Learn about Compliance
Learn about Mason Purchasing Policy >>
- Commonwealth of Virginia General Terms and Conditions / George Mason University.
- University Policy Number 2106 provides the university’s policies and procedures regarding the purchase of goods and services. This policy delegates purchasing authority for many small purchases to certain employees at the departmental level.
- Individuals with organizational responsibility may purchase goods and services using several procurement methods:
- Virginia’s electronic ordering system (eVA)
To complete purchases costing less than $2,000 except those specifically exempted. These purchases may be charged to the Purchasing Charge Card or billed to the university.
- The Purchasing Charge Card (P-Card)
For items costing less than $2,000. Purchases that are exempt from eVA include registration fees for conferences and over-the-counter purchases made at the site of the sale and picked up by the cardholder. The exemption is not applicable to orders placed on a vendor’s website or by telephone. For purchases that are not exempt from eVA, a confirming purchase order in eVA is required.
- The Payment Request form
For certain payments and reimbursements.
University Policy Number 2106 specifies that the Purchasing Department is responsible for purchasing and leasing all goods and services for the University that cost $2,000 or more. The policy also specifies that only those individuals who have received an annual letter of authority from the Senior Vice President are authorized to sign contracts or make obligations on behalf of the university for spending levels of $2,000 or more.
The $2,000 threshold applies to the total cost of the purchase, regardless of the number of payments made to the vendor or service provider.
Purchases exceeding the authorized dollar limitations must be processed through the Purchasing Department. The dollar threshold must not be circumvented by “splitting orders”.
“Splitting orders” is defined as awarding any one vendor multiple orders within a short time period so that the total goods or services purchased exceed the $2,000 limitation.
The Purchasing Department is generally responsible for purchasing all goods and services for the university that cost $2,000 or more. Several specific individuals have been granted authority up to $4,999. A complete list can be viewed on the shared drive in the Purchasing folder.
University faculty, staff, and students are not permitted to sign contracts or make obligations on behalf of the university to a private vendor for amounts valued at $2,000 and above (University Policy Number 2106), except for those individuals with specific delegated signature authority.
Failure to comply with this policy may result in loss of departmental purchase authority. Additionally, individuals who violate this policy may be held personally liable for the financial commitment.
Improper Charges Against State Funds
The CAPP Manual dictates that all expenditures of state funds be considered essential to the operation of the university.
Under the general rule set forth in Section 2.2-1822 of the Code of Virginia, the Department of Accounts may question any State-funded expenditure. As a result, all State-funded expenditures (including grants and contracts) are subject to public scrutiny, and anyone authorizing a purchase should not only determine that the benefit to the university justifies the use of State funds, but should consider the appearance of unusual purchases by the agency and by State government in general.
Since individual circumstances vary widely, adequate documentation for unusual purchases should always be included with the voucher.
The following list contains examples of expenditures determined by George Mason University to be improper uses of State funds. This list is intended to provide general guidance in judging the appropriate use of State funds. However, any State-funded expenditure may be questioned, even those that are not included on the following list.
Improper Expenditures Examples:
- Gifts or flowers (see flower exemption above).
- Charitable contributions.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Snacks for employees.
- Coffee service, machines or supplies for personal use. Coffee machines only may be purchased using state funds provided the machine serves community use. A memo from the department head must accompany the purchase requisition. The coffee machine becomes and remains property of the university.
- Retirement parties or employee going-away parties.
- Group luncheons for employees.
- Holiday cards or decorations.
- Subscriptions, except for bona fide business purposes, and not to exceed one year.
- Non-business related newspapers or magazines.
- Books for classes (unless they remain the property of George Mason University).
- Picture framing (unless the item remains the property of George Mason University).
- Framing of award certificates.
- Replacement of stolen or lost employee personal articles.
- Personal items for employees.
- Employee clothing (non-uniform).
- Tuxedos or formal wear.
- Cash advances.
Unallowable Items for Personal Use
The following items may be purchased for communal use and not personal/private use. The purchases must be approved in advance by the approving official for the fund/org.
Communal use is defined as being available for use by an entire department and visitors to that department.
Personal/private use is defined as being used exclusively by a single individual (as in a private office).
A statement citing the reason for the purchase and that the items are for communal, not personal use, must be prepared and signed by the approving official for the fund/org prior to the purchase. This approval statement should be submitted with the monthly P-Card statement or retained with the receiving documents for other payment methods.
- Band aides, First aid kits.
- Hand sanitizer.
- Coffee makers (household quality). The coffee maker becomes and remains property of George Mason University.
- Paper plates, paper napkins and plastic cutlery (only for student groups in support of a particular event, reimbursed with food and beverage items through the Food and Beverage process.)
Allowable Purchases for Student Clubs
Student clubs and organizations are defined as those student activities that are funded by student fees, self-generated revenue, or both.
The following additional payments, which enhance student life, are permitted for student clubs and organizations:
- Balloons for events.
- Sound equipment.
- Food for events that directly support the club’s mission.
- Flowers for events.
- Refreshments (non-alcoholic) for club meetings.
Know the Mandatory Sources >>
The Code of Virginia requires that certain goods and services be procured from designated state agencies and non-profit vendors. These vendors are registered in eVA.
The Supply Room Companies is the mandatory vendor for office supplies.
The Code of Virginia requires that all furniture including metal and systems furniture, dormitory furniture, office furniture, seating, office systems and wood furniture be purchased from Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE) via eVA.
Understand Conflict of Interest Policy >>
§ 2.2-3103. Prohibited conduct
No officer or employee of a state or local governmental or advisory agency shall:
- Solicit or accept money or other thing of value for services performed within the scope of his official duties, except the compensation, expenses or other remuneration paid by the agency of which he is an officer or employee. This prohibition shall not apply to the acceptance of special benefits that may be authorized by law.
- Offer or accept any money or other thing of value for or in consideration of obtaining employment, appointment, or promotion of any person with any governmental or advisory agency.
- Offer or accept any money or other thing of value for or in consideration of the use of his public position to obtain a contract for any person or business with any governmental or advisory agency.
- Use for his own economic benefit or that of another party confidential information that he has acquired by reason of his public position and which is not available to the public.
- Accept any money, loan, gift, favor, service, or business or professional opportunity that reasonably tends to influence him in the performance of his official duties. This subdivision shall not apply to any political contribution actually used for political campaign or constituent service purposes and reported as required by Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) of Title 24.2.
- Accept any business or professional opportunity when he knows that there is a reasonable likelihood that the opportunity is being afforded him to influence him in the performance of his official duties.
- Accept any honoraria for any appearance, speech, or article in which the officer or employee provides expertise or opinions related to the performance of his official duties. The term “honoraria” shall not include any payment for or reimbursement to such person for his actual travel, lodging, or subsistence expenses incurred in connection with such appearance, speech, or article or in the alternative a payment of money or anything of value not in excess of the per diem deduction allowable under § 162 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended from time to time. The prohibition in this subdivision shall apply only to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Governor’s Secretaries, and heads of departments of state government.
- Accept a gift from a person who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official duties under circumstances where the timing and nature of the gift would cause a reasonable person to question the officer’s or employee’s impartiality in the matter affecting the donor. Violations of this subdivision shall not be subject to criminal law penalties.
- Accept gifts from sources on a basis so frequent as to raise an appearance of the use of his public office for private gain. Violations of this subdivision shall not be subject to criminal law penalties.
Understand Mason Green Purchasing Policy >>
Know 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.
Know Ethics in Public Contracting >>