The University at Albany is a part of the State University of New York, an agency of the State of New York. As such, the University at Albany is subject to state purchasing laws and rules, and general contracting mandates. The main sources of laws and rules guiding state contracting are the State Finance Law, State Audit and Control Regulations, and State Procurement Council Contracting Guidelines. In addition, Exhibit A, the Standard State Contract Clauses, attached, which must generally be appended to all University contracts, are provisions pertaining to contracting by and with a State agency which are mandated by State law.
Of particular note:
1. State Finance Law Section 41, the Executory Clause---in accordance with this section, the State shall have no liability under a contract to the contractor or anyone else beyond the funds appropriated and available for the contract.
2. State Finance Law Section 112, Comptroller’s Approval---all contracts purporting to bind the State or any of its agencies and their subdivisions are subject to approval by the State Comptroller (OSC) and shall not be valid, binding or effective without such approval. The following contracts are exempt from Comptroller’s Approval for the University at Albany: contracts for $150,000 or less for commodities, services, printing or construction. The University at Albany is allowed this flexibility as it has an internal audit and control program in place which satisfies both OSC and SUNY’s Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business.
Contracts are also subject to review by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, which approves contracts as to form. Executive Law §63, Education Law § 355,
8 NYCRR §316.4.
3. To procure goods and services, the University at Albany must either:
a. purchase off of centralized contracts negotiated in behalf of the State and its agencies by the State Office of General Services;
b. purchase from preferred sources as defined under the State Finance Law, such as the Department of Correctional Services, not-for-profit agencies employing the blind or special employment programs serving mentally ill persons or disabled persons or veterans;
c. purchase through a competitive procurement process as governed by the State Procurement Council, a creature of State Finance Law Section 161, and its detailed guidelines defining the competitive bid process (State Procurement Council Contracting Guidelines); or
d. purchase from a single source, as defined under the State Finance Law, upon approval by OSC.
4. Insurance and Indemnification --- the State of New York and its agencies, including the University, typically do not purchase insurance for their various activities. The State self retains to cover its liability costs, and there are three primary sources of funds to cover such losses: 1) the Court of Claims fund from which judgments in lawsuits are paid; 2) the Public Officers Law Section 17 fund from which damages caused by our employees are paid; and 3) operational funds as needed. Under the New York State Court of Claims Act, the State has waived its sovereign immunity against suit only to the extent that claimants comply with the provisions of the statute regarding such things as limitations, notice, service and venue. Therefore, for the University to agree to contractually indemnify another party would abrogate the State’s sovereign immunity as articulated under the Court of Claims Act. In lieu of assuming broad contractual indemnification obligations, the University will agree to the following:
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this agreement, and in accordance with the provisions of the New York State Court of Claims Act and decisions thereunder, the State University of New York at Albany, to the fullest extent authorized thereby, shall be responsible for any liability, claim, loss, damage, suit or judgment (and any and all costs and expenses, including, but not limited to, reasonable counsel fees and disbursements if assessed by a court of competent jurisdiction) arising from the acts of the State University of New York at Albany, its officers or employees acting within the scope of their employment.