Purchasing Office

Faculty and Staff Handbook

  1. Introduction
  2. Purchasing Ethics
  3. Purchasing Delegation
  4. Bid Requirements
  5. Best Value Procurement
  6. Requisition Types
  7. Order Types
  8. Getting Started - Departmental Order Process
  9. Receipt of Services and Materials
  10. Purchases by or from Employees
  11. State Contract
  12. Sole Source
  13. Emergencies
  14. Request for Proposal
  15. Contracts and Procedures
  16. Construction, Renovation and Facilities Contracts
  17. TPASS Procurement Manual
  18. Establishing Contractual Relationship on Authorized Department Purchases

Introduction

This document has been designed to provide an overview of the purchasing process at UTSA. The primary function of this page is intended to familiarize faculty and staff with the basic information necessary to communicate with the Purchasing Office.   The purchasing process can be a complex procedure because of various rules and regulations imposed by UT Systems, Federal and State laws. This guide briefly outlines some of these rules. For detailed information and instructions on actually preparing requisitions please call your Procurement Specialist.

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Purchasing Ethics

First consideration shall be given to the objectives and policies of the University of Texas System and it's component institutions. Every effort shall be made to obtain the maximum ultimate value for each dollar of expenditure. Honesty in sales representation shall be demanded. Buyers and others authorized by or under these regulations shall not accept personal gifts or gratuities that might in any way result in an obligation to individuals or firms seeking business. All qualified, reputable bidders shall be given equal opportunity to submit bids on a uniform basis when competition is possible. No bidder shall receive special consideration or be allowed to revise a bid after the time set for opening formal bids. Any violations of these purchasing ethics shall be reported promptly by the chief business officer to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. Further information of U.T. System Ethics Policies and Guidelines is available on UT systems web server. Any one authorized to purchase using UTShare PeopleSoft needs to submit a signed Conflict of Interest form to the Purchasing Department.

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Purchasing Delegation

All procurement contracts, whether oral or written, must be handled by the official purchasing agents designated by the Vice President of Business Affairs. The only exceptions are those divisions, departments, or offices, to whom the purchasing function has been specifically delegated, unless advance written authorization has been obtained from either the Purchasing Office or the chief business officer for other persons to do so. The delegation of this authority shall not exceed the small purchase bid limit established by UTSA, (see below for bid limits and regulations). For further information on the delegation of purchasing authority, go to UT System Regents Rules, chapters IV and XI.

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Bid Requirements

Please note that all orders exceeding $ 25,000.00, regardless of source of funds, should be placed on the internet for 21 days to satisfy competitive bidding requirements.

Dollar Range Procedure
$0 to $5,000.00 Authorized limit for departmental Procurement Specialists. Bids not required. Alternate with HUBs (Historically Underutilized Businesses) when available.
$5000.01 to $25,000.00 Purchasing must solicit a minimum of three informal quotes with at least two from HUBs.
$25,000.01 + Purchasing must solicit formal written bids from a minimum of three sources, of which two must be from HUBs.

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Best Value Procurement

Personnel authorized to make procurements on behalf of the UTSA shall determine in his/her best judgment the most appropriate and effective method of acquisition for each assigned requisition or request for purchase. In making this determination, authorized personnel will have a variety of procurement options, including, but not limited to: TPASS (Texas Building Procurement Commission) Contracts, Group Purchasing Contracts, Open Market Procurements, DIR (Department of Information Resource) Contracts, Catalogue Purchases, and UT System Contracts. The Buyer's objective is to acquire the product or service meeting the needs of the end user while ensuring that the procurement achieves:

  1. "best value"; as defined above and authorized in the Section 51.9335, Education Code;
  2. compliance with the Regents' Rules and Regulations;
  3. compliance with the UTSA's HUB (Historically Underutilized Businesses) policies;
  4. conformance to standards of ethical conduct;
  5. compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.

In determining "best value", the Procurement Specialist shall consider:

  1. purchase price;
  2. reputation of the vendor and the vendor's goods or services;
  3. quality of the vendors goods or services
  4. extent to which the goods or services meet UTSA's needs;
  5. vendor's past relationship with UT and/or components of the UT System;
  6. impact on the ability of UTSA to comply with the laws and rules relating to the HUB program;
  7. impact on the ability of UTSA to comply with the laws and rules relating to the procurement of goods and services from persons with disabilities;
  8. long term cost to the institution of acquiring the vendor's goods or services;
  9. any relevant factor that a private business would consider in selecting a vendor.

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Requisition Types

  • State Contract Orders

    State contracts are issued by the General Services Commission for use by all state agencies. Best Value Procedures require review of state contract prior to purchase.

  • Large Orders

    Requests are processed by the Purchasing Department.

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Order Types

  • Small Orders

    Small Orders are issued by University Departments for items costing $5,000.00 or less.

  • Purchase Order (PO)

    Actual document generated from PB4's for goods/services.

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Getting Started - Departmental Order Process

Orders under $5000 may be processed by the department, and should not be sent to purchasing unless the order involves:

  • Gases
  • Hazardous substances
  • Temporaries
  • Grocers
  • Radioactive Materials
  • University Contracts & Blanket Orders
  • Faculty/Staff Position Advertisements
  • Leases (space).
  • Printing Services using State Funds.

Authorized Purchases

Personnel authorized to make procurements on behalf of the UTSA shall determine in his/her best judgment the most appropriate and effective method of acquisition for each assigned requisition or request for purchase. In making this determination, authorized personnel will have a variety of procurement options, including, but not limited to: GSC (General Services Commission) Contracts, Group Purchasing Contracts, Open Market Procurements, DIR (Department of Information Resource) Contracts, Catalogue Purchases, and UT System Contracts. The Buyer's objective is to acquire the product or service meeting the needs of the end user while ensuring that the procurement achieves:

  1. "best value"; as defined above and authorized in the Section 51.9335, Education Code;

  2. compliance with the Regents' Rules and Regulations;

  3. compliance with the UTSA's HUB (Historically Underutilized Businesses) policies;

  4. conformance to standards of ethical conduct; and

  5. compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.

The department should begin the purchasing process in the following manner:

  • Prepare functional specifications, proper packaging, and specific quantities for item(s) requested.

  • Determine the estimated total dollar amount for the requisition. Remember, a firm quotation must be obtained prior to any purchase order being issued.

  • For orders over $1000.00, it is highly recommended that you receive a written quotation from the Vendor prior to purchase.

  • Assign an account number and determine the source of funds (local, grant or state) Contact Budget Office at 458-4213 regarding questions about accounts.

Notes

  1. Order Splitting:

    Orders may not be split into smaller procurements in an effort to avoid the competitive bidding requirements. Procedures are in place to check for this. Please do not do it.

  2. State Funds:

    No food, drink, entertainment, or floral arrangements.

  3. Memberships:

    Memberships dues paid with state funds require approval of the VPBA.

  4. Federal Grant Funds:

    All orders placed using Federal Grant Funds (Project Accounts) must be reviewed by the Office of Grants and Contracts.

  5. Animal Orders:

    All live Animal orders must have prior approval by the Animal Lab.

  6. Vehicle Purchases:

    All vehicle purchases must have the prior approval of the UTSA Fleet Manager.

  7. Advertisements for faculty/staff positions

    All Advertisements for faculty/staff positions require approval by Human Resources (HR)

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Receipt of Services and Materials

Once Material or services are received at proper destination:

See Central Receiving web page

  1. A receiving report is issued as a receipt to allow payment for goods.

  2. An invoice is received by the proper voucher authority.

  3. A voucher is The University's authorization to pay a vendor.

  4. If goods are received by Receiving, Accounts Payable will prepare the voucher for
    payment.

  5. If goods or services are received at any location other than Receiving, the using
    department must notify Receiving.

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Purchases by or from Employees

from Regents Rules, Pt.2, IV (7)

Purchases are not permitted from any officer or employee of the System unless the cost is less than that from any other known source and until approved by the component chief administrative officer and the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor or the Chancellor. Purchases of equipment or property of the System by any officer or employee may be made only after authorization by the component chief administrative officer and the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor or the Chancellor. Details of such transactions shall be reported in the component Docket or Minutes of the Board. Approval and reporting are not required for purchases made at public auction.

see also V.T.C.S. Article 601b. Sec. 3.19

"No member of the Commission or an employee or appointee of the Commission shall be interested in, or in any manner connected with, any contract or bid for furnishing supplies, materials, services, and equipment of any kind to any agency of the State of Texas...".

...and Commission Rule 1 TAC 111.4

"...agencies involved in purchasing under the GSC delegated authority shall adhere to the following ethical standards, An employee may not: "...participate in work on a contract knowing that the employee or member of their immediate family has an actual or potential financial interest in the contract."

It is the position of the General Services Commission that this requirement upon members or employees of the Commission applies to officers or employees of any state instrumentality, such as The University of Texas at San Antonio, when they are involved in purchases under the authority delegated by the Commission.

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State Contract

State contracts are issued by the Texas Procurement and Support Services (TPASS) for frequently used items. When ordering from the contract, no bidding is necessary as bids have already been taken by the TPASS. Contract information is available electronically in the purchasing module of Point Plus or online at Texas Procurement and Support Services Search

The Texas Procurement and Support Services (TPASS) issues annual contracts to take advantage of volume purchasing discounts and to reduce repetitive bidding on commonly used items. A large variety of items are covered by these contracts. These include supplies, equipment, materials, and services.

State Contracts should be used if they represent the best Value. A purchase request should be sent to the Purchasing office and and a State contract purchase order should be issued. The Texas Procurement and Support Services has authority to administer and execute state contracts. A typical contract term lasts one year. During that time, the price of the item is expected to remain firm. The contract price is available to all state agencies and institutions in Texas.

Automated Contract

State contract items referred to as "automated" are computerized at the TPASS (found on the white pages of the contract books). Each item in the automated contract books has a unique 11-digit commodity code assigned to it. The first 3 digits designate the class, the next 2 digits designate individual items in that class, and the remaining digits designate the specific type, size, grade, and packaging of the item. The 5-digit code number listed to the left of the commodity code indicates the vendor for that item. There is no limitation to the number of classes per requisition as long as all items are being supplied by one contract vendor.

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Sole Source/Proprietary Purchases

A sole source purchase is a procurement of materials or services that are available from only one source, including:

  • items that are available from one source because of patents, copyrights, secret processes, or natural monopolies;
  • films, manuscripts, or books published and available from only one source;
  • electricity, gas, water and other utility services;
  • captive replacement parts or components for equipment;
  • books, papers and other library materials for a public library that are available only from the person holding exclusive distribution right to the materials;
  • maintenance services required to maintain warranty coverage.

A sole brand purchase is a procurement of materials or services of a particular specified brand that may be available from multiple sources. A sole brand is the result of a competitive solicitation of equipment or competing brands to determine the best brand. Usually a brand is selected to standardize purchases over a period of time when an investment must be made such as specialized training.


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Emergencies

An emergency purchase is defined as "a purchase of goods or services so badly needed that the University will suffer financial or operational damage unless they are secured immediately." An emergency purchase does not necessarily negate the use of competition, but dictates rather, that normal purchasing procedures cannot be followed. Use of competition is in fact, encouraged when possible. When the purchase of a product or service needs to be processed on an emergency basis, a written justification must be provided and include the following information:

  1. The reason for the emergency purchase by explaining what the emergency is and/or what caused the emergency situation.

  2. The financial or operational damage/risk that the University will accrue if the needs are not satisfied immediately.

  3. Why the needs were not or could not be anticipated so that products/services could have been purchased using standard procedures.

  4. The reason and process used for selecting the vendor.

Prior to committing a Purchase Order for the product or service, the justification must be reviewed and approved by the Purchasing Department.

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Request for Proposal

Request for Proposals, (RFP), are generally used purchases of highly technical supplies and services when subjective criteria may be needed to evaluate and select the vendor(s). This method may also be used when contracting for highly specialized or professional services such as medical, social, architectural, or engineering professions. The RFP process is much more complex than that of the bidding procedures, and includes such processes as evaluation teams and matrixes, negotiations, and contracting. A more detailed explanation of the RFP process can be found under the Texas Procurement and Support Services Request for Proposal Guidelines. The UT System Office of General Counsel, also produces sample proposal formats which must be used in the RFP process.

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Contracts and Procedures

There are times when a purchase order is not sufficient, and a signed contract is needed to complete the procurement process. The UT System Office of General Counsel provides components with sample contracts and special procedures for the use of these contracts. The contracts, models, and guidelines can be found at http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/contracts.htm. Contracts obligating the University to the procurement of goods and services must first be routed to the Purchasing Office to ensure proper procurement procedures have been followed.

Contracts should never be signed without the express written consent of either the Chief Business Officer or the Purchasing Office. Remember, Contracts are the final stage of a proper procurement and must never proceed the purchasing procedures.

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Construction, Renovation and Facilities Contracts

All requests for physical and structural changes must be routed through UTSA Facility Services via a work order. If it is deemed necessary to contract out for these services, Facility Services will issue a purchase request to the Purchasing Office. Purchasing will then follow proper bidding procedures as well as the regulations outlined by the UT Systems Office of General Counsel.

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Establishing Contractual Relationship on Authorized Department Purchases

When securing authorized goods or services under the department's authority*, departments should always establish a contractual relationship with a vendor prior to receiving any goods and services from the vendor. This contractual relationship can be established through use of a small dollar purchase order, an authorized procurement card transaction, or a formal contract signed by a UTSA authorized signatory and the vendor.

Payments to vendors will be made only with a properly completed purchase order, a permitted procurement card transaction, or an authorized contract.

If a department receives goods and services without first utilizing the methods described above, the department will be required to complete the Service Agreement process or another similar contracting process, including securing all necessary approvals and supporting documentation. The template Service Agreement and routing instructions for completing the Service Agreement are located on the Business Contracts Office Website at http://www.utsa.edu/purchasing/contracts/. The office of the Associate Vice President Administration will document these Service Agreements and other contracts for goods or services received prior to the date of the agreement for possible reporting to appropriate executive offices.

If your department requires any assistance in completing the Service Agreement or contracting process, please contact the Contracts Office at x4975 or x4069.

*Departments are not authorized to issue a purchase order or use a procurement card for any purchase exceeding $5000, nor issue a contract other than a purchase order in any amount. All requests for goods and services exceeding $5000 must be submitted to the Purchasing Office to comply with competitive procurement policies.

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