University System of New Hampshire
Financial and Administrative Procedures

PURCHASING POLICY

Procedure: 6-001
Issued By: USNH Director of Purchasing
Issued Date: 03/01/1996
Revised Date: 12/11/2014

A. SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY

All purchases from and sales to external parties will be in accordance with the Purchasing Policies of the University System of New Hampshire (USNH). The policy below covers all purchases except real estate, investments and insurance. The policy also covers sales of surplus material. Each USNH institution may establish more restrictive policy to meet its individual needs.

Purchases and sales are the administrative responsibilities of the USNH Treasurer. Under his/her direction all purchases will be made for the USNH in accordance with applicable federal and state statutes. USNH strives to procure all goods and services through the use of appropriate contracts, and terms and conditions to protect both buyer and seller. Purchases will be conducted on an open and competitive basis and without favoritism in order to obtain the maximum value. Interested suppliers will receive fair and impartial consideration. Adequate safeguards will be provided to insure that the best interests of the State of New Hampshire and of the institutions of the USNH will be served by timely purchases of acceptable quality at minimum costs.

Purchases not previously budgeted which may substantially affect the cash-flow of the USNH, purchases which require contracts in a format other than normal purchase orders or contracts and purchases to be made on a "time" basis (payment over more than one fiscal year) or with a charge for interest require prior approval by the USNH Treasurer or his/her designee.

B. DETAILED POLICY

  1. Delegation of Authority. The Board of Trustees, through the bylaws of the USNH, has authorized the USNH Treasurer (who is also the Vice Chancellor) to execute all contracts, leases, grants, deeds, negotiable instruments and other legal documents on behalf of USNH and its component institutions. This authorization includes the authority to oversee/administer the purchasing of all goods and services for the USNH. The purchase of goods and services, the sale of surplus/salvage goods and the disposal of any items of value for the USNH is delegated by the USNH Treasurer to the USNH Director of Purchasing, (referred to hereafter as the Director of Purchasing), who is responsible for the operation of the USNH Purchasing Office. The Director of Purchasing may delegate, under stipulated conditions such responsibilities, in part or in whole, to designated agents on the respective campuses. To be valid, delegations must be in writing and on file with the Director of Purchasing. Said designated agents may not further delegate these responsibilities or authority.

    The USNH Treasurer, the Director of Purchasing and his/her designated "agents" are the official USNH contact with its suppliers, and are the only individuals authorized to execute purchasing agreements.

  2. Source of Funds. USNH Purchasing procedures and the authority to purchase are applicable to all transactions regardless of source of funds. In some cases, such as under sponsored agreements with the federal government, more stringent rules may be specified when funds are awarded. In these cases, the rules of the funding source apply. Whatever the source of funds, in no case will purchasing procedures apply which are less stringent than those for USNH.

  3. Competitive Bids Required. USNH requires competitive bids to keep costs at a minimum and to give interested suppliers an equal opportunity to supply goods and services to the USNH. Non-proprietary specifications giving clear and accurate descriptions of the technical requirements for the material, product or service to be procured should be used whenever possible. Proprietary names may be quoted for information; they may not be used to limit competition.

    New Hampshire RSA 21-I:22-a requires that all competitive bids (RFBs) or proposals (RFPs) valued at more than $35,000 contain "...within the body of the document the objective criteria by which each submission will be reviewed, if there are particular requirements that will receive more weight in the review of the submission, and the standards upon which any award will be based."

    Purchases will be made from the supplier submitting the lowest responsive and responsible bid including all considerations such as freight, cash terms, price, maintenance, life cycle cost, delivery, supplier acceptability (including supplier's past history with USNH and data provided on the USNH Substitute W9 form) and quality of product or service unless, in the judgment of the requisitioner, with the approval of the USNH Treasurer or the Director of Purchasing or his/her designee, the best interests of the USNH would not be served by such an award. In case of identical low, responsible bids, the award decision will be made to the registered New Hampshire supplier if only one; by lot among the registered New Hampshire suppliers if more than one, or by lot among the suppliers if there is no registered New Hampshire supplier.

  4. Ethical Practices and Conflict of Interest. Individuals purchasing goods and services on behalf of USNH must conduct business in a professional manner and, all qualified vendors must be given an equal opportunity to compete for USNH business.

    Purchasing decisions should be made with integrity and objectivity, free from any personal bias or benefit. In addition, employees of USNH purchasing offices as well as those faculty and staff purchasing goods and services, shall conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Ethics established by the National Association of Educational Procurement. www.naepnet.org/?page=CodeOfEthics

    It is the responsibility of all employees to work to maintain the good name of USNH, to develop and maintain good relations between USNH and its vendors, and to keep in mind that personal contacts form much of the basis for the opinion of USNH by its vendors.

    USNH employees shall refrain from accepting gifts or gratuities from vendors. Employees who are responsible for making purchasing decisions, or who are in a position to influence purchasing decisions, shall refrain from accepting gratuities or benefits from any vendor, for they may be construed to influence such purchasing decisions.

    Employees shall not do business in the name of USNH with companies in which they, or an immediate family member, hold a financial interest, unless full disclosure of the facts of the matter and the employee's financial interest are first made to, and approved in writing by the USNH Director of Purchasing. Employees who would benefit financially from a given prospective supplier selling goods or services to the USNH may not participate in the supplier selection process.

    The USNH does not purchase services from its students or employees, except through normal payroll procedures. This includes individuals employed by one USNH institution who are providing services to another USNH institution. Occasions may occur when it is in the best interest of the USNH to purchase goods from either an employee or student. The purchasing office at the campus where the purchase will be made must complete a price comparison prior to granting approval for the purchase. In those instances where an employee or student of USNH has a regularly established business, the USNH may do business with that company. The following criteria must be met before any purchase may be made: the business must be registered with the New Hampshire Secretary of State, the nature of the business is such that it is not related to the work the employee does for USNH, and the business entity can show that it regularly does business with a variety of other individuals or companies not associated with USNH in any manner.

    Companies that prepare and furnish complete specifications to be used in a competitive bid shall not be allowed to submit a bid or furnish those items during any initial contract; however, exceptions may be made in the area of developmental work where it is normal to select firms that have done the most advanced work in the field or when the contractor preparing the specifications is acting as an industry representative and is preparing non-proprietary specifications meeting general standards of the trade. In these instances, a company may provide specifications and also bid on a given project. Exceptions may be made by the USNH Treasurer, Director of Purchasing or his/her campus designee when there has been full advance written disclosure of the circumstances.

    University System of New Hampshire development efforts provide all prospective donors the opportunity to contribute to the USNH college/university of their choice. Development efforts are conducted separately and without regard to present or prospective business relationships which the college/university may have with donors. The status of an entity or individual as a past, present or expected future donor to USNH or any of its institutions shall not be considered in, and shall have no effect on, USNH's decision whether or not to engage in a business transaction with the entity or individual. Donations/gifts and purchases of goods/services are separate transactions and may not be co-mingled; each must stand on its own. A USNH college/university may, on a regular or special campaign basis, solicit support from the business community, both individual members of companies and the companies themselves, including businesses that are suppliers to the college/university and businesses that are not.

  5. Purchasing Documents. Because proper wording in signed documents is the basis for legal consideration of purchasing agreements, all purchases from external sources will be made on the USNH prescribed forms approved by the Director of Purchasing. Nonstandard forms and any additions or deletions to standard forms must be reviewed and approved by the Director of Purchasing who will consult with the Senior Contract Officer and/or USNH General Counsel as needed.

  6. Unauthorized Purchases. Any individual committing USNH funds without proper authorization does so at his or her own financial risk. USNH may consider the purchase to be void and decline to pay the invoice. In such a case, the individual has acted at his or her personal financial risk and the supplier may look for payment from the individual who placed the order.

  7. Timely Orders and Emergencies. Each institution, department or office is responsible for advising the appropriate purchasing office of its anticipated requirements far enough in advance so that the purchasing function can proceed in a timely and orderly fashion.

    In emergency situations when the purchasing offices are not open and when a responsible individual deems prompt action necessary, commitments may be made in the name of the USNH within established policy. The appropriate purchasing office must be notified the following working day to explain the circumstances. Documents outlining the particulars relative to the emergency purchase must be included in the notification. The purchasing office will ensure that the transaction is within policy and was required to meet an emergency need.

  8. Use of Campus Facilities. Campus facilities which provide goods and services will be utilized to the fullest extent whenever beneficial, feasible, economical and practical.

  9. Purchase of Goods and Services for Private Use. Because USNH facilities and employee time may only be used for purposes related to USNH's mission as an educational, nonprofit institution, personal purchases or purchases for non-student organizations affiliated in some manner with a USNH institution cannot be arranged. Similarly, a department may not place a personal order for an individual and then have that person reimburse the department. USNH also does not request discounts for these individuals or groups from its contracted suppliers.

  10. Regulations. The Anti-Kickback Act of 1986 (41 U.S.C. 51 et seq) was passed to deter subcontractors from making payments and contractors from accepting payments for the purpose of improperly obtaining or rewarding favorable treatment in connection with a prime contract or a subcontract relating to a prime contract. Where applicable the procurement policies and procedures of the USNH recognize the provisions of this Act.

    As required, 41 Code of Federal Regulations Section 60-1.4, 60-250.4 and 60-741.4, related to equal employment opportunity without regard to race, age, color, religion, sex or national origin, and to affirmative action for disabled veterans, Vietnam Era veterans and the handicapped, are incorporated into sub-contracts and purchase orders.

  11. Small Business/Diversity Relations. USNH encourages and supports the use of local businesses and businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans. It is USNH practice to provide these concerns maximum practicable opportunity to participate in purchasing opportunities.

  12. Policy Review. The Director of Purchasing is responsible for constantly reviewing Purchasing policies, for recommending changes, and for forwarding requests for exceptions to the existing policies to the USNH Treasurer. Any changes or exceptions to the policies must be approved by the USNH Treasurer, or his/her designee.

  13. Declaration and Disposal of Surplus Items. The disposal of any equipment, supplies or materials with a fair market value in excess of $500,000 will be carried out in accordance with the USNH Board of Trustees policy BOT.VI.C Disposal of Property. Items with a value of less than $500,000 may be donated to a non-profit agency, sold or transferred to another department within USNH, or sold to the public. Any item deemed to be of significant interest or cash value ($1,000), but less than $500,000, may be advertised for a special public bid by the campus Purchasing Office where the item(s) was declared surplus. Items still not disposed of by donation, transfer, or sale may be scrapped. The sale of real estate is addressed separately under the real property procedure BOT VI.C.3 General Policy on Disposal of Real Property.

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