Purchasing OfficeLocation 31-10 Thomson Avenue - E-405 Long Island City, NY 11101 Office Hours 9:00 to 5:00pm Phone | Fax718.482.5525 | 718.609.2166 EmailPurchasing@lagcc.cuny.edu
First, ask yourself -- is it really an emergency? The law defines "emergency" for the purposes of procurement as an unforeseen occurrence or condition or situation where a threat to health, safety, life or limb exists, or where a necessary service is threatened with material damage or suspension, or where College buildings or property are threatened? If not, Purchasing cannot treat the purchase on an emergency basis. Lack of planning does not constitute an emergency.
‣ If it is a real, immediate emergency event - such as a fire, an explosion, a flood, then:
▶ If it's not a fire or flood, Purchasing may, in appropriate circumstances, treat the purchase on an emergency basis - the Purchasing Department refers to this type of situation as a "Less Immediate Emergency".
▶ Purchasing will need your help in preparing a memo for your College Vice President to send to Vice Chancellor of Budget and Finance and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel to advise them of intended emergency purchase. The memo must:
▶ Purchasing will conduct a solicitation following "emergency" procedures
▶ Purchasing will conduct an (abbreviated) review of the vendor's credentials and references
▶ Purchasing will submit the proposed contract to (depending on funding source) NYS Comptroller or NYC Comptroller for registration.
▶ An "emergency" is defined as an instance or situation where a threat to health, safety, life or limb exists, or where a necessary service is threatened with material damage or suspension, or where College buildings or property are threatened. The memo should include an explanation as to the reason why no contract is in place and state clearly what the College is doing to make sure that the emergency procurement is a temporary one and that it is not being used to avoid normal competitive bidding.
▶ Bear in mind that the legal standard for bypassing normal required competitive bidding is that there be an "unforeseen occurrence or condition." An unforeseen occurrence or condition is one that is not anticipated or one that cannot be remedied by the exercise of reasonable care (e.g. expiration of a contract is not considered an emergency since it could have been foreseen).
▶ Yes, the New York State Printing Law applies, which means that there are lower thresholds.
▶ An ITB is required for all purchases in excess of $5,000. The law requires that Purchasing keep samples of the printed product(s) in the procurement file for inclusion with the voucher (request for payment) and for audit purposes.
▶ Any health/environmental concerns to students, staff, or visitors and any violations of EPA regulations, must be reported immediately to your College's designated Health & Safety officer.
▶ If purchases or corrective actions are required, then call Purchasing immediately. Purchasing will work with appropriate EH&S staff and determine the appropriate procurement methodology and engagement of vendors.
▶ All purchases must follow required procedures, and purchases that are not made by Purchasing are unauthorized and subject to non-payment by the University and subject to personal payment by the unauthorized individual. If you have not been specifically granted authority to commit the College or the University, then you are not authorized to make commitments on behalf of the College/University.
▶ Call Campus Facilities/Planning first; furniture acquisition generally requires review and approval of the Department of Campus Facilities, which should be consulted before requisitions for furniture are prepared.
▶ "Don't forget about leading time for furniture purchases - typically 8 weeks"
▶ Make sure there are adequate funds before submitting your request. Determine the exact source of funds prior to initiating any purchase requisition for a specific amount number or similar concrete data (college procedures vary, but most colleges require you to consult with your College's Budget Office or your departmental budget). A signed requisition with designated funding source is the only way to start the procurement process (verbal discussions do not constitute a commitment). Get hard information from your Budget Office before proceeding with a requisition to ensure expeditious action from Purchasing. Specific college procedures vary, but the underlying principle remains the same!
▶ Complete the College's official purchase requisition. Each purchase requisition is to be limited to those commodities that are similar in nature and that are (presumably) available from one vendor.
▶ "Do it Yourself" Purchases. Certain (limited) purchases can be made directly by:
▶ Engaging a consultant is handled just like other purchase of services. If any consultant's services are needed for an amount exceeding $20,000 in a fiscal year, then Purchasing is required to follow all procurement procedures for same. See Q&A #22 - "How Do I Get Stuff" and Q&A #40 - "Why aren't there consistent regulations governing ALL purchases?".
▶ The first step is to provide to Purchasing a (Complete and accurate*) purchase requisition stating the detailed scope of work and specific qualifications required of the consultant needed.
▶ Purchasing will assist you in the required determination of whether a curent employee (who is able and qualified) can fulfill the requirements as part of his/her duties and whether hiring a consultant is less expensive and more economically advantageoos than hiring a new or additional employee. *Detailed specifications are an essential part of a complete and accurate purchase requisition. Ask your Purchasing Department for a specifications outline or specifications questionnaire to help you prepare your specifications.
▶ If no current employee can fulfill the requirements as part of his/her duties, then Purchasing then will assist you in identifying potential consultants who meet your requirements and recommend appropriate procurement procedure.
▶ Consultants must sign a University-standard agreement (Independent Contractor Agreement) and complete various state-required forms (including a Disclosure of Planned Employment before beginning work, an Annual Employment Report each year(April 1 - March 31) that the contract is in effect, and a Claim for Payment form in order to be paid).
▶ Consultant agreements that involve expending an amount exceeding $20,000 in a fiscal year must be reviewed and approved y the Office of General Counsel and signed by the General Counsel.
▶ Consultants cannot be an employee at the University or an employee of any of the Colleges at the University or an employee of SUNY or any other New York State agency or have been on New York State or New York City payroll during the previous two years.
▶ Consultants engaged by the University or the Colleges must be qualified to work for CUNY, including having appropriate immigration status and tax status.
▶ IMPORTANT TO KNOW: CUNY employees may not take part in any contracting decision relating to a family member. See Executive Order No.
▶ A bidder is considered "not responsive" (as defined under New York State law) to specifications if his/her bid submission/proposal does not "respond" to the IFB/RFP solicitation's requirements, i.e. does not meet minimum requirements.
▶ A bidder is deemed "not responsible" (as defined by New York State law) if he/she does not meet the three criteria of demonstrated ability to perform, fiscal integrity, and moral integrity. The designation "not responsible" may be used when porr past performance has been documented, in which case Purchasing, in consulation with OGC, determines that a bidder/proposer's past performance (for a College of the University) fails to meet the required standard of being "responsible" as defined by New York State law.
▶ Since they are a valuable source of information, you are encouraged to seek information from potential vendors about their products and services. To help you in dealing with suppliers, we offer the following suggestions:
▶ Once a procurement process is underway - that is, once a decision is made to make a purchase, you are prohibited from direct contact with any vendor who may be selected to provide the goods or services. See Q&A #42 and Procurement Lobbying Act - Advisory memo from Senior Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Frederick P. Schaffer and Controller Barry kaufman to the Presidents, Provosts, and Vice Presidents of Finance and Administration dated January 23, 2007. Also see: http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/aboutogs/regulations/advisoryCouncil/2006PLRules4.11.pps
▶ Purchases made using a college's non-tax levy funds ("soft money") are not governed by State procurement laws and are not covered by these guidelines; however, sound purchasing procedures must still be followed. This means that the Purchasing Department generally will follow State procurement laws and university regulations. The Purchasing Department will consult with CUNY's Office of General Counsel as necessary. If any contract is funded partially from New York State funds or if a contract is expected to convert (in full or in part) to New York State funding in some future year, full compliance with New York State regulations and these guidelines is required from the outset. It would be wise to remember that purchases made with private monies still look like a University procurement.
▶ Contracts funded by separately-incorporated related entities such as auxiliary enterprise corporations and student associations are also outside State procurement laws and these guidelines. Nevertheless, as with a college's soft money purchases, related entity purchases must be conducted in a fiscally prudent manner and, in the case of auxiliaries and associations, in compliance the CUNY Office of Budget and Finance Financial Management Guidelines for these entities. The CUNY Related Entities Group counsel in CUNY's Office of General Counsel can assist with related entity procurements.
▶ Similarly, the regulations and procedures of the State and CUNY do not apply to the CUNY Research Foundation ("R.F."), a legally separate New York State corporate entity established to administer externally funded grants. The CUNY Research Foundation's policies and procedures do reflect sponsor mandates (federal agencies, etc.) and parallel CUNY to the extent feasible. Purchases against R.F. grants are processed independently from State Purchasing, following R.F. procedures and using R.F. forms. While not subject to State laws re procurement, procurements conducted by the R.F. still requires diligent stewardship of resources and consideration that the purchases appear to the world as being made by CUNY.
▶ There are cases in which funding for a single purchase may be shared by both State and R.F. resources. In such a circumstance, both sets of procedures must apply, with the stricter standards (usually State) prevailing. It is vital therefore that good planning and coordination occur to successfully process split-funded purchases.
▶ Be reminded, however, that no construction-related contracts (and that includes architectural, consultant, and engineering services) may be entered into by any University-related entity without DDCM regardless of funding source.
I. Purchasing will need to conduct a formal Invitation for Bids (IFB) or Request for Proposals (RFP) process for purchases >$20k. These steps are required:
‣ prepare IFB/RFP document,including detailed specifications.
‣ submit draft IFB/RFP to OGC for review.
‣ obtain OGC approval as to form for IFB/RFP
○ submit IFB to Corporate Counsel for review; obtain pre-approval (Corporation Counsel is not reviewing the intended purchase for its worth and wisdom; it is reviewing the draft IFB for its legal terms). Corporation Counsel normally takes 30-60 days to review the draft IFB.
○ no pre approval required.
‣ advertise in City Record and NYS Contract Reporter
‣ prepare board resolution for OGC review; submit board resolution for next Board of Trustees meeting
‣ conduct pre-bid (pre-proposal) meeting and site visit
‣ receive written questions from vendors
‣ prepare responses to written questions (Addenda); seek assistance from OGC; distribute Addenda to vendors
‣ receive bid packages from vendors
‣ conduct bid opening and public reading of Bid Prices (no public proposal opening)
‣ conduct review and analysis of bid (proposal) submissions (seek OGC help as needed) - complete bid submission/proposal analysis form
‣ select lowest responsive and responsible bidder
‣ check vendor responsibility - review NYS responsibility questionnaire, check VENDEX, references, financials
‣ prepare contract
‣ send award letter to vendor; have vendor sign (several copies of ) contract
‣ send contract to OGC for signature by General Counsel on behalf of the University after confirming that the Board of Trustees passed the board resolution
‣ the following steps diverge, depending on source of funding:
○ Submit contract to Attorney General for review and approval (AG reviews contract to ensure that CUNY and NYS are protected, not whether it's a wise purchase
○ If AG approves, it will forward contract package to Office of State Comptroller which will evaluate the contract and the solicitation documents in relation to the following criteria: wisdom of purchase (consistent with CUNY mission), availability of funding, acceptability of terms (e.g. a contract locking prices for 30 years likely won't pass muster), legality and propriety of the solicitation process followed (no collusion, maximum competition, proper advertising; completion of appropriate forms). OSC will then approve and then register the contract. Only upon registration is the contract valid.
○ Submit contract to City's Imaging Office who will index and scan the document and send it electronically to the City auditor, who is the primary examiner for CUNY, who reviews the contract for signature by Comptroller's office. Only after the Comptroller has (electronically) signed is the contract a contract.
II. If the College wishes to purchase a particular service or commodity through a competitive solicitation when the commodity or service is available from a Preferred Source, CUNY Contract, and/or State Contract, then the College must compile defensible documents and evidence justifying why the Preferred Source Contract, the CUNY Contract, and/or State Contract was not selected.
‣ No one at the Colleges is authorized to enter into any agreement that is construction-related unless the agreement is first approved by CUNY Central's Department of Design Construction and Management (DDCM), regardless of the source of funding (and even if the services are free to the college). The Colleges are prohibited from: making any alteration or change to the physical structure of the campus; making any capital improvements and/or initiating any acquisitions involving renovation, repairs, or improvements to facilities, whether interior or exterior; and/or hiring of architectural and engineer consulting services without prior approval as to form by the DDMC regardless of funding source. Therefore, call Campus Facilities/Planning first. See Chancellor Goldstein's memorandum dated June 4, 2004 with respect to this topic.
‣ Solicitation ("bidding") efforts and contracts with architectural consulting services and engineer consulting services, regardless of source of funding, are conducted by DDCM, which will develop a solicitation document that includes contract terms and, as applicable, DDCM-approved specifications and drawings, prevailing wage rates, environmental assessments, insurance and indemnification requirements, external agency approvals, and code compliance requirements. Construction projects, from planning to solicitation efforts to contract administration, require thorough and advance planning and extra time and effort to develop and administer.
‣ Please note that (design) consultants may not respond to solicitations on (or be awarded contracts for) construction projects that they have designed.
‣ Call your College's Information Technology department ("IT") first. All computer-related procurements require approval by the University's Chief Information Officer ("CIO") to prevent duplicative and incompatible purchases. Purchasing is prohibited from executing requisitions for computer-related goods until approved by the University CIO.
‣ Call Purchasing right away. Provide Purchasing with the purchas order number for reference.
‣ If instructed by Purchasing to do so, takes notes: take and keep a detailed log (by date/time and to whom you spoke) regarding what went wrong, and send log to Purchasing
‣ Give Purchasing support in notifying the vendor of problem(s) encountered and, if appropriate, facilitate efforts to give the vendor an opportunity to fix the problem(s).
‣ If the item(s) ordered were not what the user department wanted, then work with the vendor to have the item(s) returned and work with the department to re-order what is needed.
‣ Note that without "proof" (e.g. a record of poor service, non-delivery, inferior products, non-compliance with terms and conditions agreed upon), the University will not be able to refuse to engage this vendor the next time. Purchasing needs your help and input to create a record of what went wrong for its files.
‣ In order to facilitate and advance State-initiated social and economic goals, certain providers have been granted "Preferred Source" status under law by the state of New York. The University is required to purchase approved products and services from these sources, in lieu of other available sources of supply. Procurement from a Preferred Source precludes competitive procurement procedures.
‣ The University is required to purchase from preferred sources whenever possible regardless of price or other considerations; if the College wishes to purchase a particular service or commodity through a competitive solicitation when the commodity or service is available from a Preferred Source, CUNY Contract, and/or State Contract, then the College must compile defensible documents and evidence justifying why the Preferred Source or CUNY Contract, or State Contracty was not selected.
‣ Examples of preferred ssource include Department of Correctional Services (Corcraft), Industries for the Blind and Industries for the Handicapped. There is no requirement to seek competitive pricing when using these vendors. Office of State Funded Purchasing & Contract Staff should be contacted in the early stages of any planned purchases (such as office furnishings) that may be affected by these regulations.
‣ There are four entities identified in the statute:
‣ Guidelines governing use of these sources are available at the following website link http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/procurecounc/pdfdoc/psguide.pdf
‣ A list of Preferred Source Offerings can be found at the following link http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/procurecounc/pdfdoc/pslist.pdf
‣ Your Purchasing Department is familiar with the required procedures to follow when making a purchase using a Preferred Source and will provide guidance when making the determination on what is the most appropriate source to meet your needs.
‣ New York State's Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL") allows members of the public to access records of governmental agencies, including CUNY. FOIL provides a process for the review and copying of an agency's records. When there is a request for documents, records, or statistical information, requesters should be directed to send a written request to the Records Access Officer of your college.
‣ Purchasing Offices must direct all FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requests for information (such as for former contracts and bid prices for previously issued solicitations (Invitations for Bids and Requests for Proposals) to the Campus Records Access officer. Campus Records Access Officers may request assistance on questions related to FOIL requests from OGC (212-794.5382).
‣ FOIL is generally interpreted in favor or providing access to the public, but includes specific provisions under which access to records may be denied. For example, if a ("bid") solicitation is in progress, then the University may deny release of certain documents on the basis that such release may "impair present or imminent contract awards."
‣ Understanding university purchasing policies can be challenging. The Purchasing Department is here to guide you through the process and to assist you in obtaining the goods and services needed while following laws and regulations that protect the University's assets (including money and time).
‣ Purchasing can, with information and assistance from the requester:
‣ The Primary function of the Purchasing Departments at the Colleges is to servce our consituents in securing the commodities and services needed, while complying with applicable laws and regulations. The Purchasing Departments at the Colleges secure the most appropriate materials, supplies, equipment, and services at the lowest available price, consistent with quality requirements and delivery needs. Purchasing at CUNY is considered a vital function, integrally supportive of the University's mission as a premier educational and research institution committed to academic excellence and the provision of equal access and opportunity.
‣ Throughout the University, generic terms are used to refer to various forms of contracts that we use, such as "State Contract" or "OGS Contract". A State Contract can be either:
CUNY is required to purchase from these State Contracts (except that preferred sources take precedence). The University (includes all the Colleges) is required to use these State Contracts whenever available, but call Purchasing if you are interested in purchasing equivalent commodities/services from the open market if cicumstances warrant.
‣ The office of General Services is the central purchasing agency for New York State. OGS also negotiates regional and state-wide term commodity contracts with vendors through a formal competitive process for a variety of consumable supplies and equipment ("State Contracts"). Besides the usual price advantage gainedthrough the power of volume purchasing and formal competition that State Contracts offer, duplicative competitive solicitation efforts can be avoided at the campus level, saving a great deal of time and effort. The OGS web site is very userful in determing if an item is available under State Contract. Contracts are now available for services as well as commodities including temp service personnel and computer consultants to name a few. In order to ensure that you review the latest amendments to each contract it is suggested that you search first by description to find the commodity group number and then go back to the search engine and then repeat the search using the commodity group number in the box provided. The OGS Contracts may be searched through the following link:http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/Purchase/Search/default.asp
‣ CUNY also is permitted to make purchases from current, valid New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) contracts, New York City Department of Edcation (formerly known as Board of Education) contracts, and, in certain limited circumstances, General Services Administration (GSA) contracts.
‣ Every instance of smart buying involves clear, detailed specifications. The requester must provide a clear, accurate descripton of the goods (commodities) and services.
‣ Best value does not necessarily mean only lowest price, and thorough comparative product analysis against established specifications ensures the correct purchasing decision. If a College would like to have the option of not selecting the vendor (who is responsive and responsible and) who offers the lowest price, then the("bid") solicitation document must state and justify the basis of selection clearly prior to the issuance of the solicitation document.
‣ Solicitation of competitive quotes or bids from vendors is possible only by supplying clear specifications which are sufficiently generic to avoid exclusionary consequences, whether inadvertent or deliberate.
‣ Purchasing Department staff, having the responsibility for coordinating the procurement of a wide variety of products and services, cannot have full expertise across the full purchasing spectrum and must, at times, seek the assistance of initiating departmental staff or others in specification development. External expertise for specificaton development may also be sought, whether from OGS, other Colleges, or the private sector, all toward the goal of prudent and proper purchasing.
‣ What laws does CUNY follow?
‣ Are Senior Colleges and Community Colleges subject to different laws?
You are very important to the purchasing process because you are our customer. Purchasing is here to both help you and to serve you. Although we exist in a bureaucratic environment with many rules and regulations (many of which reflect good intentions and serve a meaningful purpose), here's how you can help us so that we can work together to meet your needs:
‣ Plan ahead. Make your major purchases as early in the fiscal year as possible.
‣ Share your expertise; it is needed to facilitate the purchasing process.
‣ Work with(in) the system. The job can get done when we work together.
‣ Learn the system. There are laws and policies that govern how we purchase. As CUNY employees, we are obligated to abide by State laws and University policies.
‣ Don't try to make purchases on your own and then ask for help (forgiveness) afterwards. it's inefficient and frustrating for everyone and often takes longer than if done properly to begin with.
‣ If you have any questions or concerns, contact us. We are here to help you obtain the goods and services that you need and expect.
‣ You are responsible for prudently requesting the supplies, services, or equipment needed for the effective operation of the College and the university.
‣ Tell us right away (and take notes!) if you are unhappy with the goods/services or a selected vendor in any way. Send Purchasing a list of specific reasons for dissatisfaction so your concerns and issues can be included in the Purchasing Department's files and can help provide a basis for not selecting this vendor in a future procurement effort. Vendors should be given written notice of the College's dissatisfaction and provided an opportunity to address the issues raised or fix the problem(s). Take deteailed notes regarding the conversations you have with a vendor who have provided unsatisfactory goods or services, including the date and time of such conversations. Always include name(s) of the individual(s) you speak to. Forward copies of notes to Purchasing. Remember that the State generally frowns upon disqualifying vendors, so strong evidence of dissatisfaction is necessarto disqualify a vendor.
‣ Piggybacking is making a purchase based on an existing, current contract that another government entity within the United States has entered into after a competitive solicitation process. The commodities/services being purchased must match the contract you are trying to "piggyback." The Purchasing Department must seek written approval from New York State OGS before making such a purchase.
‣ To explore the possibility of piggybacking, consult with Purchasing. Please note that piggyback purchases may take up to one month or more.
‣ The University follows these procedures for piggybacking; your Purchasing Department will implement the various steps listed, but may require your assistance with expediting the process:
‣ A "site visit" is an opportunity for prospective vendors to visit the campus location where a project is to be completed or where some work is to be performed.
‣ A "Mandatory pre-bid conference" is an obligation requiring a prospective vendor to attend a conference where details of a project or work to be done can be amplified and explained for the purpose of facilitating the solicitation process. The prospective vendor must attend the entire conference. A reasonable grace period may be permitted for late arrivals, but once the meeting is officially begun, latecomers must be refused entry. Bid submissions from vendors who fail to attend the entire mandatory site visit/pre-bid conference must be rejected.
‣ Frequently a site visit is combined with a pre-bid conference, and often the two events occur at one scheduled time. In all cases, attendance by vendors planning to offer a bid submission is mandatory. The time and location of a site visit and/or pre-bid conference is always specified in the IFB or RFP solicitation documents issued by the College's Purchasing Department or in addenda that may be issued subsequent to the issuance of bid documents.
‣ Purchasing must take attendance (using a sign in sheet that stays in the control of Purchasing Department staff member at all times) at each site visit/pre-bid conference. A Purchasing Department staff member (either the Designated Contact of the solicitation or his/her designee) must be present at the entire site visit/pre-bid conference to ensure that all the potential vendors are provided with the same information.
‣ Questions that arise during the course of the site visit/pre-bid conference are recorded by Purchasing Department staff, and the questions and answers to ministerial questions are mailed to all participating prospective vendors immediately following the event. At the discretion of the Purchasing Department staff responsible for organizing and officiating at these events, the deadline for bid submissions from vendors may be deferred, pending alterations in specifications or other similar considerations, should the site visit/pre-bid conference warrant such modifications. Subsequent to the site visit/pre-bid conference, all attendees will be notified in writing of any modifications in specifications, submission deadlines, and/or any revisions in the scope or essence of the procurement or project under consideration.
‣ The site visit/pre-bid conference is intended to accomplish the following:
‣ A University-wide contract is an agreement that originates as the result of a solicitation conducted by the University that is then registered as a contract with the State of New York. Colleges are required to use University-wide contracts. Only when the subject of these contracts deviates substantially from a College's requirements should an alternative procurement method be considered.
‣ Examples of University-wide contracts include contracts for: computer hardware, computer software licenses, copiers, office supplies, printing class schedules, building automation systems, HVAC maintenance, book binding, hazardous waste removal, and armored car services.
‣ When making a purchase, we are permitted to name a particular brand, model number, manufacturer, or standard, but vendors must be permitted to offer as part of its bid or proposal an alternative product as a proposed subsititute. Vendors must provide supporting evidence that the proposed substitute performs at least as well as the item specified by the College. The Purchasing Department staff will work with the end user to evaluate the proposed substitute product and determine whether it can be deemed an "approved equal". Please remember that "approved equal" is a legal standard, and Purchasing must consult OGC if a proposed substitute is offered.
‣ An IFB is a public solicitation tool that allows the University to select a vendor with price as the only criterion (vendors also must be "responsive and responsible" - both terms are defined under New York State law). Vendors are invited to respond to the University-issued IFB with a bid submission that includes a Bid Price, and, assuming that the vendor that offers the lowest Bid price is responsive and responsible, the University awards the contract to that vendor.
‣ An RFP is a public solicitation tool that allows the University to choose a vendor based on several criteria (not just price) - such as quality, experience, design, availability, and timeliness. An RFP is often the better solicitation tool when you know what you want to end up with but do not know how to design it and want input from vendors. Note: No public proposal opening or reading of prices is scheduled as part of the RFP process since price is not the only criterion. A committee is generally convened to evaluate the proposals. After review of the options offered, the committee will determine the best proposal and vendor for the project.
I. The following are approximate time frames for processing your (complete and accurate*) purchase requisitions into purchase orders or contracts:
‣ Purchases in the following categories generally take 1-2 weeks for Purchasing to process:
‣ Purchases in the following categories generally take 3-4 weeks to process:
‣ Purchases in the followng categories generally take 3-6 months to process:
II. Each of these steps can take several weeks and early planning is key to performing the procurement is the shortest time frame possible.
Here are some guidelines that will help unsnarl the procedural labyrinth and expedite your ordering of much-needed goods and services:
‣ Speak to your Purchasing Department early in the academic year and discuss your needs with Purchasing Department staff who will help you map out the quickest way to make your purchases.
‣ Consult with Purchasing Department staff as the first step in the procurement process.
‣ When you submit a requisition, make sure that it, including the specificiations for the commodities/services, is accurate, complete*, and authorized by the proper department so Purchasing has the information and authority it needs to act.
‣ Be flexible in determining requirements of the commodities/services. If you are specifying a particular brand name product not available on any State pre-approved contract, consider reviewing the specifications of alternate brand products that are immediately available for purchase on existing contracts.
‣ After a commodity or service has been selected, request that the College's Purchasing Department staff research all possible sources that may preclude a public solicitation(sometimes referred to as "bidding"); for example, preferred sources, an M/WBE or small business sources, current University-wide contracts, State of New York, City of New York, (NYC) Department of Education, or other government contracts, singlesource/sole-source. Purchases from these sources can be made fairly quickly because the vendors have been evaluated and vetted by the New York State Office of General Services.
‣ Valuable time is wasted when departments try to circumvent purchasing guidelines by taking improper shortcuts. Such improper "shortcuts" often result in making the process more complicated due to the necessity of subsequent corrective actions. Follow the proper steps from the start.
‣ While a sole source or single source designation may be used to expedite ordering and may preclude a time-consuming (bid) solicitation process, the appropriate criteria must be met. The Purchasing Department is responsible for making the determination of whether or not a sole source procurement or a single source procurement is appropriate. The Purchasing Department is required to create and maintain a file indicating that such a purchase is justifiable and appropriate.
Additional research and inquiry will be required in all cases, and your Purchasing Department staff is trained to provide guidance and seek legal counsel when necessary. An explanation as to why only one source is available or the best option and reasonableness of price (both the total price and the rates and estimated quantities) is required in all cases, and advertisement requirements for purchases in exccess of $20,000 still apply. Please note that proposed purchases via the single-source procurement method are subject to greater scrutiny since this is a procurement method that could be used to circumvent other procurement methods that can appear to be more open, fair, and transparent.
‣ Even if one cannot legitimately avoid the need to issue a (bid) solicitation, there is no need to assume that it will take an inordinate length of time to acquire needed goods and services. A key factor is planning major procurements (anything exceeding $20,000) far enough in advance to allow Purchasing to adequately assess the marketplace, advertise opportunities to prospective vendors, and prepare required solicitation documents. It is imperative that Purchasing Department staff be involved in the acquisition process from the very inception of any project involving a major procurement. Solicitation documents (sometimes referred to as "bid" documents) and the process of advertising, submitting a draft Board Resolution for review, and other preliminary steps may begin during the process of project planning. * Do not allow the Purchasing Department staff to be the proverbial "last to know" of procurement plans under consideration.*
‣ Concocting an "emergency" is NOT an acceptable method of speeding up the procurement process. Declarations of emergencies (events that immediately endanger the lives, health or safety of individuals in the classroom or workplace) are, by definition, rare occurrences, and require special procedures involving senior management working in concert with CUNY's Office of General Counsel. A true emergency (such as a fire, flood, or explosion) should be reported immediately to appropriate Public Safety personnel following College guidelines.
‣ If there's an emergency - a real one, such as a fire or a flood - then regular procurement procedures will be waived. However,
‣ See Q&A #35 - "How long is it going to take (for me to get my stuff)?" re estimated timeframes for purchases.
‣ Contact your Purchasing Department
‣ NYS - "Selling Products and Services to the State of New York - A Guideline for Small Businesses". See http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/purchase/spg/pdfdocs/NysbGuide.pdf
‣ New York State Department of Economic Development - www.empire.state.ny.us (212)803.2200
‣ New York State Office of General Services www.ogs.state.ny.us
‣ New York State Contract Reporter online subscriptions www.nyscr.org
‣ City Record online subscriptions https://a856-cityrecord.nyc.gov/
‣ Your Purchasing Department, who will help you research potential sources for the purchase. By law, we must first consider preferred sources, M/WBE, university-wide contracts, state contracts, other government contracts (DCAS, Dept of Education).
‣ No. You are not authorized to sign any purchasing-related documents on behalf of the College or the University unless you have been specifically granted such authority.
‣ No one (except authorized Purchasing Department staff after receiving approval from CUNY's Central Office of General Counsel should sign any documents provided by vendors under any circumstance. It is rare that the University signs a vendor's form of agreement; Purchasing Departments are obliged to seek CUNY Central OGC review, OGC negotiation (if necessary), and OGC approval as to form before signing any vendor documents.
‣ We are here to facilitate and execute the buying function. The Purchasing Department staff are here to serve our constituents with quality service, timely delivery, and "best value" available in the marketplace, while fostering sound business controls to protect the assets of the University.
‣ Why does purchasing at the University seem so Cumbersome?As a governmental entity, the University is subject to New York State laws, audit, and public scrutiny. Also, the University is committed to fiduciary responsibility and fairness to vendors, which mandates transparency of processes unique toa publicly-funded institution.
‣ Although you may feel overwhelmed by all the purchasing requirements and procedures, bear in mind that the requirements are not intended to confuse or hinder but to ensure transparency of operations and to deter favoritism and malfeasance. It is important also to remember that your College's Purchasing Department staff are available to assist you in navigating the process.
‣ The Purchasing Department is here to help save you money(so that you can spend it on other things your department needs). The practice of competitive solicitation tends to drive prices downward and ensures participation of a representative cross section of qualified vendors, thereby guarding against favoritism and fraud. We are a public university, and we are firmly committed to prudent and effective stewardship of resources.
‣ Purchasing is here to help you avoid incurring personal liablility and negative publicity and to ensure an open process and compliance with laws. To guarantee effective buying for the Colleges of the University, it is essential that the authority to purchase and the responsibility for purchsing be clearly defined: the University has charged Purchasing Departments with the responsibility of buying for the Colleges at the University while following state laws and university guidelines.
The Purchasing Departments at the Colleges ensure compliance with State laws and regulations governing purchasing, ensure cost controls in obtaining reasonable prices, and maintain internal control procedures and maintenance of purchase orders and contracts.
The Purchasing Department functions as the buyer for you. Some Purchasing Departments assign the buying function to particular staff memebers with skills and experience that are commodity-specific. Please contact your Purchasing Department to find out the name of the staff member most likely to be assigned procurement of a particular commodity group appropriate to you needs. (Not all Colleges designate specific individuals for particular areas).
I. What is the role of the OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL ("OGC")? The OGC:
II. What is the role of the OFFICE OF THE UNIVERSITY CONTROLLER ("OUC")? The OUC:
III. What is the role of the University's Board of Trustees ("BOT")?
‣ Under Education Law Section 6206(6), the University Board of Trustees ("BOT") has the power and the duty to purchase materials, services, equipment and supplies and to control and keep up the buildings and grounds occupied and used by the colleges.
‣ The University Board of Trustees authorizes purchases that involve expenditures of $20,000 or more.
‣ The University Board of Trustees Bylaws authorizes the General Counsel to sign all contracts for the purchase of goods and services:
IV. What is the role of the Attorney General's Office?
‣ protects interests of the state of NY and its subsidiaries, including CUNY; and
‣ represents CUNY when there are claims or disputes (i.e. if a lawsuit is filed)
V. What is the role of the New York State Office of General Services ("NYS OGS" or "OGS")?
‣ OGS comprises the state's equivalent of New York City's Department of Citywide Administrative Services; and
‣ OGS has two major roles:
VI. What is the role of the New York State Office of the State Comptroller? - conducts a "worth and wisdom" evaluation
‣ review documents to ensure state laws are adhered to;
‣ review documents to ensure level playing field;
‣ review documents to ensure that selection of vendor was appropriate;
‣ check that references to State contracts are correct;
‣ review piggyback contracts for appropriateness; and
‣ verifies validity of sole/single source designation.
VII. What is the role of the office of (New York) City Comptroller?
‣ the City Comptroller has thirty days to review each contract award and may only object to the award if s/he believes that there is possible corruption in the solicitation or that the proposed contractor is involved in corrupt activity. The registration process can take 6-8 weeks; and
‣ the City Comptroller does not have authority to determine the "worth and wisdom" of a contract award made by the University.
VIII. What is the role of the New York City Corporation Counsel ("Corp Counsel")?
‣ reviews draft solicitation documents (for City-funded projects) before the College may advertise and issues the solicitation; and
‣ protects the interests of the City of New York
IX. What is the role of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services ("DCAS"(often referred to as"DEE kass"))?
‣ the city's equivalent of New York State's Office of General Services (OGS); and
‣ purchasing arm for New York City (the University may make purchases from DCAS's contracts).
X. What is the role of the Financial Information Services Agency (FISA)?
‣ It is the owner of New York City's accounting system
XI. What is the role of the New York State Contract Reporter and the City Record?
‣ State law requires the University and its Colleges to advertise public solicitations in New York State Contract Reporter; and
‣ University policy requires that we also advertise solicitations in the City Record (and it simply makes sense for us to do so since CUNY is in NYC).
I. Who may make purchases?
‣ The Director of the Purchasing Department at your College (and some members of the College's Purchasing Department staff) has authority to make purchases on your behalf.
‣ The University has centralized all purchasing functions in the Purchasing Departments to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations governing purchasing, to ensure cost containment through obtaining reasonable prices, and to maintain internal control procedures relevant to the issuance, approval, and administration of purchase orders and contracts.
II. Who may not make purchases?
‣ Faculty, staff, and administrators do not have authorization to procure commodities or services or to enter into contractual relationships with vendors or to make any commitments on behalf of the College/University except in the limited circumstances set forth below through blanket purchase orders, purchases from Staples, purchases using the P-card, and petty cash purchases.
‣ While it is often appropriate and necessary for faculty, staff, and administrators to provide information regarding an anticipated procurement to the Purchasing Department, only an authorized member of the Purchasing Department may sign a purchase order or a procurement contract. The signature of an authorized member of the Purchasing Department staff certifies that applicable policies have been followed.
‣ Commitments through quotes, work statements, letters, or memoranda, wheteher made orally or in writing, made an unauthorized individual are subject to non-payment by the University and personal payment by the Unauthorized individual. if you have not been specifically granted authority to commit the College or the University, then you are not authorized to make commitments on behalf of the College/University.
‣ Yes, all employees of the City University of New York ("CUNY") (including employees of any of the Colleges of CUNY) are covered by the provisions of the New York State Public Officers Law. A copy of the State Ethics Law and Regulations are available upon request from the college's ethics officer (labor designee) or the State Ethics Commission (1-800-87 ETHICS) - ask for a copy of the blue ethics booklet. Or order it online by emil at www.des.state.ny.us/ethc/ethics.html (click "Publications" in the left-hand column; then "Public Officeres Law Booklet").
‣ Yes, all employees of the City University of New York ("CUNY") (including employees of any of the Colleges of CUNY) are covered by the provisions of the Governor's Executive Order No 1:Establishment of Ethical Conduct Guidelines:
‣ If you are unable to resolve a delivery problem after pursuing the College's regular procedures for tracking deliveries, call your Receiving Department (if you have one) and then Purchasing for assistance.
‣ Once the Purchasing Department has issued the purchase order, and you have received your copy, you are responsible for verifying that the quantity and quality of goods or services received match the specifications on the original order.
‣ If you need the goods or services by a specific date, indicate that on the purchase requisition, and it will be stated on the purchase order. The designation "ASAP" on a requisition is meaningless.
‣ Because only the Purchasing Department can make the determination of whether or not a sole source procurement or a single source procurement is appropriate. The Purchasing Department is required to create and maintain a file that such a purchase is justifiable and appropriate before issuing a purchase order.
‣ A declaration of sole (only) source status by the vendor is not sufficient justification for either designation.
‣ Please note that purchases made through a single source/sole source procurement method are subjet to greater scrutiny since this is a procurement method that could be used to circumvent other procurement methods that can appear to be more open, fair, and transparent. While a sole source or single source procurement method may be used to expedite ordering and may preclude a time-consuming (bid) solicitation process, the appropriate criteria must be met, and the Purchasing Department will help you determine whether it is appropriate.
‣ What's the difference between a single source procurement and a sole source procurement?
‣ For both sole source procurements and single source procurements, Purchasing is required to include in the procurement record information regarding the circumstances leading to Purchasing's selection of the vendor, including the alternatives considered, the rationale for selecting the specific vendor, and the basis upon which a determination was made that the price was reasonable.
‣ Additional research and inquiry will be required in all cases, and your Purchasing Department staff is trained to provide guidance and seek legal counsel when necessary. Reasonableness of price determination is required in all cases, and advertisement requirements for purchases in excess of $20,000 still apply.
‣ Steps involved in a sole source or single source procurement:
‣ No document for a purchase made with New York State funds is a contract until it is registered by the New York State Comptroller. (State Finance Law Section 112)
‣ No document for a purchase made with New York City funds is a contract until it is registered by the New York City Comptroller. (New York City Charter, Chapter 13, Section 328).
‣ If a College administrator or staff member directs a vendor to begin work before a contract is registered, and subsequently the Comptroller does not register the contract, then the administrator or staff member who directed the vendor to begin work may be personally liable for an indebtedness that is ultimately held to be owed to the vendor. It is against NYS finance laws to procure a service or commodity without following required procedures and acquiring necessary approvals and documents in advance. One of these essential, mandated procedures is the registration of the contract by the New York State Comptroller or the New York City Comptroller (depending on the source of funding)
‣ It is the University's policy to take affirmative action to ensure that New York State certified minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises ("M/WBEs") are given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to provide the University with commodities and services at competitive prices.
‣ Article 15-A of the NYS Executive Law encourages all State agencies to maximize business opportunities for M/WBEs by making every effort to place orders with such firms.
‣ The University therefore places high priority on doing business with these firms. Empire State Development has a searchable database that is useful in locating certified businesses and can be found at the following link: http://esd.ny.gov/
‣ By Executive Order, all New York State Agencies are required to take affirmative steps to award purchases to minority-owned and women-owned businesses. The intent is to give those targeted businesses an opportunity to benefit from the massive purchasing activity of the State, on the assumptions that those targeted businesses have been historically excluded from participation and that developing small businesses have not had an equal chance to compete. The University and the Colleges are given M/WBE goals expressed as percentages of total purchasing volume and are instructed to implement and facilitate special outreach initiatives geared toward M/WBEs. While attainment of goals is expected by the University, the University continues its program on a voluntary basis, recommending awarding contracts to M/WBEs where feasible and in the best interests of the University, attempting to strike a balance between the principle of best value and our shared commitment to inclusion and equality of opportunity for all members of our vital business community.
‣ We are responsible for conducting all of our business transactions with high standards - adhering to the highest standards of business ethics.
‣ We are responsible for conducting all of our business transactions with fairness and transparency to garner public trust.
‣ We are responsible for welcoming participation in the procurement process by all qualified and competent business entities offering goods and services congruent with our goals and mission as a world-class University.
‣ As holders of public trust, we are responsible to uphold our fiduciary responsibility towards all of our funding sources for prudent stewardship of those resources. It is important to bear in mind that vendors calling on us are businesses who contribute to the public treasury.
‣ We are responsible to make sure that doing business with CUNY is mutually beneficial - CUNY is entitled to optimal quality of service, timely delivery and "best value" available in the marketplace (not just the lowest price) and vendors are entitled to a fair profit.
‣ Communicating with the vendors is restricted during the procurement process to ensure a level playing field for vendors and to avoid attempts to influence a procurement. And, yes, the Procurement Lobbying Act applies to you, whether you are an employee of the University, one of the Colleges, or you are a member of the business community interested in or doing business with the University. See Procurement Lobbying Act - Advisory Memo from Senior Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Frederick P. Schaffer and Controller Barry Kaufman to the Presidents, Provosts, and Vice Presidents of Finance and Administration dated January 23, 2007 with respect to this topic. See http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/aboutogs/regulations/advisoryCouncil/2006PLRules4.11.pps
‣ The Record of Contact form is a form that each CUNY employee must complete, sign, and immediately submit to the Purchasing Department if s/he receives a Contact from a vendor during a Restricted Period, even if the employee is the Designated Contact.
‣ Definitions in the Procurment Lobbing Act
‣ Requirements of the Procurement Lobbying Act ("PLA"):
‣ What are the consequences/penalties for violating the Procurement Lobbying Act?
Actually, there are. There is understandable confusion arising from the fact that not all acquisitions of goods and services require identical procedural steps. CUNY follows State-mandated rules that are based on numerous factors, such as: (1) the nature or commodity classification of the roducts or services specified; (2)availability of suppliers on existing government or University contracts; (3)Quantitative value of the procurement; and (4)scope and complexity of the acquisition. Your College's designated Purchasing Department staff are trained to identify the appropriate classification of all procurments, and are required to follow the mandated procedure in each case, as explained below.
Here's a general description of how it works:
‣ Once you have submitted a (complete and accurate*) approved requisition for a commodity or service, Purchasing Department staff will determine whether or not the purchase can be made (a) from a NYS Preferred Source (as defined under State law), or (b)through an existing CUNY-wide or New York State(OGS) contract or other government contract, or (c) from a State-certified women-owned, minority-owned, or small business, if the purchase is for less than $50,000. If the purchase can be made through one of these three sources, then a purchase order will be issued without a ("bid") solicitation and, in most cases, without advertising the procurement, since alternative procurement procedures will have already been followed.
‣ A "NYS Preferred Source" is a supplier that has met certain State-established criteria, usually related to employment of econmically disadvantaged or physically challenged individuals.
‣ IMPORTANT TO KNOW: The approved requisition gives Purchasing the authority to begin working on your purchase. Purchasing is not permitted to begin making a purchase without an approved (complete and accurate) requisition.
‣ If the purchase cannot be made from or through a NYS Preferred Source, CUNY-wide contract, other government contract or an M/WBE, then the University is obligated to adhere to the following:
‣ Because it's not just "paperwork", and it is against NYS finance laws to procure a service or commodity without following required procedures and acquiring necessary approvals and documents in advance.
‣ If you do, the invoice will not be paid by Accounts Payable, and you will have to find an alternative source of funds. CUNY employees who direct a vendor to provide commodities or services without an approved contract in place may be personally liable.
‣ There's no guarantee that purchases made in violation of proper procedures will be honored by the College since the required procedures may not result in a purchase that is the same as the one you made. That is, the required procedures may point to a different vendor, product, and/or price than the one(s) you chose. If so, then you'll be personally liable for the purchase you made.
‣ Purchases of commodities of services of low cost and of meager value (most Colleges have a $250 limit) that have proper authorization may be reimbursed to you from petty H:\MBH\PHC\FAQs\FAQs - Version 1-1 (May 2007.pdf 36 Version 1.1 (May 2007) cash. But remember - the University cannot reimburse you for any taxes you pay if you purchase something and seek reimbursement.
‣ Actually, for some items, you can! Policies vary from College to College, but certain (limited) purchases can be made directly, by:
‣ You can't just buy what you need when you need it because compliance with State laws and regulations requires the knowledge and experience of designated Purchasing Department staff. Purchasing Department staff are trained to ensure cost controls in obtaining reasonable prices and compliance with internal control procedures, consistent with the University's commitment to public trust and transparency. The Colleges are all constituent parts of the City University of New York, which is a State political subdivision predominantly funded by public monies, and subject to State laws and University guidelines.
‣ Your College's Purchasing Department/group has expertise in making sure that the College makes its purchases at the lowest available price, consistent with quality requirements, from vendors who have proved themselves to be reliable performers and who meet established standards/requirements. The Purchasing Department is responsible for:
‣ All purchase commitments by the University, of which each of the Collegs is a part, must be made only by authorized individuals acting within the scope of their authority and in full compliance with the laws governing New York State purchasing practices. It is against NYS finance laws to procure a service or commodity without acquiring necessary approvals and documents in advance. Authority for purchases is vested in the Director of Purchasing and Purchasing Department staff. Purchases consummated by other means are unauthorized (if you have not been specifically granted authority to commit the College or the University, then you are not authorized to make commitments on behalf of the College/University) and are subject to non-payment by the University and subject to payment to the vendor by the unauthorized individual purporting to make the commitment on behalf of the University.
‣ Usually because proper procurement processes were not followed.
‣ Often because requester did not sign the "receiving" paperwork promptly after receipt of the goods/services.
‣ Often because requesters make purchases without going through Purchasing and necessary paperwork is lacking, or improperly completed.
‣ In order to process a vendor payment, both a valid invoice and a departmentally certified receiving copy are required. Vendor invoices, packing slips, etc. should accompany the receiving copy forward to Accounts Payable to thoroughly document the transaction.
‣ The University avoids making late payments because: