Policies and Procedures
Purchasing at Georgia Southwestern State University is a function of Procurement. Contracting of supplies, equipment, designated services, Labor and Professional Services Contracts has been delegated to the Director of Procurement by the Vice President for Business and Finance of the University, the Board of Regents, and Department of Administrative Services (DOAS).
The purpose of this publication is to establish an understanding for all personnel of the University who may have responsibilities for procurement of equipment, materials, supplies, and services for the proper conduct of the department or office for which they are responsible.
The various policies relating to Purchasing, that have been adopted by the University administration come from three sources, and are based upon numerous laws that have been passed by the General Assembly.
The three sources for development of policy are:
Department of Administrative Services
As the Central Purchasing Agency of the State, Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), publishes and distributes to all State agencies, all rules and regulations to control State purchasing.
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
As a unit of the University System of Georgia, the University must comply with any policy or procedure developed by the Regents Office.
Georgia Southwestern State University
The University administration may develop policy that is unique to the University, and not required by the State, if such policy is determined to be in the best interest of the University, and is not contrary to law or other policy.
Sources of Policies
DOAS Rules & Regulations promulgated to enforce State laws
The policies of the Board of Regents
Findings of the State Audit Department
Policies developed by Georgia Southwestern State University
Procurement is responsible for the organization and administration of all procurement services of the University. In providing these services in accordance with sound business practices, Purchasing seeks the maximum value for every dollar expended.
Procurement is responsible for conducting all purchasing transactions in accordance with State Purchasing Laws as specified in the Georgia Procurement Manual.
Although the purchasing process should be a joint effort among the using department, Procurement Department, and supplier, the Procurement Department must have the final authority to conduct and conclude negotiations concerning prices and conditions of sale. Institutional commitments shall be made by the Procurement Department in accordance with requisition/ordering procedure.
It is the policy of the University that Procurement shall be responsible for the procurement by purchase, lease or rental, of all materials, services, supplies and equipment required by the various departments of the University. This policy applies to all funds of the University, regardless of source, when deposited with the University and must be handled in accordance with University policy and State law.
This centralization of the Purchasing activities benefits the University in the following ways:
- Assures compliance with laws, rules, policies, and audit recommendations
- Definite economies resulting from the pooling of common requirements of the various departments
- Better planning of the total purchase requirements of the University
- Development of standard specifications for the common commodities purchased, resulting in more uniform quality and less variety of materials, supplies and equipment
- Reduction of administrative costs for purchasing by precluding the necessity for multiple purchasing staffs, records, and procedures.
- More consistent acceptance of cash discounts by prompt handling of supplier's invoices
- Better budgetary and financial control of departmental expenditures
- Promotes development and use of qualified personnel through specialization in the purchasing function
- Permits the establishment of uniform policies with respect to supplier/supplier relationships
- Aids in obtaining and communicating uniform interpretations of policies and procedures established by State agencies.
- Assures equal access to purchases by small and minority suppliers.
Procurement has established specific objectives directed toward the improvement of the University's business position. These objectives are:
- To develop and maintain a good working relationship with all campus departments through an understanding of their purpose and objectives.
- To serve the campus community cheerfully and willingly and to be of assistance at all times.
- To maintain good business relationships with all suppliers for the good of the University.
- To cooperate with all department in effecting standardization objectives.
- To maintain, with the assistance of all departments, optimum inventories consistent with cost and service objectives.
- To obtain assistance from suppliers in the application of improved materials and techniques.
- To procure all material, equipment, supplies and designated services in proper quantities with delivery at such places and times as are required by the departments in the best interest of the University.
- To promote and maintain the good name of the University, conducting its affairs in an ethical, friendly, professional, and legal manner.
- To fulfill all contractual obligations to the meaning and intentions of the contract.
- To avoid all actual and potential conflicts of interest.
- To avoid all appearances of special treatment toward any supplier or product.
Responsibility for Approval of Purchases
The University budget establishes funds to be used for certain purposes under the authority of the designated budgetary head. These funds must be used within the prescribed budgetary limits. The budget head has the primary responsibility for approval of all requisitions to be charged against department ID’s under his/her administration. Only the Vice President for Business and Finance and the Director of Procurement has the authority to commit University funds and only their signatures are authorized to appear on contractual documents.
Purchases of $4,999.99 or greater must have the approval of the senior administrative officer. Purchases of $5,000 to $99,999.99 must have the additional approval of the Vice President for Business and Finance. Delegated purchases from $5,000 to $99,999.99 will be processed by Procurement. These purchases require bidding. Purchases from mandatory sources or statewide contracts charged to Materials Management Reserve for the replenishing of stock do not require special approval. All approvals must be obtained prior to being forwarded to Procurement for processing.
Minimum Bid Policy Chart
Minimum Post Required
* $4,999.99 - $9,999.99
3 business days
$10,000 - $49,999.99
7 calendar days
$50,000 - $99,999.99
8 calendar days; plus posted to GPR
*Note: Splitting known needs into several requests (DPR's) in order to avoid the bidding process is against State and University Purchasing policy. If several requests are received for similar commodities, they will be combined and treated accordingly.
The following guide to relationships of Procurement with suppliers and suppliers doing business with the University is followed as closely as possible by Procurement:
To consider, first, the interest of the University in all transactions, including consideration to the objectives and policies of the University.
To strive to obtain the maximum value of each dollar of expenditure.
To accord a prompt and courteous reception, so far as conditions will permit, to all who call on legitimate business missions.
To grant all competitive bidders equal consideration; to regard each transaction on its own merits; to foster and promote fair, ethical and legal trade practices.
To demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through the medium of an oral or written statement, and advertisement, or a sample of the product.
To show consideration for the supplier's situation, and cooperate with him whenever possible.
To answer all supplier inquiries promptly.
The Purchasing Process
Upon receipt of the departmental purchase request (DPR) by Procurement, it is processed according to the following:
- Mandatory Statewide Contracts
- Existing State Entity Contracts (if available)
- GEPS / GA Correctional Industries (GCI)
- Convenience Statewide Contracts / Open Market Purchases
Requisitions submitted must contain adequate specifications, validated budget, approval, and all other information pertinent to the procurement.
Minimum Bid Policy Chart
No Bidding Required
$5,000 - $9,999.99
3 business days
$10,000 - $49,999.99
7 calendar days
$50,000 - $99.999.99
8 calendar days; plus posted to GPR
$1000,000 - $249.999.99
10 calendar days; plus posted to GPR
$250,000 and above
15 calendar days; plus posted to GPR
Note: Splitting known needs into several requests (DPR's) in order to avoid the bidding process is against State and University policy. If several requests are received for similar commodities, they will be combined and treated accordingly.
A web-based software application for posting Request for Quotation (RFQ), Request for Information (RFI), Request for Qualified Contractors (RFQC) events within the GPR. All solicitations are submitted electronically.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The RFP is a formal solicitation. The RFP solicits sealed price proposals from prospective suppliers and seeks to obtain the “best value” for the University. This method does not use the cost of the project as the single determining factor, but, rather, uses a combination of lowest cost plus best proposed solution to determine the award.
Before making a determination of Sole Source, research must be conducted to determine if other products or service providers exist and can satisfy procurements. All Sole Source procurements $5,000.00 and over must be posted to the Georgia Procurement Registry for a minimum of five (5) business days.
In a Sole Source situation, a Sole Source Justification Form must be completed and attached to the PO. A letter from the Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) justifying the Sole Source will be needed. The letter must include:
- Scope of Work
- Exclusive Capability
Before making a determination of Sole Brand, research must be conducted to determine if other products exist which can also satisfy procurement requirements in a timely manner. An approved Sole Brand request allows for the insertion of “No Substitute” after the commodity is specified by brand name, model number, or some other designation identifying a specific product of a manufacturer.
In a Sole Brand situation, a Sole Brand Justification Form must be completed and attached to the PO. A request for “Sole Brand” does not automatically eliminate the bidding requirements, as the item may be available from more than one supplier.
The following must be included:
- Scope of Work
- Sole Brand Justification
Purchasing Card (P-Card)
The Purchasing Card is intended to streamline the payment procedures and reduce the administrative burden associated with small dollar value purchases. The P-Card may be used to procure items from statewide, state agency, and agency contracts.
Departments throughout the campus utilize the Purchasing Card. The P-Card is used to make small dollar purchases via phone, fax/mail orders, internet or over the counter purchases (locally). Most single transactions are not to exceed $1,000. The Library, Bookstore, Procurement, Materials Management and Physical Plant are the only departments allowed to make single transactions purchases up to $2,500 or greater. Merchant codes are built into the P-Card program for monitoring purchases.
Each individual is responsible for their own P-Card; maintaining a file of monthly receipts and reconciling to the new balance due each month using the Purchasing Card Summary Sheet. A P-Card manual is given to each person who holds a P-Card.
Reconciliation is also being done within a web-base program called Works Payment Manager. End-users are currently using Summary Sheets and Works Payment Manager.
Emergency circumstances exist where normal purchasing procedures cannot be utilized without extremely detrimental efforts upon the operation of the University’s business. A purchase order will be processed as appropriate practice. The purchase order should provide documentation as to the circumstances surrounding the emergency and should clearly state “emergency purchase” on the face of the PO. The following definition shall apply for the purpose of determining whether an emergency exists:
- Academic, research, or technical personnel are idle or unable to perform any significant activity due to equipment failure.
- Any situation, involving materials, equipment or services that may seriously endanger the health, welfare, or safety of any individual(s).
In addition to the written requisition, a written justification detailing the circumstances of the emergency must be forwarded to Procurement.
The use of emergency purchases shall be carefully considered on a case by case basis. It should be remembered that the use of emergency purchases is not a back-up system for inadequate advance planning.
Departmental Purchase Request (DPR)
This document is used for requisitioning the expenditures for all supplies, materials, equipment, services and contracts required for the operation of all areas of the University. DPR's can be filled out on-line. This form is located on the Business Forms page. Questions regarding how to complete a DPR should be directed to the Procurement Office.
Upon completion of the purchasing process, this document is used at the University level to cover supplies, materials, and equipment orders.
Several types of purchases require special handling and approvals prior to the submission of a purchase requisition to Procurement. These include the following:
Purchase of Printed Materials
All letterhead, envelopes and business cards are to be processed on a departmental purchase request (DPR). These items are not to be purchased on a purchasing card.
Requests for printed materials to be distributed to the public and have any reference to Georgia Southwestern State University, require the approval and signature of the Vice President of University Relations.
Motor Vehicle Requests
Motor vehicle purchases require special approval by OPB and DOAS Office of Fleet Management. For further information concerning this procedure, contact Procurement.
Purchase of Computer Hardware and Software
All purchase requests containing computer hardware and software, must have a quote attached. The quote must come from OIIT.
Please see the Section on Administrative Computing in the manual for steps required to purchase Computer Hardware and Software.
Professional Services Contract
When an individual or company's services are required on a one time basis, a professional services contract must be processed.
Examples of uses requiring a professional services contract are:
- Brochure/Pamphlet Design Services
- Interior Designers
- Consultants - any area
The decision to solicit competitive proposals, quotations or estimates must be based on the type service and the availability of service from more than one source. The department needing such services will consult with Procurement to determine the approach which is best.
All Service Contracts must have:
- A defined scope of work (SOW)
- Specific Cost
- Delivery specifications
- Penalty or cancellation clause
- Time Limitations defined
No significant material may be included, only advice or design services.
The University has a delegated authority from the Board of Regents/Facilities Office for Professional Contracts ($25,000) for Architectural/Engineering/other related services. Construction contracts under $300,000. These types of contracts are handled through Physical Plant.
See the Physical Plant Section of this manual for more details on the Board of Regents Contract.
Quality, Service and Price
Under the competitive bid system of Purchasing, all contracts or open market purchases shall in all cases be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. The lowest bidder is deemed to be that bidder who submits a responsive bid which meets the specifications set out in the invitation to bid and which is most advantageous to the University, taking into account quality, performance and capacity to perform by the bidder; price of merchandise offered; transportation charges; and date of delivery. The lowest responsible bidder will not always be the bidder who has submitted the lowest monetary bid.
Sales and Excise Tax
Georgia Southwestern State University is exempt from payment of Georgia Sales and Use Tax and Federal Excise Taxes, when payment for goods and services is made from public funds. Purchases made using student fees (student activities fees, athletic fees), for payment, are subject to these taxes, whether they are made with or without benefit of official Purchase Order or Purchasing Card. The sales tax exempt form is available on-line on the Business Forms page.
The following guidelines are for information only, and are subject to Federal Internal Revenue Department interpretation.
State Taxes from which the State is Exempt
- State Sales and Use Tax
- MARTA Tax
- Local Option Sales Tax
- Special Purpose Tax
- Hotel/Motel Excise Tax (with use of Exemption Form. This form is available on-line on the Business Forms page)
State Taxes from which the State is not Exempt
- State Motor Fuel Tax
- State Scrap Tire Fee (New Tires Only)
- 2nd State Motor Fuel Tax
- GUST (Georgia Underground Storage Tank Act (except when bill is paid directly by Institution)
Federal Taxes from which the State is Exempt
- Communications Tax
- Special Motor Fuel Tax (Telephone & Telegraph)
- Firearms and Ammunition Tax
- Heavy Trucks, Trailers, and Tractor Tax
- Sport Fishing Equipment Tax
- Tire Excise Tax
- Non-Commercial Aviation
- Gasoline and Gasohol Tax Fuels (Including LUST Tax)
- Gasoline - Fuels other than gasoline
- Diesel Fuel Tax including jet fuel (Airports and Airway Trust Fund Tax)
Federal Taxes from which the State is not Exempt
- Transportation of Persons by Air Tax
- Certain Ozone Depleting Chemicals Tax
- Transportation of Property by Air Tax
- Tax on Coal
- Non-Commercial Aviation Fuel Tax
- Tax on Vaccines
- Gas Guzzler
- Superfund Taxes on Petroleum Products
Taxes of Other States
Generally, the University is not liable to pay state sales taxes of other states if the transaction is consummated in the State of Georgia. However, the University is liable to pay taxes of other states if the title passes in that state.
Agency funds are not exempt from the payment of State and Federal Taxes
University employees performing official travel are exempt from taxes charged for hotel and motel rooms. Exemption Forms can be downloaded from the GSW website. Click on Business & Finance in the drop down box. Click on Business Forms and then on the Hotel/Motel tax exempt form and then print (prior to leaving on official business). It is not uncommon, however, for hotels and motels not to accept the Exemption Form. If an employee is required by the hotel or motel to pay a room tax, the employee will be reimbursed for the amount of tax paid along with other official travel expenses.
If any specific information on tax responsibility is required, it may be obtained by calling Procurement.
Purchases for Personal Use
State statutes declare it to be unlawful for any employee or official of the University to purchase, directly or indirectly, through Procurement, or through any agency, material, equipment or supplies or other things of value for the personal or individual ownership of himself or other persons. Any violation of the requirements or participation in the unlawful practice or practices outlined, by employees of the University, shall be deemed a misdemeanor and punishable as such.
With the exception of subscriptions and dues, it is State and University Policy that materials, equipment and services not be paid for in advance. If, however, freight and/or handling charges can be saved, or discounts can be taken, prepayments will be made if it is in the best interest of the University.
The University has a Sam's Direct Card. Purchases made on this card will be handled by a pre-payment method. No pick ups can be made without a typed, hand delivered purchase order. Pick ups can be arranged by calling ahead so the material/merchandise can be picked up from the service desk.
Conflict of Interest
State statutes forbid any employee of the University to have a financial or personal interest, directly or indirectly, in the purchase or sale of any material, equipment or supplies or in any firm, corporation, partnership or association furnishing any such material, equipment or supplies to the Georgia State Government or any of its departments, institutions or agencies. Any violation of the requirements or participation in the unlawful practice or practices outlined, by employees of the University shall be deemed a felony and shall be punishable by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years.
Gifts and Gratuities
State statutes declare it to be unlawful for any employee to accept any rebate, gift, money or anything of value or any promise, obligation or contract for future reward or compensation from any person or firm to whom a purchase order or contract may be awarded. Any violation of the requirements or participation in the unlawful practice or practices outlines, by employees, shall be deemed a felony and shall be punishable by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years.
Equipment Requiring Electrical or Other Utility Connections
Prior to the writing of specifications for electrical or mechanical equipment, or any equipment requiring the connection of other utilities such as natural gas, water, oxygen, or other industrial gases, availability of such utilities must be verified by Physical Plant.
Physical Plant cannot install or allow to be installed any equipment that has requirements for electrical service, plumbing, heating/cooling, ventilation, or other service without first verifying that adequate power or connections exist within a building, or that power or other required connections can be made available.
Physical Plant should be made aware of plans to purchase any equipment or fixture, where the physical size or weight of the item may require structural modifications to doorways, floor or ceiling supports, or other architectural structure.
Maintenance and Service Agreements
Procurement shall keep current files on all maintenance and service agreements pertaining to office and mechanical equipment that is owned or leased by the University.
Procurement shall notify all departments that have equipment covered under maintenance or service contracts of a forthcoming expiration in a time frame that will allow departments to request renewal or cancellation of new agreements.
It shall be the responsibility of any department that acquires new equipment during any fiscal year, to request the initial maintenance or service agreement for such equipment at the time the manufacturers warranty expires. If there is any question as to the length of the manufacturers warranty for any given piece of equipment, Procurement will assist in ascertaining the date of expiration.
Maintenance of Computing Hardware
OIIT is responsible for and should be notified of computing hardware and all micro-computer equipment problems. OIIT is responsible for assisting you in diagnosing and solving the problem. This policy is intended to provide one common contact for maintenance and repair of computing equipment.
Any outside repair costs incurred will be charged to the appropriate budget after estimates are received and permission to proceed is obtained from the budget chair.
Prompt Payment of Invoices
By Executive Order issued by the Governor's Office on May 7, 1985, all State Agencies are to pay invoices within thirty (30) days.
When the normal process is followed, this Executive Order presents no problems. However, occasionally invoices are not mailed directly to Procurement or Accounting Services as requested on the purchase order (PO) and end up with the end-user. If for any reason, an invoice is mailed or sent to your department, you must forward immediately to Accounting Services so the purchase order (PO) can be validated and the invoice processed for payment.