases
In order to maintain the integrity of the budgetary process and effectively monitor cash flow, the following approval levels are required for Purchase Requisitions:
- All purchase requests must be approved by a member of the President's Cabinet. Cabinet members may delegate approval power up to $10,000. Once a year, the Finance Department will forward Cost Center Signature Authorization Worksheets to each Cabinet Member. The sheets contain information on all Cost Centers under the Cabinet Member's responsibility. The Cabinet Member may use these worksheets to delegate purchasing authority for the cost center up to a particular dollar level to an Office Manager or Department Head. Copies of these worksheets are used by Business Services, the Purchasing Coordinator, Accounts Payable and PC Acquisitions.
- All purchases over $25,000 require the approval of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.
- All purchases over $500,000 require the approval of the President.
Requisition to Purchase (Non-Office Supply Requests)
Only persons designated as having authority for departmental budgets are authorized to issue requisitions. Purchases by individuals or departments made in a manner not in accordance with the procedures set out in this manual (ex. request for reimbursement for an unauthorized credit card expense) require the approval of the Senior V. P. for Finance and Administration.
For proper control the requisitioning function should, wherever possible, reside with one person in a department. The prompt processing of all work, however, remains the responsibility of the department chairperson or office director.
Please note, in certain instances, if a request is made by the department chairperson/head, the requisition may require the counter-signature of the Divisional Vice President. Business Services may not issue a purchase order number until all necessary signatures have been obtained. It is the requisitioning Department's responsibility to obtain the appropriate approval signatures. Incomplete or erroneous requisitions will be returned to the initiating department for correction.
Requests for outside purchases, regardless of the source of funds, must be processed through Business Services using the appropriate purchase requisition / order form. Departments submitting a requisition are required to adhere to the following guidelines:
Office Supply Purchases
WB Mason is the current preferred office supply vendor for Iona University. There are over 100 frequently purchased supplies, ranging from printer cartridges and toners to paper clips, for which the College has special negotiated pricing. Orders for office supplies are placed on-line, via the wbmason.com website, by individual Departments and are electronically approved by Department Heads, Deans and Vice Presidents prior to reaching Business Services.
Once received by Business Services, the order is reviewed a final time prior to submission to WB Mason. WB Mason provides next day desk-top delivery service, but the College limits deliveries to Tuesday through Thursday.
Each Department may assign responsibility for placing departmental orders to one or more individuals. The Purchasing Coordinator works with WB Mason and the designee to set-up a departmental account with the proper approval levels.
Business Services periodically monitors pricing from competitive office supply vendors to make certain that Iona's negotiated pricing remains beneficial to the College. As a rule, the Purchasing Coordinator solicits quotes for any one time office supply items ordered in bulk from two or three vendors to ensure the best value for the Department.
Receiving Report Approval
Signed receiving slips (the departmental copy of the Purchase order) should be returned to Accounts Payable promptly after the items purchased have been received and verified to be complete and in good condition. Accounts Payable matches the approved departmental copy of the Purchase Order with the invoice from the Vendor prior to payment. All original-shipping cartons should be kept intact until it is ascertained the merchandise is undamaged. Prompt return of the receiving copy will allow the College to release payment to the vendor. Departments should acknowledge partial shipments and release partial payments to the vendors whenever appropriate. The good credit of the College depends upon the College fulfilling its obligations in a timely manner.
In the event that a Department Head feels payment should not be made because a vendor has not met the terms and conditions specified in the purchase order, he/she should notify Business Services, immediately, in writing, of the details surrounding this purchase order.
Check Request Form
It is the role of Business Services to evaluate and purchase those goods and services, which can be competitively bid. It is recognized that there are certain acquisitions that cannot benefit from competitive bidding and the issuance of purchase orders. In this case, the user department should request the desired service on a Check Request Form. The completed form with the appropriate approvals should be submitted to the Accounts Payable Department for check processing.
- Each purchase requisition form must contain a complete description of the material or service desired. Care should be taken that each requisition lists only items that can be furnished by one supplier. (e.g., do not request laboratory supplies with office supplies).
- Where possible, the ordering department should furnish suggested sources of supply and the name and address of each recommended vendor.
- Department Heads / Chairmen / Deans / Division Vice- Presidents or Vice Provosts should communicate unusual requests to Business Services in a timely manner to allow adequate time for necessary research and/or bidding process.
A Purchase Requisition is prepared by the originating department. A copy of the requisition should be kept in the department's file and the original requisition forwarded to Business Services. Once a vendor is chosen a valid purchase order number will be issued.
Business Services is the only office authorized to assign a purchase order number. Business Services is responsible for ordering authority vested in other functional departments and for assuring that such departments maintain adequate documentation and exercise appropriate procedures and controls as may be necessary. (Both the Facilities Management Department and PC Acquisitions have their own Purchase Order systems with unique numbering.)
Once a purchase order has been issued to the vendor, the requesting department will be issued a receiving report copy as a confirmation of the order. After the merchandise has been received, the department should acknowledge receipt of the items on the receiving copy and forward this documentation with the vendor invoice to Accounts Payable for release of payment to the vendor.
Cancellation or Modification of Orders
Requests for cancellation or modification of purchase orders, (including an increase or decrease in the dollar amount of the order), must be submitted to Business Services in writing by an officially designated individual, stating the reason for the change and referring to the purchase order number and the vendor's name and address.
Business Services will send a revised Purchase Order to the vendor and the requesting department.
Damages and Shortages
In cases of damage or shortage of shipment, a written report must be submitted immediately to Business Services and should include the following information: purchase order number, date, vendor, the extent of damage or shortage.
Mistakes in Shipping or Invoicing
Mistakes in shipping or invoicing must be reported promptly in writing to Business Services. Refer to the purchase order number and vendor involved. Departments should give sufficient detail concerning the mistake so that proper negotiations and correction of the mistake can be handled with the vendor.
Returns For Credit
When vendors have shipped items as specified on a purchase order, they have legally complied with their part of the contract and are under no obligation to accept for credit any of those items delivered as specified. Acceptance of a return by the vendor is by no means automatic, and a restocking charge may be incurred. Any restocking, return or cancellation fees assessed to the College by the vendor will be charged to the requisitioning department.
Requests to return equipment to the vendor for adjustment or credit should be processed through Business Services as the procedures necessary may vary by vendor.
Contract/Blanket Purchase Orders
Blanket purchase orders are intended to eliminate small repetitive requests for consumable supplies or repetitive services and are generally used to process preventive maintenance contract requests and lease/purchase or rental orders. Supplies or services are drawn against these orders, when needed, by a designated representative. Business Services will establish blanket purchase orders when appropriate.
Interviewing Sales Representatives
College personnel desiring to contact sales representatives should request assistance from Business Services.
Business Services will select vendors for their capability to serve the needs of the College in the most economical and efficient manner possible. Past performance and cooperation are important factors.
Vendors must comply with the Equal Opportunity Act (Executive Order 11246 as amended) since it is the policy of the College to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through an Affirmative Action Program. They must also comply with all federal, state and local laws and directives.
Errors in Bids or Quotations
Vendors are responsible for the accuracy of their quoted prices. In the event of an error between a unit price and its extension, the lowest price will govern. Quotations may be amended or withdrawn by the bidder up to the bid opening date and time, after which, in the event of an error, bids may not be amended but may be withdrawn prior to the acceptance of the bid. After a bid has been accepted and an order issued, it may not be withdrawn or amended unless Business Services considers the change to be in the College's best interest.
It is the responsibility of all vendors to assure that their quotations are received by Business Services no later than specified on the request for bid. Late quotations will not be considered and will not be opened.
All bids and quotations will be date and time stamped to assure that they are received prior to the requested date and time.
The Confidentiality of Quotations
Price quotations are given to Iona University in confidence and shall not be revealed to any other vendor or unauthorized person.
Demonstration or Sample Material
College employees wishing to see samples or have equipment demonstrated should contact Business Services for assistance.
College personnel who find the need to contact sales representatives should do so through Business Services. Prospective vendors should be advised that procurement decisions may only be validated by Business Services via a valid purchase order and purchase order number.
Vendors are to provide their own insurance coverage for any material left at the College.
Prior to the commencement of any work or services for the College, evidence of appropriate insurance coverage must be submitted to Business Services by the vendor.
The Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration must sign all Contracts, including Equipment Leases, Purchase Rental or Maintenance Agreements for the procurement of material or services on behalf of Iona University.
Regardless of the time period involved in these agreements, a College purchase order will be issued. The Purchase Order will define the terms of the agreement, indicating whether it is a new or renewal agreement, as well as the number of months the Agreement covers. A copy of the vendor's Lease Agreement must be attached to the Purchase Order and will be retained in the Purchasing Department.
Departments will be provided with three or more lease options (where possible) prior to making a decision. Consideration will be given to purchasing rather than leasing equipment where viable. Some of the factors, which will be considered in making this determination, are as follows:
- Title - Who retains title to the equipment?
- Liability - Who is responsible if the equipment is stolen or damaged?
- Insurance - Do vendors carry sufficient insurance on their employees when rendering services and /or is their equipment adequately insured?
- Maintenance - Are all maintenance costs included in the original cost of the lease or is the College responsible for maintaining the equipment at its own expense?
- Pay Back Period - If the College were to make an outright purchase, what is the payback period, and what credits are accumulated in the event that a Lease Purchase Agreement is executed?
It is in the best interest of the College to refrain from signing vendor's sales agreements or contracts.
If a Contract is required, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration will sign for the College only after the Director of Business Services and the Purchasing Coordinator review a properly executed requisition. A copy of the agreement will be retained in the Business Services Department file.
Certain sole source items may require documentation from the requisitioning department to justify their purchase.
Instances when "sole source" designation is applicable include the following:
- When property or services can be obtained only from one person or firm.
- When competition is precluded because of the existence of patent rights, copyrights, secret processes, control of raw material or similar circumstances. Library purchases for published materials are likely to be considered sole source.
- When the procurement is for electric power, gas, water or other utility services where it would not be practical to allow a contractor other than the utility company itself to work upon the systems.
- When the procurement is for parts or components to be used as replacement in support of equipment specifically designed by the manufacturer.
- When the procurement involves construction where a contractor is already at work on the site and it would not be practical to engage another contractor.
- When a service provided is professional in nature. (Ex. Accountant, Lawyer, etc.).
The final responsibility for determining whether an item/service is of a proprietary nature and may be purchased from a sole source rests with the Business Services Department. Questions concerning the appropriate documentation (Purchase Order, Contract, direct payment, etc.) for sole source purchases should be directed to the Business Services Department.
The Business Services Department will maintain a list of all persons and firms who wish to bid on College purchases. Invitations to bid will be solicited from those vendors whom the Business Services Department determines will stimulate competitive bidding.
Requisitioning departments are encouraged to suggest sources of supply for unusual items. The Business Services Department, after appropriate consideration of the overall needs of the College and the requesting Department is responsible for the final selection of the vendor.
Requests For Bids Or Quotations
Competitive bids and/or quotations will be obtained by the Business Services Department, prior to the purchase order being issued, in accordance with following guidelines.
Orders totaling between:
- $1 - $1,000: Quotations may be solicited.
- $1,001 - $10,000: The Business Services Department will endeavor to obtain three quotations. Bids or quotations may be obtained by telephone or written proposal, as deemed appropriate, depending on the nature of the items and the timelines of the request.
- $10,001 & Above: Three formal written bids or quotations will be solicited.
Departments should not use multiple requisitions in an attempt to circumvent the purchasing process.
Construction projects, under the purview of the Facilities Management Department, are subject to competitive bid quotations and periodic review by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. Bids for construction projects are solicited directly by the Facilities Department and are not reviewed by the Business Services Department.
All vendors doing business with the College are monitored as to how they will perform, particularly vendors doing business with the College for the first time. References are checked, and formal interviews conducted when feasible to make sure bidders are qualified.
In addition, the Business Services Department maintains a vendor evaluation file. Departments are encouraged to supply whatever information they may have which will help us evaluate our vendors.
"Emergency Situation" shall be defined as any situation which, if not corrected immediately, would result in a hazard to persons or property, could result in damage to buildings or facilities, would result in a violation of law, statute, or ordinance established by governmental or regulatory authority, or in any other fashion, if not acted upon, would be detrimental to the interest of Iona University.
Failure to anticipate a need is not, in itself, considered a bonafide emergency. To initiate a bonafide emergency purchase, an authorized person may call the Business Services Department for a purchase order number. The requestor must state the nature of the emergency, vendor's name and address, approximate dollar amount and the cost center to be charged. This must be followed up immediately by an email from an authorized person or with a confirming requisition sent to the Business Services Department within three days of the date the order number was verbally released to the requesting department. The confirming requisition or e-mail should indicate the purchase order number and contain the statement "Confirming Purchase Order: Do Not Duplicate" in the body of the requisition.
Because of the tax-exempt status of the College, the Business Services Department cannot issue purchase orders for personal purchases. The Business Services Department will be happy to suggest possible sources that may offer discounts.
Iona University is exempt from New State Sales Tax. When requested, the Finance Department will furnish a copy of our tax-exemption certificate and/or credit references with purchase order.
Small repetitive orders should be increased in amount and decreased in frequency. This will reduce the costs for negotiating and placing orders, as well as related administrative work.
Requests for changes, additions, or deletions of telephone service should be submitted in writing to the Telephone Service Office. Telephone Services manages the operation and maintenance of the Iona University telephone switch. Telephone Services reports to the Vice Provost for Information Technology.
Requests for cellular phone service are processed through Information Technology and Business Services. The College works with three cellular telephone vendors and orders services according to the needs of the end user. Telephone related expenditures are charged back to College departments on a monthly basis.
Please refer to the College Cell Phone Usage policy for additional information.
Purchases involving the use or installation of utilities (gas, water, and electricity) must be submitted in writing to the Facilities Management Department. Facilities Management is responsible for negotiating gas, natural gas, oil and electricity pricing on an annual basis.
Employees who have been approved to travel on Iona University business must make their travel arrangements through the Office of Business Services. Requests for air or train tickets, hotel reservations, pre-paid conference fees are made on a Travel Request Form that can be downloaded from the Iona University website. The Travel Request Form must be signed by a member of the President's cabinet or authorized delegate before any reservations can be booked. Business Services requests that you make your travel arrangements at least 30 days prior to departure in order to secure the best possible pricing. Please refer to the College Travel Policy for additional information.
Business Services has arranged for a reduced nightly rate at the Marriott Residence Inn and the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle. Please call ext. 2046 if you have any questions regarding travel.
Fixed Asset Purchase/Disposal
Purchase of fixed assets must be made in accordance with established purchasing procedures. Requisitions for capital items must have proper authorization. All requests for vehicles, and large furniture purchases, etc. must be authorized by the President or his/her designee. Purchasing should be notified prior to the disposal of any capital item of value.
Revisions to this manual will be issued periodically to accommodate changes in policy, procedures, and/or technological advances.