Who is Authorized to Purchase?

Only the Purchasing Staff is authorized to sign a purchase order to commit a financial obligation on behalf of the University. Contracts, agreements, licenses and any other contractual document requiring a University Representative to sign must be reviewed in this office and forwarded to the University Controller for signature. It is in violation of NYS Finance Laws to procure a service or commodity without acquiring necessary approvals and documents in advance.

The Office of State Funded Purchasing and Contracts has implemented a procurement card program that, in order to facilitate the needs of our end-users, will be used by the Purchasing Associates when placing orders. Using the procurement card will not only speed up the procurement process by eliminating the need to have a purchase order printed, but will also allow orders to be placed by phone to a vendor who may not accept a purchase order number. For this reason, instead of a paper copy of the purchase order, you will receive an e-mail acknowledgment of your order from our processing staff. Please match this acknowledgement to your copy of the requisition that you submitted and keep for your records.

Procurements up to $5,000 must be processed using a departmental Procurement Card. All NYS Finance Laws, SUNY and University policies must be followed for procurements made with the card. Detailed information on the University's Procurement card, including a listing of prohibited purchases may be found on the Accounting web site.

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Requirements to Know Before Starting a Procurement

All purchases made using State funds are subject to the New York State Finance Law and rules and regulations promulgated by the Office of the State Comptroller. They are also subject to procedures developed by SUNY and/or the University. The Office of the State Comptroller performs pre- and post audits on various transactions processed by the State Funded Office of Purchasing and Contracts purchasing office. The State Comptroller has the authority to approve or deny payments and/or contracts.

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Selecting a Vendor/Preferred Sources/OGS State Wide Contracts

The Office of State Funded Purchasing & Contracts has available a wide variety of primary and open market sources for competitive purchases. For a diagram of the purchasing process click here. Primary sources include:

  1. Preferred Sources

A Preferred Source is a designated vendor, who in an effort to advance certain social and economic goals, has received special provider status under New York State statue. The Preferred Sources are the Department of Correctional Services (Corcraft), Industries for the Disabled, Industries for the Blind and Office of Mental Health. The acquisition of commodities/services has been given exemption from statutory competitive procurement guidelines. It is the obligation of the University to procure goods and services from a designated Preferred Source provider whenever possible. Office of State Funded Purchasing and Contract staff should be contacted in the early stages of any planned purchases (such as office furnishings) that may be affected by these regulations.

Corcraft provides furniture including landscape modular systems, desks chairs and file cabinets to name a few of the items.

Industries for the Disabled provide janitorial and housekeeping supplies, field marking paint, printed apparel as well as certain office and school supplies.

National Industries for the Blind (formerly, Industries for the Blind) provide file folders, post it notes, transparencies, examination gloves and CD-R products to name a few.

New York State Office of Mental Health provides frames, benches, wastebaskets and plant stands.

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  1. State Contracts

On behalf of the State, the Office of General Services (OGS) negotiates contracts with vendors that provide discounted pricing to all State agencies.

The OGS web site is very useful in determining if an commodity or service is available under State Contract. Contracts are available for a wide variety of commodities and services.

For step by step instructions on how to search for contracts on the OGS web site, please click here.

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  1. Minority - and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE)

Article 15-A of the NYS Executive Law encourages all State agencies to maximize business opportunities for minority and women-owned firms by making every effort to place orders with such firms. The University therefore places high priority on doing business with New York State certified MWBEs. For more detail information on MWBEs please visit our Business Diversity page.

Empire State Development has a searchable database that is useful in locating certified businesses.

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  1. Multi-Campus Contracts

Occasionally a common need arises to a number of campuses and SUNY negotiates a contract on our behalf. There are currently several active contracts. Please contact the Office at 437-4579.

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  1. Sources for Open Market Purchases

The Office of State Funded Purchasing and Contracts has the following sources for open market purchases:

  1. A vendor database complied from information submitted by the vendor on a registration form with the Office of Purchasing and Contracts requesting that they be placed on our bid list. The database is searchable by vendor name and by commodity.
  2. Catalogs supplied by vendors or offered on their web page.
  3. Vendors who subscribe to advertisements in the New York State Contract Reporter, a weekly publication which lists anticipated procurements by State agencies.

Occasionally a situation arises in which there is only one vendor who is able to provide a commodity/service. These situations are referred to as "sole source." Use of a sole source requires a written statement that the vendor selected is the only vendor able to supply the specified goods or services and how the price was determined to be reasonable. Sole source procurements must be approved by the University Controller and they must have prior approval from the Office of State Comptroller. "Sole source" purchases exceeding $20,000 are subject to requirements for Contract Reporter advertising.

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Purchasing Thresholds

It is the policy of the State University of New York to take affirmative action to ensure that minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) are given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to provide the University with commodities, services and printing at competitive prices. Additionally, It is the declared policy of the University that utilization of preferred sources occurs whenever possible. In accordance with State Finance and Corrections Law, the University is required to make purchases of commodities and services from preferred sources. Preferred sources must be considered whenever purchases of commodities, services or printing are required.

The State University of New York has established five (5) purchasing thresholds. The procurement threshold determines the steps that need to be taken to effectuate the procurement. Please note that the campus has instituted that purchases below $5,000 are to be done via the state procurement card.

Dollar threshold policy of the state of New York for Commodities, Services & Printing effective May 1, 2013 (Construction & construction related activity not included).

$0.00 - $10,000.00: Certification by Purchasing Agent of Reasonable Price & Vendor Selection

$10,000.01 - $50,000: Certification by Purchasing Agent of Reasonable Price, Vendor Selection and Quarterly Contract Reporter Publication

$50,000.01^ - $125,000: 3 Quotes and Individual Contract Reporter Notice (15 business days advance notice)

$125,000.01 - $250,000**: 5 Sealed Quotes and Individual Contract Reporter Notice (15 business days advance notice)

(^)**For Services: prior approval is not needed for contracts and purchase orders up to $250,000 EXCEPT for *select procurements as defined by SUNY at $50,000 or greater whereby the 9-Point Procurement Plan must be submitted and approved; and/or procurements if any one condition exists: a) bid protest; b) low bid or best value not used; c) award not made in accordance with provisions of bid; d) single or sole source procurement. If any single condition exists the approval limit is reduced to $125,000.

(^)**For Commodities: No Attorney General or Office of State Comptroller prior approval is needed for contracts and purchase orders EXCEPT for *select procurements as defined by SUNY at $50,000 or greater whereby the 9-Point Procurement Plan must be submitted and approved; and/or if the procurement is a single or sole source. If so, the exemption approval limit is $50,000 but no external contract approval is required at any limit.

$250,000.01 and Above (Services Only): 5 Sealed Quotes and Individual Contract Reporter Notice (15 business days advance notice) with Approval of The Attorney General and Office of The State Comptroller

The State University of New York has created a chart with the above information.

In addition to the above listed guidelines, the Office of the State Comptroller has issued directives with regard to the following legislation for purchases with a value of at least $15,000: a) Procurement Lobbying Act; b) Consultant Disclosure; c) Tax Law 5-A and d) Vendor Responsibility. Please consult your Purchasing Agent for specific instruction related to these requirements.

Special provisions apply to the purchase of construction, construction related services and printing services, please consultant your Purchasing Associate.

The purchasing staff reserves the right to seek competition at any level.

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Purchases Requiring Special Approval

Memberships for individuals that exceed $250.00 must be cosigned by their respective Vice President.

Purchases of space heaters and/or air conditioners or similar energy consuming equipment may be reviewed by the Physical Plant designer to determine that appropriate electricity is available and that the size of the unit is adequate for the space.

Personal use appliances usually found in kitchens cannot be purchased using State Funds unless certain criteria are met. Kitchen appliances require prior approval by the Purchasing Agent based on a justification that meets established NYS guidelines.

Requisitions for animals (by definition all vertebrates, including fish, frogs, rodents, etc...) must be approved by the Office of Research Compliance prior to submission to the Office of Purchasing and Contracts.

Requisitions for Syringes must be cosigned by the Director of CAS Technical Services.

Radioactive materials and radiation-producing agents must be cosigned by staff of the University Environmental Health and Safety Office. Material Safety Data Sheets are to be forwarded to Environmental Health and Safety Office by the end user. Procedures relating to receiving and disposal of hazardous chemicals among other safety issues can be found at the Enviromental Health and Safety web page.

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Receiving Merchandise - Receiving and Payment Process

When a requisition is received the Office of State Funded Purchasing and Contracts e-mails a notification to the account manager. With the exception of the purchase order number this notification contains all of the pertinent information regarding the purchase. The account manager can locate the purchase order number by accessing the SUNY purchasing system. It is the account manager's responsibility to review the notification to ensure that it fulfills the department's needs. The information contained in the notification will be used to create the purchase order. Since a purchase order is a contract with the vendor, it is important that the Office of State Funded Purchasing and Contracts is notified of any discrepancies in order to settle any issues with the vendor as soon as possible.

Goods can be received through the University's loading dock or directly to the departments. Departments should examine items received to ensure that they are in good condition and to verify compliance with the purchase order. If the items are in order, a Receiving/Payment Authorization Form-AP-102 should be prepared by the department and forwarded to the Accounting Office.

The purchase order directs vendors to send invoices to the Accounting Office. When an invoice is received from a vendor, it is matched to the purchase order and to the AP-102. Assuming that all information agrees, payment will be issued to the vendor. It is essential that the payment process be initiated by departments as soon as possible after acceptable goods or services are received to ensure vendors are paid on time. Freight will only be paid when it is specifically identified on the purchase order. When departments obtain quotes and recommend a vendor and price to the Purchasing Office the requisition should specify that freight is or is not included in the price so it can be noted on the purchase order.

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Change Orders

To change the order after it has been placed, the requisitioner should notify the vendor of the cancellation/change and submit a memorandum to the purchasing office stating the nature of the change and providing the purchase requisition or purchase order numbers. The Purchasing Office will forward a copy of the change notice to the vendor.

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As a State agency, the University is afforded protection against claims for legal damages through the New York State Court of Claims Act. This protection extends also to University employees and officers acting within the scope of their official duties. There are occasions, however, when it is necessary to purchase insurance, such as off-site field trips held on private property, certain travel activities involving students, protection of valuable property on loan to the University, etc.

When contracting with a vendor for services, construction and other similar requirements the contractor is required to provide the University with a certificate of insurance. The standard insurance amounts that are usually required and the format to be followed can be obtained on the insurance web page. Depending on the nature of the contract additional forms of insurance may be required. For example, construction contracts may warrant "Builders Risk" insurance which protects the University during construction should an accident occur due to the fault of the contractor. Architect and Engineer contracts may require "Professional Liability" insurance.

Inquiries regarding the need for insurance for a specific occasion or activity should be directed to the Office of State Funded Purchasing and Contracts at 437-4579. The Office can obtain appropriate insurance at a nominal cost to the Department through the New York State Office of General Services.

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The following links will connect you to the SUNY guidelines for purchasing, and contracting:

SUNY item 7553 Purchasing and Contracting (Procurement)

SUNY item 7554 Construction Contracting

SUNY item 7555 Construction - Related Consultant Contracting Procedures

All other SUNY Procedures and Bulletins:

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