University Policy 2106 details the policies and procedures related to the purchase of goods and services. This policy delegates purchasing authority for many small purchases to certain employees at the departmental level. An explanation of the requirements for purchasing goods and nonprofessional services at varied price points is listed below. The amount of time required to process an order varies, but routine purchases should be completed within processing times shown.
Individual Departments – $5,000 or less
- Purchases may be made by individuals with organizational financial responsibility and their designees through eVA, Purchasing Charge Card (P-Card), or Payment Request (for specific items listed on the Payment Request form only). For one time-purchases that are not already under contract, departments are to attempt to use Micro SWaM, or if not practical SWaM (small, women, and minority-owned businesses) vendors. Departments may locate Micro/SWaM vendors at the following link: https://www.sbsd.virginia.gov/directory/.
- The $5,000 departmental threshold must not be circumvented by “splitting orders”. “Splitting orders” is defined as awarding multiple orders within a short time period to the same vendor that would exceed the delegated signature authority and prevent appropriate competition. Purchases that are $5,000 or less, but are expected to regularly recur, should be bundled and sent to the Purchasing Department for execution.
- Over $5,000 up to $200,000: For purchases where the one time or cumulative estimated cost of the materials, supplies or services is greater than $5,000 but less than $200,000, at least three written quotations should be obtained. At least two quotes must be from Micro/SWaM vendors. In cases where two certified Micro/SWaM vendors are solicited and the price is determined to be fair and reasonable the third competitive quote is not required. Administrative lead-time is approximately 5 to 10 days.
A 10-day public advertising period is required for purchases valued at more than $200,000.
- Over $200,000, Invitation for Bids (IFB): For purchases where the one time or cumulative estimated cost is expected to be $200,000 or greater, competitive sealed bidding is required. Bids should be solicited from at least six sources. Solicitations are to include a minimum of four Micro/SWaM vendors. IFB’s are advertised in eVA and on the Purchasing Web Page. Sealed bids are opened and read aloud at a public bid opening. When appropriate, a Notice of Award or Notice of Intent to Award is publicly posted for 10 days after the applicable decision has been made. Administrative lead-time is approximately 21 days, but may be as long as 60 days depending on the complexity of the order.
- Over $200,000, Request for Proposals (RFP): For purchases expected to exceed $200,000, competitive sealed proposals, resulting in competitive negotiations is required. Proposals should be solicited from at least six sources. Solicitations are to include a minimum of four Micro/SWaM vendors. RFP’s are advertised in the Washington Post, eVA and the Purchasing Web Page. Sealed proposals are not opened in public. When appropriate, a Notice of Award or Notice of Intent to Award is publicly posted for 10 days after the applicable decision has been made. Administrative lead-time is typically 60-180 days depending on complexity. There is no mechanism for an expedited RFP.
Conflict of Interest Policy
The University expects its employees to comply fully and promptly with the Conflict of Interest Policy. Breaches of the disclosure process, including (a) failures to comply with such process, whether by virtue of an employee’s refusal to respond or by his or her responding with incomplete or knowingly inaccurate information, (b) failures to remedy conflicts, and (c) failures to comply with a prescribed management plan, will be forwarded to the appropriate University unit for investigation and appropriate action as follows:
1. Any employee who knowingly violates the provisions of Virginia Code §2.2-3100 et. seq. or §2.2-4300 et. seq. is guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced up to a year in jail. Any employee may NOT be prosecuted if PRECEDING the conflict action:
- The employee made full disclosure of the facts, AND
- The employee relied on a written opinion by the Attorney General or the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council stating that their actions did not violate the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act.
2. If convicted for this violation, the employee shall, in addition to any other fine or penalty provided by law, forfeit their employment. In addition, any employee who violates the requirements of this policy may otherwise be disciplined by the University.
3. Employees who violate outside employment requirements detailed in Section II. A. 4 by not obtaining prior written approval from their supervisor and other institutional officers as required in this policy regarding outside interests may be required to take annual leave equivalent to the amount of unapproved time used for outside employment, repay the University for time paid but used on outside employment, or otherwise disciplined by the University.
Rules Regarding Taxes and Freight Charges
The university is exempt from paying sales tax in Virginia except for the tax on lodging and some prepared food (when purchased using non-Mason funds). If you buy something on behalf of the university and request reimbursement, you will not be reimbursed for sales tax. View the Sale and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption or contact Purchasing & Accounts Payable at 3-2580 for a copy of the University’s Sales Tax Exemption Certificate.
- All goods should be purchased “FOB Destination”. This means that the vendor pays the freight charges for shipping the goods to the ordering department, the vendor retains title to the goods until the carrier delivers the goods, and any claim for loss or damage incurred during delivery shall be between the vendor and the carrier.
- Delivery FOB Destination without any qualifying language following the term is the preferred method of purchase.
- A department may pay freight charges and/or change the FOB point when the product could otherwise not be purchased.
- Departments are cautioned that changing the FOB point can create problems in the event the product is damaged or lost in transit.
- Departments should always choose the least expensive freight delivery option unless there is an urgent need for expediting.