Section: Purchasing Index: E-1
It is the responsibility of the Purchasing Office within the University of Houston-Victoria Finance Department to organize and administer the procurement of supplies, materials, equipment, and services for the University in a manner that will result in the best value pursuant to Texas Education Code Section 51.9335. The Purchasing Office shall have the final authority for determining the best value for the University and shall issue policies and procedures to help ensure that the procurement of goods and services comply with state and federal laws and institutional policies and procedures.
(References: University of Houston System Administrative Memorandum 03.B.01, Purchasing Guidelines, University of Houston System Purchasing Guidelines, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-81, as applicable)
Within certain limitations, University departments have been delegated the authority to make direct purchases of commodities and services by voucher or ProCard. This purchasing mechanism is generally authorized for purchases from one vendor of dollar amounts of less than $3,500 per transaction with federal funds and less than $15,000 per transaction with all other funds (i.e. non-federal funds), including freight and delivery charges, as well as purchases of other specifically authorized items. In addition, vouchers utilizing state funds are subject to the restrictions contained in the Comptroller’s online resource for purchase policies and procedures known as eXpendit.
Purchasing shall maintain an online Purchasing Manual containing procedures, guidelines and specific information related to common types of campus purchasing activities. Purchasing shall also maintain an online ProCard Manual containing procedures, guidelines and specific information for University non-travel credit card transactions. The procedures detailed in the Purchasing Manual and ProCard Manual are by reference, included in this policy.
Only those persons authorized to do so may commit University funds. An obligation incurred by a person not authorized to commit University funds or that is made in violation of University guidelines will become the personal responsibility of that individual and not the University. When using agency funds (Fund 9) for the procurement of goods, materials and supplies, departments will be considered the custodian (not owner) of those funds for an entity outside the University and shall make any expenditures of such funds within the consent guidelines and best interest of the owner of those funds.
Regardless of the source of funds or dollar level of purchase, University personnel will purchase from state certified Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) to the fullest extent possible and will make a good faith effort to meet state, UH System and campus goals for doing business with HUBs. The Purchasing Manager is designated as the University's HUB Coordinator and shall have authority for requisitioned procurements awarded to HUB vendors.
Capital Assets: Any real property (such as land, buildings, etc.) or personal property (such as equipment, furniture, artwork, etc.) that meets the capitalization threshold for that asset type and has a useful life of at least one year (two years if purchased with federal grant/contract funds). The capitalization threshold for personal property, such as vehicles, furniture, and equipment, is generally $5,000. See the State Property Accounting Process User’s Guide for a detailed listing of capital assets and capitalization thresholds.
Certifying Signatory: The University employee who is authorized to certify expenditures for a school, department, project, or division and whose signature, email approval, or approval through electronic workflow must appear on any expenditure document initiated by that unit.
Controlled Assets – Items such as computers and other electronic devices costing between $500 and $4,999.99 that do not meet the capitalization threshold but must be secured and tracked due to the nature of the item. See the State Property Accounting Process User’s Guide for a complete listing of items classified as controlled.
Delegated Departmental Purchaser: Any employee in a department that has been delegated the responsibility to make purchases on behalf of the department. This includes all employees who have a ProCard, initiate purchases, or approve purchases. Designated delegated purchasers must have a general knowledge of basic purchasing procedures, complete annual training, and complete an Authorization of Delegated Departmental Purchaser Form each year to acknowledge and obtain approval of their delegated responsibilities. Department heads are responsible for insuring that the training and form are completed each year by all employees that have been delegated purchasing responsibilities.
Emergency Purchase: A purchase of goods or services so badly needed that the University will suffer financial or operational damage unless they are secured immediately.
Federal Funds: Funds received directly or indirectly from a federal government agency.
Higher Education Assistance Fund (HEAF): Funds provided by the State of Texas legislature (Texas Constitution Article VII, Section 17(a)) to support specified types of capital expenditures by higher education institutions. HEAF funds are subject to certain expenditure restrictions and local fund bidding and purchasing guidelines.
Historically Underutilized Business (HUB): A for-profit corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or joint venture, with a principal place of business in this state, in which at least 51 percent is owned, controlled, operated, and actively managed by one or more persons who have been economically disadvantaged because of their membership in a certain group, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American women, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans and/or Service-Disabled Veterans.
Local Funds: Generally, funds that are not appropriated to the university by the legislature; usually have less purchasing restrictions than state appropriated funds. Restrictions on grants may supersede normal university guidelines for local funds; agency funds (fund 9) generally have no purchasing restrictions.
Open Market Purchase: Expenditures where formal bids are either required or designed. This includes purchases from either state or local funds for goods and services for which competitive sealed bids are solicited in the market place from the Texas State Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL).
Proprietary (Sole Source) Purchase: Purchase justified only when an equivalent product is not available.
Purchase Order (PO): A written purchase contract of offer and acceptance executed by and under the authority of Purchasing for the University. Must be created prior to the commitment or obligation.
State Appropriated Funds: Funds appropriated by the Texas Legislature in the General Appropriations Act, whether held inside or outside the State Treasury. These funds include general revenue, special line items, HEAF funds, and other funds designated as state funds.
State Contract: A term contract (usually 12 months) awarded by the State Comptroller’s Statewide Procurement Division to establish a common source of supply for items used by a majority of the state agencies, accessible using TxSmartBuy, the state’s eProcurement system.
Purchases Delegated to Departments
- Most goods costing less than $3,500 per transaction with federal funds or less than $15,000 per transaction with non-federal funds, including freight and delivery charges.
- An exception is Controlled Assets, generally valued at $500 or more, and Capital Assets considered personal property, generally valued at $5,000 or more, which must be requisitioned through Purchasing.
- Another exception is expenditure contracts on state funds for any amount, which must be initiated through contract management in Business Services then requisitioned through Purchasing once executed to facilitate required state reporting. Requisition through Purchasing is not required for contracts paid with local funds under the delegated department threshold of less than $15,000.
- There are other limited exceptions, which are described in detail in the Purchasing Manual.
- Procedures for emergency purchases and proprietary purchases can be found in the Purchasing Manual.
Purchases through the Purchasing Office
- All purchases not delegated to University departments shall be requisitioned through the Purchasing Office.
- All Controlled Assets, generally valued at $500 or more, and all Capital Assets considered personal property, generally valued at $5,000 or more, must be requisitioned through Purchasing.
- Expenditure contracts on state funds for any amount must be initiated through contract management then requisitioned through Purchasing once executed to facilitate required state reporting.
- Formal Purchase Orders shall be initiated via a Purchase Requisition submitted to Purchasing in electronic workflow. Purchasing will follow required bid procedures and shall have final discretion and responsibility for vendor selection and award of requisitioned procurements.
- Purchasing shall make provisions for emergency, sole source or other proprietary purchases and will make the determination, based on information provided by the department, as to whether requests are sufficiently documented to qualify as a true emergency or sole source purchase.
- Purchasing shall follow written bid procedures as established in the Purchasing Manual, that are in compliance with governing legislation and System policy.
Acquisition of Goods and Services - Section 51.9335 of the Texas Education Code authorizes institutions of higher education to acquire goods or services by the method that provides the best value to the institution, including:
- Competitive bidding.
- Competitive sealed proposals.
- Catalog purchase.
- Group purchasing programs.
- Open market contract.
Best Value - Also, pursuant to Section 51.9335 of the Texas Education Code, the institution shall consider the following:
- Purchase price.
- Reputation of the vendor and of the vendor’s goods or services.
- Quality of the vendor’s goods or services.
- Extent to which the goods or services meet the institution’s needs.
- Vendor’s past relationship with the institution.
- Impact on the ability of the institution to comply with laws and rules relating to HUBs and to the procurement of goods and services from persons with disabilities.
- Total long-term cost to the institution of acquiring the vendor’s goods and services.
- Any other relevant factor that a private business entity would consider in selecting a vendor; and
- Use of material in construction or repair to real property that is not proprietary to a single vendor, unless the institution provides written justification in the request for bids for use of the unique matter specified.
Additional Best Value Criteria – The following criteria shall be considered in addition to those stated above in determining the best value:
- A vendor proposal must meet the requirements of the institution’s solicitations document.
- A vendor proposal that is non-responsive to the criteria set forth in the institution’s solicitation document shall be rejected.
Procurement Card (ProCard)
- The Purchasing Manager is designated as the primary ProCard Administrator. The Alternate ProCard Administrator is the Purchasing Specialist.
- A ProCard may be requested by completing and submitting a Procurement Card Account Application Form.
- Each University ProCard cardholder must sign a Purchasing Cardholder Agreement acknowledging their responsibility for ProCard privileges before receiving their card.
- All ProCard holders must also complete an Authorization of Delegated Department Purchaser Form before receiving their card and annually thereafter.
- All cardholders shall be required to participate in initial training prior to card issuance and annual mandatory training thereafter. The ProCard Administrator has the responsibility for providing or coordinating necessary training, maintaining cardholder agreements and conducting periodic individual cardholder audits to help ensure compliance with University policies and procedures and to prevent fraud.
- Department heads are responsible for overseeing the use and administration of ProCards within their department even though they may delegate certain administrative tasks to others within their department.
- All department heads and ProCard holders must comply with the guidelines specified in the ProCard Manual.
- Purchasing or Finance will notify the department head of any known or suspected instances of non-compliance with these guidelines, including failure to:
- Complete required annual training.
- Complete annual Authorization of Delegated Department Purchaser Form.
- Enter or correct transaction information in a timely manner.
Depending on the number and severity of the non-compliance, Purchasing, at its discretion, may inactivate or cancel a ProCard either temporarily or permanently for that user.
Purchaser Certification and Ongoing Continuing Education (CE) Training
- Purchasing Manager - The Purchasing Manager shall be required to have the Certified Texas Contract Developer (CTCD) certification or be on track to obtain the CTCD certification within 24 months of position hire date. Certification requirements, including required CE training, must be maintained while holding the position.
- Purchasing Assistant - The Purchasing Assistant shall be required to have completed the Basic Texas Purchaser course or be on tract to complete the course within 12 months of position date.
- The Comptroller shall verify, at the time of annual appraisal, that the required CTCD certification is being maintained by the Purchasing Manager.
- A basic tenet of good business practice is to pay for goods and services after they have been received. This is also the University’s policy, subject to specific exceptions listed in the Purchasing Manual.
- The cost center Certifying Signatory authorizing an advance payment is responsible for ensuring that the vendor provides the goods or services to the University and will be responsible for recovering the payment if the vendor fails to do so.
Vendor Contracts Providing Full or Partial Exclusivity for the Campus
Provision for certain goods or services may be awarded to one or two vendors who can provide best value to the University. This may include campus vending contracts, office supply contracts, stationary contracts, etc. Exclusive vendor contracts can only be established by Purchasing or the UH System on behalf of component campuses. The objective of such contracts is to gain benefits that may include lower costs, better service, increased reliability, consistency of product quality, or achievement of HUB or other institutional goals. See UHV Policy E-12, Contract Administration, for more information on contracts.
The responsibility for the University’s image lies with Marketing & Communications, as assigned by the President. In compliance with UHV Policy A-42, Communications and Marketing, the format and design for all marketing materials, including newsletters, brochures, flyers, and certificates should be reviewed by the Director of Marketing & Communications. This also applies to T-shirt designs, promotional items, banners, signs, and anything using the university logo. Additionally, departments should submit drafts of all advertisements, both print and electronic communications, prior to release or placement, to the Director of Communications and Marketing, who will review, finalize and return them. The use of state funds for printing services has additional restrictions described in the Purchasing Manual.
Resources Available on UHV Intranet
Approval on August 26, 2019
Robert K. Glenn, Ph.D.
Next Review Date: August 26, 2022
Origination: Finance Department