Revised October 2012
Section 1: General Information
The primary goal and objective of all purchasing activities at the University is to acquire the needs of the campus within statutory, regulatory and procedural guidance in an efficient and effective manner at a fair and reasonable cost with timely delivery and proper performance. As a ‘custodian of public monies’, the operating premise of the Purchasing Department is — integrity and professionalism.
UNCG Procurement Code of Ethics
The Purchase Department personnel exercise sound business judgment and maintain the highest ethical standards in the conduct of University business.
- Foster fair, ethical and legal business practices that promote the University’s mission.
- Grant all competitive offers equal consideration to the extent State regulations and the established policies of UNCG permit and regard each transaction on its own merit.
- Cooperate with trade and industrial associations, governmental and private agencies that are engaged in the promotion and development of sound business methods.
- Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and integrity.
- Demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through verbal or written statements, advertisements or product samples.
- Be prompt and courteous to all legitimate business partners.
- Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar spent.
- Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
Section 2: Who May Purchase?
Purchasing at The University of North Carolina Greensboro is executed under the auspices of the Chancellor pursuant to authorities granted by North Carolina General Statute 143-53 and 116-31. As such, the authority to obligate ‘State funds’, as described in the Executive Budget Act (General Statute 143-1), for requirements of the University flows down from the North Carolina Secretary for Administration through the State Division of Purchase and Contract and The University of North Carolina Board of Governors as provided under North Carolina General Statute 116-31.10 and promulgated in North Carolina Administrative Code Title 1, Chapter 5 (T01:05) and implemented under the State Agency Purchasing Manual.
The execution of these responsibilities is, in turn, delegated through the Office of the Chancellor to the University’s Purchasing Department under the umbrella of the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. As such, the Purchasing Department is the sole department on campus having the authority to place purchase orders and authorize the use of small purchase procedures to acquire commodities (i.e., supplies, materials, and equipment) and contractual services (to include, printing, professional and consultant services) by purchase, rent, lease, lease-purchase or installment purchase. The Purchasing Department also executes purchases of construction repair and renovation as prescribed by General Statute 143-129 and as described by the State Construction Manual, Section 110.6, with authority delegated to the Facilities Operations, Residence Life and Auxiliary Services for pre-award actions.
Applicability of State Purchasing Practices
Per Title 1, Chapter 5B, Subchapter 1505, Paragraph A of the North Carolina Administrative Code (01 NCAC 05B.1505) indicates all public funds irrespective of source, whether special, federal, local, gifts, bequests, receipts, fees, or State appropriated, used for the purchase, rental, lease, installment purchase and lease/purchase of commodities, printing and services shall be handled under the provisions of Article 3 of General Statute 143 and in accordance with rules adopted pursuant thereto by the Division of Purchase and Contract.
The University administratively operates on the principle of decentralized fiscal responsibility (or budget allocations to the college, schools and departments) and internal management control. The administrative head of each unit, accordingly, is responsible for the expenditure of this allocation.
Chapter 143C – State Budget Act prohibits the obligation of State funds prior to these actions and the expenditure of monies for any purpose for which it was not appropriated.
The authority to make purchases from departmental budgets is provided to the Purchasing Department by the authorized submittal of an on-line requisition. In some cases, this authority to approve charges against a departmental budget is delegated by the administrative head to others. Such a delegation, however, does not relieve the primary party from the responsibility for the allotted budget and its use.
Grants and Contracts
The expenditure of budgeted funds from grants or contracts is guided by the University’s Contracts and Grants Policies and Procedures.
Research funds, whether grants or contracts, are considered to be awarded to the University and not the individual principal investigator or a particular department. Purchases that are funded by at least 51% with contract and grant funds are subject to the terms of the grant (GS116-13). Responsible purchasing practices should be followed.
An unauthorized commitment or purchase is considered to be an informal agreement between a supplier or contractor and an employee of the University that is not binding solely because the UNCG representative who made it lacked the authority to enter into that agreement on behalf of the University.
A situation resulting in an unauthorized commitment or purchase includes but is not limited to the following.
- A UNCG employee arranges or permits to receive goods or services when no official contract has been either approved or issued by the University.
- A UNCG employee arranges or permits to receive goods or services that are not included in the existing contract that has been either approved or issued by the University.
- A UNCG employee continues to receive goods or services after the official contract has expired.
- A UNCG employee directs or permits supplier or contractor personnel to deliver goods or services under terms and conditions contrary to those agreed upon in the official contract approved and issued by the University.
- A UNCG employee who is authorized to commit the University to an agreement, but the total dollar amount of the agreement exceeds his or her designated authority.
The Purchasing Department holds the express authority, as created by the explicit language herein, to fulfill these responsibilities; any representation to the contrary or commitment of the University by any individual not having been duly delegated the authority to do so by the Purchasing Department may incur such a commitment as a personal obligation and be personally responsible for any related debt.
“Unauthorized commitments” occur where the authority to obligate the University does not exist nor reside in an individual or a campus department. “Unauthorized commitments” include the act of acquiring (ordering and accepting) commodities and services prior to properly submitting the requirement to the Purchasing Department. Unauthorized commitments are exacerbated by a vendor’s invoicing for payment of such commodities or services prior to such a submittal. Note: “Unauthorized commitments” may take place where there is not a pre-existing Purchase Order as well as when there is a pre-existing Purchase Order which is amended, or changed, without the Purchasing Department’s approval to do so as evidenced by the Purchasing Department’s issuance of a Change Order.
“Ratification” is the process by which the University ‘recognizes’ the unauthorized commitment as an institutional liability, formally consummates the act under a recognized University purchasing instrument, authorizes and makes payment. “Ratification”, however, is not automatic and requires statements of justification by the effected individual or campus department, reviews, consideration and approval, if warranted.
When an “unauthorized commitment” is identified, the Purchasing Department will require the individual committing the unauthorized act to formally address the following points in a memorandum which will accompany a Requisition for Purchase Order:
- What the circumstances were at the time that the goods or services were acquired which precluded the use of proper University procedures, and
- What actions have been taken to preclude a recurrence of the event.
- Acknowledgement that the University’s procedures to process a purchase will be reviewed by/with the effected individual to reinforce the use of these processes.
Should the Purchasing Department find based on the campus department’s memorandum that it would serve the best interest of the University to recognize the “unauthorized commitment”, the Director, Purchasing Department will “ratify” the act and permit the issuance of a purchase order. Setting aside the manner in which the goods or services were obtained, this judgment will be based on:
- whether there existed a valid need,
- whether funds were available, and
- would have otherwise been properly procured and paid
Acknowledgement of the ratification will be made by the Director to the administrative head of the affected campus department, and a copy may be forwarded to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance, as appropriate.
Instances of a flagrant “unauthorized commitment” may be briefed by the Director, Purchasing Department to the Associate Vice Chancellor, and the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, as deemed appropriate. Where the circumstances may warrant, the election of whether to “ratify” the unauthorized act may be based on the decision of Associate Vice Chancellor or Vice Chancellor. Repetitive instances of “unauthorized commitments” may result in further administrative actions.
State and University policy prohibits the Purchasing Department from entering into any purchase contracts for employees. All materials purchased by or in the name of the University remain the property of the State until consumed or disposed of by public sale through surplus property procedures.
Exceptions to this policy are items purchased explicitly for retail sales, such as items handled by the Bookstore. All purchase orders issued by the Purchasing Department must be for official use by the University departments or agencies.
Materials purchased with University funds are the property of the State and not intended for personal use. It is therefore not permissible to use University supplies or equipment for personal use.
Purchases originate with the authorized submittal of a purchase order requisition and are consummated with the issuance of a purchase order by the Purchasing Department, or use of the PCard (VISA).
No purchase nor any action leading to the commitment of the University may be initiated without the submittal of a fully funded and properly executed on-line requisition. Failure to submit a proper requisition will delay the purchasing process.
Soliciting without the evidence of the availability and intent to expend funds can adversely impact the University. Actions of this nature may be considered “frivolous bidding” and serve as basis for recovery of bidding and bid preparation costs as well as a suit by a vendor. As well, unauthorized commitments made on behalf of the University may become a personal liability if not ratified by the Purchasing Department. Campus departments play an active role in contract administration and quality assurance of the University’s purchases as these responsibilities are specifically delegated and as necessary for each individual procurement. Contract administration by the Purchasing Department is performed on a by-exception basis. Solely the Purchasing Department, however, has the authority to alter any obligation legally created on behalf of the University as well as cause any termination action.
Purchases are subject to the terms and conditions of the State and the University under North Carolina law, and, in the instance of federally funded grants and contracts, Federal law; vendor/contractor terms of sale and conditions are subjugated to these.
Purchases, as well, are bound by the mandates for competition and the use of specific sources of supply. It is the policy of the University to establish the environment for fair and equitable competition in its purchases, consistent with the efficient performance of the University’s contractual obligations and other mandated programs.
Competition serves as the basic architecture of all University purchasing (General Statute 143-52) where competitively acquired pricing provides for the award of requirements to the lowest and most advantageous offer considering the offeror’s: product or service cost, quality, suitability and conformity, delivery and performance; capacity and capability. Other factors specified in the University’s solicitation of the requirement may be considered in making the award, as well.
Support of State Mandated Sources of Supply
It is the University policy to adhere to the State’s requirement to use mandatory and preferred sources of supply and services. These requirements are established by North Carolina statute and the State Division of Purchase and Contract, North Carolina Department of Administration.
Section 3: Preparing For a Purchase
Vendors may visit departments to keep them informed and abreast of new items being introduced. Vendors are advised to avoid making non-scheduled drop-in visits.
Vendor demonstrations to a department or to an individual in no way obligates UNCG to purchase or lease the equipment or service. Any purchase requests issued after demonstrations will be handled in accordance with the normal purchasing regulations of the University and the State.
Vendors are responsible for all expenses incurred during any demonstration. UNCG will not accept any responsibility for the safety of the vendor’s equipment beyond normal care and safety.
Vendor must furnish the Purchasing Department a certificate of liability insurance prior to hosting a demonstration on campus property.
Departments may request a vendor of a particular piece of equipment to conduct a demonstration. In these instances, the arrangements are worked out between the department and the vendor and require no further approval.
Receipt of equipment for demonstration purposes is permissible provided no obligation is made to the vendor to purchase the equipment.
Vendors may request a department to evaluate equipment without obligation to purchase.
When the department is willing to have the equipment installed for evaluation purposes, the department should secure a written agreement using the following basic guidelines:
- Permission to demonstrate the equipment does not obligate the University to purchase the item.
- The evaluation of equipment for a vendor does not give the vendor permission to use the name of the University in any advertisement or as an endorsement.
- Equipment must be adequately identified and described with model and serial numbers.
- All shipping charges are to be paid by the vendor.
- Insurance, if any, is the responsibility of the vendor. The University assumes no liability for the equipment.
- The University may agree to exercise normal operational care and to avoid abuse of the equipment.
- At the end of the evaluation period, the vendor will be responsible for packing, removal or and shipping the item.
Contact with Vendors during Solicitation and Proposal/Bid Review
Campus departments are reminded and cautioned that during the period of evaluation and prior to award, possession of the proposals/bids and accompanying information is limited to personnel of the State Division of Purchase and Contract, the University Purchasing Department and to those who are specifically responsible for review and evaluation of the proposals/bids. There must be no vendor participation in the review and evaluation, and no information may be furnished to vendors regarding the status of the evaluations. All vendor contact, particularly for proposal/bid clarification, shall be made by the Purchasing Department.
Correspondence with Vendors
Following the transmittal of a Purchase Order to a vendor, all correspondence in connection with the fulfillment of the order or contract should be handled by the Requisitioning Department. Campus departments should copy the Purchasing staff of any matters they feel could result in a complaint to the vendor.
Complaints to Vendor
“Complaint to Vendor” forms are used by State agencies and institutions to inform vendors and the State Purchase and Contract Division of problems encountered with quality, service or delivery of commodities and services procured from that vendor.
When a vendor repeatedly provides poor service and/or merchandise does not meet written specifications to the extent that work is hampered, campus departments are to forward specific complaints to the Purchasing Department . The complaint must be submitted in a written memorandum, email or letter and clearly explain the conditions which generated the complaint. The Purchasing Department will complete the “Complaint to Vendor” form and transmit such to the State Purchase and Contract Division, or take appropriate action directly with the vendor. Campus departments are urged to make written complaints, when justified.
If a vendor receives an excessive number of complaints, the State Purchase and Contract Division in Raleigh may refrain from considering the vendor as a ‘source of supply’ for any new requirements or when compiling source lists.
Sales Calls by Vendors
As State policy requires that supplies and materials normally be obtained from State contracts or by competitive, sales calls or solicitations by vendors’ salesmen may be of little value.
Salesmen are encouraged to visit campus departments; however, such visits are to be limited to keeping the campus departments informed of new items being introduced and to assist campus departments by providing information on various aspects of their product.
Receipt of equipment for demonstration and evaluation purposes is permissible provided no obligation is made to the vendor to purchase the equipment.
Section 4: Making a Purchase
Policy The State enters into annual contracts with outside vendors to acquire favorable prices for many commonly used items. The State has contracts with several hundred suppliers, covering several thousand individual items.All State agencies including the University can purchase items from vendors that have State Contracts. NC General Statute 116-13 allows purchases from other than state term contract provided:
- The item is “substantially similar” to that on state contract, and
- The cost is less than state contract.
If a department desires to purchase a state contract item from a non-state contract source, they must provide the Purchasing Department with the state contract, description and cost of item with the requisition.
Information of the items on state contract can be found at: http://www.pandc.nc.gov/
- State Contracts by Commodity
- State Contracts by Contract Number
NC General Statute 148-134 requires North Carolina Correction Enterprises products to be provided first consideration unless such products do not satisfy the requirement. By statute, Correction Enterprises is required to keep the price of such items ‘substantially in accord with that paid by governmental agencies’ for similar items as a result of competitive solicitations.
Products available from the private sector, including Term Contracts, may be purchased when it is determined that the Correction Enterprises product will not satisfy the University’s requirements or will not be available when needed.
Correction Enterprises offers a vast array of products and services. These items may be viewed at the Correction Enterprises Web home page.
Policy For items not covered on State Term Contracts or other purchasing department approved contracts.
Written Bids Solicitation of written bids is required when the total purchase is greater than $5,000.00.
- Phone, e-mail or fax quotations may be used for amounts up to $5,000.00
- Informal written bids submitted in person or via e-mail or fax are required for any total purchase greater than $5,000.00 and up to $25,000.00. For requirements with a total cost of greater than $25,000.00 and up to $500,000.00, formal bid requests must be issued to the State’s Interactive Purchasing System (IPS).
- At least three competitive bids should be obtained for purchases delegated to the University.
Regardless of the solicitation practice used, the University’s estimated cost (i.e., Requisition for Purchase Order or on-line requisition) is to be safeguarded at all times and “for internal use only.”
- Requests for Proposals (RFP) are defined as solicitation documents where the evaluation of competing offerors for an award may be performed considering factors other than/in addition to cost, e.g. performance and value for cost. These factors often entail some form of submittals or demonstration and may provide for measurable evaluation. Limited requests for clarification and ‘discussions’ may be available under the RFP. Respondents to this form of solicitation are termed ‘offerors’ who present an ‘offer’ or ‘proposal’ to the University. RFPs are issued for requirements from $5,001 – $500,000.
- “Two-Step” Requests for Proposals (RFP) “Two-Step” proposals are a primary example of the RFP’s use where both Technical Evaluation Criteria and Award Evaluation Criteria are specified. Only offerors successfully completing the technical evaluation are considered under the award evaluation; award criteria may include factors other than cost, e.g. value for cost. Responses to both the Technical and Award Evaluation Criteria are considered ‘confidential’ until award. Campus departments participating in the evaluation processes are not permitted to release nor discuss any information disclosed during the evaluations, particularly with any offeror. Respondents to this form of solicitation are termed ‘offerors’ who present an ‘offer’ or ‘proposal’ to the University.
- Invitations for Bid (IFB) are defined as solicitation documents where the evaluation of competing bidders for an award is primarily based on cost, although other factors may be considered if specified in the IFB. Responses to IFBs are submitted as “sealed bids” and ‘bids’ are considered ‘confidential’ until award. No discussions, disclosure of price costing information nor relative positions of bidders are permitted under an IFB. Awards are premised solely on that which was solicited and responded to. Respondents to this form of solicitation are termed ‘bidders’ who present a ‘bid’ to the University. IFB is issued for requirements over $25,001 – $500,000.
- Requests for Quotation (RFQ) are defined as solicitation documents used to secure competitive pricing where the requirement is not complex. An award resulting from a RFQ is based on cost. Respondents to this form of solicitation are termed ‘offerors’ who present a ‘quote’ or ‘quotation’ to the University. RFQs are issued for requirements between $5,001 and $25,000.
- Requests for Information and Planning Purposes (RFI) are defined as solicitation documents where the intent is to obtain product/service and pricing information for ‘planning purposes’ only. A RFI provides no commitment on behalf of the University to make a purchase as a result of this form of solicitation. Rather, prospective respondents are advised that the University is only seeking information; generally to assist in making a management and/or budgetary decision. Potential respondents are also informed that the University is not responsible for any costs which may be incurred in preparing a response or the response itself. The RFI should be used judiciously as it can affect future responses to University RFPs and IFBs.
The Purchasing Department solicits bids or quotations on items exceeding $5,000.00 to determine the price, terms and conditions of the vendor. If less than $5,000.00, the Purchasing
Department processes the request from the desired vendor unless:
- A more competitive source for the product or service is available.
- The product or service is available from a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB).
The Purchasing Department is responsible for the solicitation of competitive bids and quotations over $5,000.00.
- Departments obtaining quotations will not be considered official.
The Purchasing Department encourages campus departments to assist in obtaining pricing information prior to submitting a requirement. Campus departments should use the following guidelines when seeking pricing. The Purchasing Department will review this information and may resolicit the requirement, where deemed necessary, prior to issuing any purchase order. When seeking and obtaining pricing information, campus departments are to:
- Establish and state a common deadline date for vendors to respond with a quotation.
- Provide the vendors: quantity, brand, catalog number or a good description and ask for comparable items.
- Request a ‘delivered price’ with F.O.B. Greensboro.
- Specify the required delivery date.
- Obtain the salesperson’s name, vendor name, address, telephone number and”quoted by ” information.
- Clearly advise the vendors that by asking for pricing information theUniversity is not placing an order nor under any obligation to do so.
Proposals, bids and quotations within the University’s benchmark are procured with the following additional guidance:
- The University minimum dollar limitation for soliciting quotations is $5,000. Competitive pricing is encouraged for requirements less than the $5,000 threshold.
- For requirements exceeding $5,000, formal written competitive proposals or bids will be issued by the Purchasing Department and should be on University forms . This action is necessary to officially determine the price, terms, and conditions of the vendor whose product is being sought and assure the vendor’s compliance with the State and University terms and conditions, and specifications and statement of work. Exceptions: Athletic apparel – $10,000, Facilities Operations are limited (see policies associated with these).
- All requirements exceeding $25,000 must be posted by the University to the State’s Interactive Purchasing System (IPS) located on the State’s Division of Purchase and Contract Web home page: www.ips.state.nc.us/ips/pubmain.asp. The IPS permits the posting of whole solicitations and notices of solicitations for public access. Per Title 1, Chapter 5B, Subchapter 1316, Paragraph A of the North Carolina Administrative Code (01 NCAC 05B.0316) indicates that this posting shall be advertised at least once and at least ten (10) days prior to the proposal/bid due date. Exceptions may be approved by the Director, Purchasing as the appointed University’s executive officer designee where conditions prohibit full posting. Note: As the University’s use of the IPS mandates specific data and information transmittals to the State, campus departments will provide the Purchasing Department, in addition to a hard copy, any “Statement of Work’ and/or ‘Specifications’ accompanying a requirement as a Word document via email.
- An original or electronic signature is required for Purchasing Department files for all IFB.
- Awards are principally made based on the information submitted along with the response, subject to the reservations stated otherwise therein. Specific justification is required of the campus department if it is deemed necessary to make an award to other than the lowest proposal/bid meeting specifications and requirements. The Purchasing Department’s final determination will govern in such instances. The Purchasing Department, additionally, may consult with the State Division of Purchase and Contract prior to awarding a purchase order when questions exist as to the adequacy or validity of the justification or the justification being within the guidelines of the General Statutes.
Campus departments should use the following guidelines when seeking pricing. The Purchasing Department will review this information and may resolicit the requirement, where deemed necessary, prior to issuing any purchase order. When seeking and obtaining pricing information, campus departments are to:
- Provide the same information to at least three vendors.
- Establish and state a common deadline date for vendors to respond with a quotation.
- Provide the vendors: quantity, brand, catalog number or a good description and ask for comparable items.
- Request a ‘delivered price’ with F.O.B. Greensboro.
- Specify the required delivery date.
- Obtain the sale person’s name, vendor name, address, telephone number and “quoted by ” information.
- Clearly advise the vendors that by asking for pricing information the University is not placing an order nor under any obligation to do so.
The campus department’s pricing information may serve as the foundation for issuing a Purchase Order, except under the following conditions when the Purchasing Department will issue the solicitation. All such solicitations will be accomplished on University forms and include the State’s standard language and terms and conditions.
- Requirements for goods and commodities, and contractual services above $5,000.
- Printing requirements above $25,000.
- Athletic apparel requirements above $10,000.
- Physical Plant repair and renovation requirements are limited.
- When submitting purchase requisitions for materials, sufficient lead time must be given to solicit and evaluate bids, place an order, and effect delivery.
- Ten to fifteen working days are generally required to solicit quotations and place a Purchase Order for requirements under $25,000.
- Based on the complexity of requirement, it may take up to thirty to forty-five days for requirements between $25,000 and $500,000.
NOTE: Formal bids solicited by the State Purchase and Contract Division for requirements exceeding $500,000 may require up to forty-five to sixty days.
NOTE: It is not permissible to divide requisitions to keep amounts under $5,000.00 to avoid the formal bidding process.
PolicyFor some items or services only one source may be available. A Sole Source is defined as being “One and only one source that possesses a unique product having singular characteristics or performance capability.” To purchase these items or services without competitive bidding, the Sole Source Justification Form ( see sole source form) must be completed and accompany the Purchase Requisition.If the request is $500,000.00 or greater in cost, it will be forwarded to the State Purchase and Contract Division for approval. If justified, the request will be certified as “Single Source” and purchased without formal bidding.If the Single Source request is less than $500,000.00 in cost and is properly justified, it will be processed by the University Purchasing Department without further off campus review.Sole and single source purchasing is an exception to State statutes and purchasing policies. The final determination as to whether such an exception request is valid will be made by the Purchasing Director and rest on the existence of a valid supportable requirement which is adequately documented. Requirements which exceed the University purchasing benchmark will be forwarded to the State Division of Purchase and Contract for processing and, if deemed justifiable, will be certified as “single” or “sole source” and purchased without recourse to formal solicitation.Sole source and single source purchases are segregable in definition and use. The common thread, however, through each type of purchase is that a justification to procure from a sole or single source cannot be solely based on quality or price; ‘quality’ can be a subjective evaluation and “pricing” subject to the level of competition.
- “Sole Source” applies where it can be substantiated that a requirement involves commodity or service provided by only one vendor or contractor which has exclusive rights (e.g., rights to data, patent or copy rights, proprietary interests or secret processes) to the manufacturing of the product or service. “Sole Source” requirements must withstand the questions of (1) is the commodity or service the only of its kind which can fully satisfy the requirement and (2) the commodity is available from one, and only one, source. In this context, “sole” means, ‘the only one.’
- “Single Source” applies where it can be substantiated that a commodity or service can be obtained only from one vendor or contractor which often is the “single”representative of the manufacturer or principal company. “Single Source” purchases frequently involve a vendor or contractor whose product or service is discernibly distinguishable from all others in the market and singularly meets all significant elements of the University’s requirement. In this context, “single” means, ‘the one among others.’
- “Brand Name” specificity does not necessarily equate to a “Sole Source” nor a “Single Source” purchase. “Brand Name” requirements typically are peculiar to one manufacturer, but not one supplier. Accordingly, “Brand Name” requirements may not satisfy the criteria of either “Sole Source” or “Single Source practices as several vendors or contractors may be able to provide the product or service and, therefore, the requirement can be competitively awarded. Purchasing specifications, in this instance, will provide for “Brand Name or Equal” specification; which identify the salient features of the requirement in a non-restrictive manner.
- “Comparable” is defined as equal in those specific areas of specification or performance which must be provided to allow the commodity’s use or service to be provided as it is intended or unequivocally required. That is, a product or service may be argued as “comparable” when it meets the key specific levels of function although it does not explicitly meet all specifications. In this context, “comparable” may be ‘acceptable.’
- “University Standard” determinations may apply and support a “Sole Source” or a “Single Source” purchase where it can be clearly demonstrated that the University has formally adopted the particular commodity or service for campus-wide required use and standardization. Such a “standard” is typically published in some form of University document.
- “Performance Specifications” are to be used, whenever feasible, to describe requirements. “Performance Specifications” detail an expected outcome or result rather than the processes required to arrive at the outcome or result and, as such, contribute to competition.
State purchasing policy provides that exclusionary purchasing practices can be avoided by writing specifications which invite maximum reasonable competition and are not unduly restrictive. Accordingly, requirements submitted for purchasing are to be accompanied by specifications which encourage competition, consistent with the particular need.
Request for Exception
Both “Sole Source” and “Single Source” purchases must be able to withstand the scrutiny of the test of ‘no alternatives.’ As such, the submittal of such a request and its documentation represents a good faith certification on behalf of the campus department and the signator as well as the ability to substantiate the request and sustain any inquiries.
The determination as to whether to accept and act upon a “Sole Source” or “Single Source” request relies on the reasonability of the request and the clear demonstration that the campus department has completed a comprehensive market survey where the investigation, evaluation and documentation of alternative sources and products or services leaves no doubt as to the course which the University has elected in the purchase. Key to this research is: the use of specifications which only state the salient aspects of the requirement and can provide for the purchase of the minimally acceptable quality necessary to perform a given task or function satisfactorily at the lowest fair and reasonable cost.
“Sole Source” and “Single Source” requests are not to be submitted when:
- Personal preference for a product, brand or vendor exists.
- Cost, vendor performance and delivery are the justification; these elements are considered in the evaluation for award factors.
- The statement of “no substitution” is the only rationale.
- Lack of planning exists on behalf of the requiring department.
- The justification is solely based on quality or price, and immediate availability for delivery,
- Offers of trade-in allowances, no cost options or accessories, or special “package” or “deals” are made.
Documentation of Request
Where there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the minimum needs of the University can be met by unique commodities or services only from a “Sole Source” or “Single Source”, the campus department will submit aSole Source Justification for Goods and Services form. Attach any and all copies of correspondence, including any vendor quotations received in the selection of requirement.
When a “Single Source” requirement entails the purchase of a commodity or service from a vendor who has been appointed as the manufacturer’s sole regional representative, the purchase must be documented by the manufacturer’s own signed certification and statement of such fact on its letterhead.
Please note that this process is rare since generally competition is available for most equipment or supplies used at the University.
The State of North Carolina prefers that competition be sought in all purchases. If performance or price competition is not available and it’s deemed to be in the public interest, competitive bidding may be waived. See Section 4.3 Sole Source Purchases for more information.Conditions permitting waiver include, but are not limited to:
- Performance or price competition is not available.
- Necessary product or service is available from only one source.
- Emergency or pressing need in indicated.
- Competition has been solicited with no satisfactory offers being received.
- Standardization or compatibility is the overriding consideration.
- A donation establishes the source of supply.
- Personal or particular professional services are required.
- Particular medical product or service is needed.
- Particular prosthetic appliance is needed.
- Product or service is needed for the disabled and there are overriding considerations for its use.
- Additional products or services are needed to complete an ongoing job or task.
- Products are bought for “over the counter” resale.
- Product or service is desired for educational, training, experimental, developmental or research.
- Items are subject to rapid price fluctuation or immediate acceptance.
- Amount of the purchase is too small to justify soliciting competition.
- Purchase is being made and satisfactory price is available from a previous contract.
- Required for an authorized cooperative project with another governmental unit(s) or a charitable non-profit organization(s).
- Used item(s) is available on short notice and subject to prior sale.
- Available from another governmental agency.
- Determined advantageous to purchase already installed, connected and working equipment.
- Evidence of resale price maintenance or other control of prices, lawful or unlawful, or collusion on the part of companies which stand in the way of normal competitive procedures.
Although competition may be waived, it is required wherever possible. When a waiver is considered, agencies may negotiate with a potential vendor in an effort to acquire the best quality, price, delivery and terms and conditions.
A standing purchase order is a purchase order that has been issued to a vendor for a specified period of time so that purchases can be made directly by the ordering department.A standing purchase order must be requested for a specific amount of departmental funds. When the standing purchase order is issued, the funds are encumbered upon the establishment. Outstanding encumbrances on standing purchase orders written against State Funds revert to the State at the end of the fiscal year, so request only sufficient funds to cover the anticipated purchases.
- Standing purchase orders are issued for services and supply items.
- Service related standing purchase orders such as cell phones, pagers and other maintenance related items must be reviewed on a fiscal year basis.
- Service requisitions should be renewed through eMarketplace prior to the expiration of the contract.
- Items cannot be shipped against a standing purchase order beyond the period indicated.
- Items cannot be shipped in excess of the dollar amount, without authorization from the Purchasing Department.
The State of North Carolina prefers that competition be sought in all purchases.To request materials and services from commercial vendors:
- Enter a requisition into eMarketplace. (An approved requisition in eMarketplace authorizes the Purchasing Department to purchase items on behalf of the ordering department.)
- Attach to the requisition or send to the Purchasing Department all supporting documentation.
- The Purchasing Department will issue a purchase order.
The length of time required to process a purchase requisition depends on the following:
- If the item is on State Contract.
- If the dollar amount of the order is less than $5,000.00, the requisition can be processed without formal bidding.
- If the dollar amount of the order is over $5,000.00 but less than $25,000.00, a quote for the requirement will have to be issued via the informal bid process.
- If the dollar amount of the order is over $25,000.00 but less than $500,000.00, the requirement will have to be solicited using the sealed competitive bid process.
- If the dollar amount of the order is over $500,000.00, the requirement will need to be solicited by the State Purchase and Contract Division.
- The ordering department receives an electronic confirmation that the order has been placed.
- The ordering department confirms delivery in eMarketplace once the item(s) has been received.
Consulting Services is defined as Work or task performed by State employees or independent contractors possessing specialized knowledge, experience, expertise and professional qualifications to investigate assigned problems or projects and to provide counsel, review, analysis or advice in formulating or implementing improvements in programs or services.This includes, but is not limited to, the organization, planning, directing, control, evaluation and operation of a program, agency or department. In accordance with State policy, the employment or securing of services of a consultant requires approval from the Governor’s Office or designee.This policy does not apply:
- To contracts for attorneys employed by the State pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 147-17.
- To contracts for physicians or doctors providing direct medical care for the clientele of any state agency.
- To contracts to provide services without compensation to the provider of the services.
- To contracts for academic consulting services for curriculum development or academically oriented research.
State agencies can obtain consultant services if the following requirements are met:
- It is determined that current employees cannot reasonably accomplish the job.
- The estimated cost is reasonable as compared with the likely benefits or results.
- The funds are available for the contract.
- The contract is in the best interest of the State.
- All rules and regulations of the Division of Purchase and Contract have been or will be complied with as determined by the Governor or his/her designee and the Division of Purchase and Contract.
When acquiring such consulting services, competition must be sought whenever possible.
NOTE:These policies must be followed regardless of the dollar amounts involved.
Contracted Personal Services is defined as when an independent contractor performs services requiring specialized knowledge, experience, expertise or similar capabilities for a State agency for compensation from agency funds. These services may include (by way of illustration, not limitation) services such as, maintenance of buildings or equipment, auditing, film production, performer of the fine arts or similar professionals, employee training and food service, provided that the service is not primarily for review, analysis or advice in formulating or implementing improvements in programs or services (in which case rules relating to Consultant Contracts shall be applicable). The authority to legally bind the University via a contract is addressed in the University Policy Manual (http://policy.uncg.edu/contract_approval/)UNCG departments are permitted to acquire contracted personal services or consultant services only if such services cannot be reasonable accomplished by UNCG employees, or other employees of the state of North Carolina.2. Employees of UNCG or other state agencies cannot be paid for personal services. Instead, in accordance with Policy 4 – Budgeting – Dual Employment (Financial Planning and Budget), such payments are subject to the Dual Employment policy.3. Retired state employees who provide personal service are subject to requirements of N.C.G.S. 135-3(8)c. If contractor status is determined, the Controller must be notified to ensure UNCG is in compliance.4. Conflict of Interest. No university employee may benefit from any contract with the university, and no current or prior personal/professional relationship shall exist with the service provider that would constitute a conflict of interest or nepotism.B. ExceptionsAll contract services documents are to be forwarded to Purchase and Contract Management with the exception of the following:
- Real Property –contact the Property Office in Campus Enterprises
- Construction –contact Facilities, Design and Construction
- Appointment of Personnel –contact Human Resources or EPA Human Resources
- Personal/Professional Servicesthat are exempt from review by Purchase and Contract Management include:
- All Contracts less than $5,000 per fiscal year
- Personal services provided by doctors, dentists, architects, professional engineers, scientists (a personal service shall be interpreted to be the occasional or temporary use of an individual’s professional skills to perform a professional task.)
- Performing Arts – includes, but is not limited to musicians, artists, dancers and speakers
- Services provided by individuals by direct employment contracts with the State
- Academic Services, including instructors and guest speakers
- Sponsored Programs
- Federally funded grants
- Any other service designated to be exempt by the State Purchasing Officer or his/her authorized representative
C. Required Approvals
1. The authority to execute contracts has been delegated to individual Provost/Vice Chancellors and others for specific matters and/or types of contracts for which their station should have knowledge and responsibility. For a list of individuals with contract signature authorityclick here. In carrying out the responsibilities for review and execution of contracts, by endorsing, the signer accepts full responsibility for due diligence to assure compliance and value for the University.
When normal department operations involve small nonrecurring purchases of less than $2,500.00, a purchasing card (PCard) is the suggested purchasing tool for those items. The University strongly encourages the use of the pcard through the university eprocurement system “eMarketplace”.
The State of North Carolina defines a small purchase as being “the purchase of commodities, services or printing, not covered by a term contract, involving an expenditure of public funds of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) or less.”The University Small Purchase Program consists of:
· the use of a University issued purchasing card (PCard)
· having a purchase order issued for the commodity or service.
Per the University of North Carolina – General Administration Policies and Procedures Manual and the University Spending Guidelines, there are some purchases that are specifically not allowable from State appropriated funds.
The entire list of items that cannot be appropriated using State funds can be located using the following links:
UNC-GA Policies and Procedures Manual
The University Spending Guidelines
Gift Card Purchasing Policy:
- Gift cards/gift certificates may not exceed fifty dollars ($50), unless otherwise approved by the appropriate Vice Chancellor or Provost.
- Gift cards/gift certificates may be given for awards or recognition programs such as retirement events, employee recognition events, outstanding achievement, length of service or participation in various studies.
- · No State funds may be used to purchase gift cards or gift certificates.
- · Gift cards/gift certificates may not be used as a form of honoraria for employees. These types of payments must be processed through the payroll system.
- · When gift certificates are being purchased with grant funds, the following criteria must be met:
- The gift certificate is for research participant incentive payments only
- Costs for research participant incentive payments are included in the researcher’s grant budget and allowable by the terms and conditions of the specific grant.
To access detailed Gift Card & Gift Certificate Procedures, visit PCard Policies: Gift Card & Gift Certificate Purchases.
The Purchasing Department distributes authority (or, makes purchasing delegations), responsibility and knowledge to permit decentralized purchasing support In each instance when this delegation is exercised, the campus department is encouraged to support the Levied Purchasing Programs; Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and Buy-Recycled. This decentralized purchasing authority includes the following campus delegations.
- PCard Program– The University offers use of a VISA card to authorized, full time employees for purchases under $2500. This card may be used wherever the VISA card is accepted, within the prescribed limits set forth in the PCard User’s Guide. Please refer to PCard Uses for a list of proper and improper uses.
Additional delegations have been made for select categories of requirements. These delegations encompass areas where the requisite professional knowledge and experience are resident and, thereby, value is added to the purchasing process. Additionally, each departmental delegation is subject to the evidence of adequate training and sufficient competency in fulfilling the responsibilities and duties incumbent with the delegation. These delegations include:
- Facilities Design and Construction, Auxiliary Services and Residence Life: Repair and Renovation– The authority to compose, solicit and make the recommendations for award of all construction requirements defined by North Carolina General Statute and 143-129 and 143-135.27 has been delegated to the University’s Facilities Design and Construction and Office of Residence Life. This delegation permits the Facilities Operations, Office of Residence Life and Auxiliary Services to execute the responsibilities prescribed by the North Carolina State Construction Manual, Section 110.6 under an “informal bidding process.” These responsibilities span from the preparation of bid documents to the requirement’s competitive solicitation to evaluation and recommendation as to award. These delegated actions support the award of individual repair and renovation purchase orders. This is limited to the benchmark established by General Statute 143-129 of $500,000 (http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/statutes/statutelookup.pl?statute=143-129).
- Athletics Department: Athletic Apparel– Pursuant to North Carolina Administrative Code T01:05B.1601 and the North Carolina Procurement Manual, Section 1.1.2 State Special Delegations, University Athletics is delegated the authority to solicit and make the recommendations for award of athletic apparel requirements for requirements less than $10,000. This delegation recognizes certain considerations regarding athlete health and safety, and permissible and allowed product endorsements. As well, this delegation acknowledges the unique cost structure of athletic apparel marketing practices of which University Athletics has expertise. Policies prescribed at Policy 4.26 (below) are adhered to in accomplishing this delegation. Reviews of each instance purchase is accomplished per this delegation are made by the Purchasing Department to assure that the use is compliant with University guidance prior to the issuance of a consummated purchase order.
- University Relations: Printing– Pursuant to North Carolina Administrative Code T01:05B.0802 and the State Agency Purchasing Manual, Section IV-5, University Relations is delegated the authority to solicit and make the recommendations for award of printing requirements less than $25,000. This delegation recognizes the unique nature of price structuring in the printing market, of printing specifications and practices, as well as press proofing of which University Relations has expertise. Policies prescribed at Policy 4.27 (below) are to be adhered to in accomplishing this delegation. Reviews of each instance purchase is accomplished per this delegation are made by the Purchasing Department to assure that the use is compliant with University guidance. No changes may be made to a purchase order or its requirements nor an additional commitment made to a printer (vendor) without the approval of the Purchasing Department. Such changes will be acknowledged by the issuance of a Change Order, where appropriate, by the Purchasing Department.
Historically Underutilized Business Program (HUB)In support of and to remain compliant with the Governor’s Executive Order No. 77, it is the policy of the University that, to the extent permissible, purchases will be placed with Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB). HUB-eligible purchases will provide the access and opportunity to competitively participate in the University’s purchasing program without barrier.HUB vendors are currently defined to include those businesses which are: owned by minorities, women, and persons with disabilities; disabled business enterprises; and non-profit workshops for the blind and severely disabled.Through the use of these HUB vendors, the competitive base of the University’s purchasing will be broadened. Benefits, accordingly, will result for both the University and the vendor.The following actions will continuously be taken to further foster this program:
- HUB vendor candidates will be actively identified and recorded for use in all appropriate purchases. The Purchasing Department will participate in vendor fairs and minority programs, as available, to identify potential new HUB sources of supplies and services.
- Solicitations issued by the Purchasing Department will consider the use of these vendors. As well, all requests for pricing accomplished by departments will consider the use of HUB vendors.
- Announcements and correspondence will be made to emphasize the significance of the HUB program, where and when appropriate.
In support of and to remain compliant with the Governor’s Executive Order No. 8 and General Statute 143-58, it is the policy of the University to promote and, to the extent maximum feasible, purchase and use products with recycled content. The University’s goal is to acquire one hundred percent (100%) of its paper and paper products purchases with recycled content effective June 30, 1997. Accordingly, Buy-Recycled purchases will occur where it is found economically practicable and cost effective to do so.”Recycled content” products are those which incorporate waste materials and by-products that have been recovered or diverted from the solid waste stream, but does not include those materials and by-products generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process. The purchase of recycled content products fosters the growth of the availability of this type product and the closure of the cost variance between recycled content and ‘virgin’ products.The following actions will continuously be taken to further foster this program and meet the program objectives:
- All campus departments are to purchase and use products manufactured from or containing recycled materials whenever feasible. In particular, recycled content paper and paper products should be used.
- Requirements’ specifications will be continuously reviewed and revised, as appropriate, to eliminate any discrimination against materials and supplies with recycled content, except where health, safety and welfare would be placed in jeopardy.
- Solicitation documents will be written so as to encourage vendors and contractors to offer products having recycled content and to propose prices for such products. Pricing obtained by the campus will similarly conform. Recycled product proposals will be considered in the evaluation for award, and, where the product is comparable in quality, availability and price,
- Where available, consideration will be given to products which are reusable, refillable, repairable, more durable, less toxic, and use minimal packaging. State term contracts will be used, as well, where recycled content products are listed.
- Public documents published for the University printed on recycled paper will contain a printed statement or symbol indicating that the document was printed on recycled paper.
- Purchases of recycled content paper and paper products are to be reported to the Purchasing Department to support State mandated annual reporting requirements.
- Announcements and correspondence will be made to emphasize the significance of the Buy-Recycled program, where and when appropriate.
The Purchasing Department will serve as the administrator and coordinator of this “Buy-Recycled” program.
Federal, State and County TaxesThe University of North Carolina Greensboro, being an agency of the State of North Carolina, is exempt from Federal Excise Tax. The Purchasing Department must furnish the State of North Carolina Exemption Number to vendors for items subject to Federal Excise Tax, indicated as follows:
Federal Tax Exemption Chapter 32, Internal Revenue Code
For Exclusive Use of North Carolina State Government and Public Schools
Effective July 1, 2004, UNCG is exempt from sales or use tax. Please reference the tax exempt notification for more information. If vendors require a certificate, the Purchasing department can provide one upon request. Sales Tax Exemption number is 400004.
Please note:some items require the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe web site.
The authority to compose, solicit and make the recommendations for award of all construction and repair requirements defined by North Carolina General Statute 143-129, 143.131 and 143-135.27 has been delegated to the University’s Facilities. This delegation permits Facilities to execute the responsibilities prescribed by the North Carolina State Construction Manual.These responsibilities span from the preparation of bid documents to the requirement’s competitive solicitation to evaluation and recommendation as to award. These delegated actions support the award of individual repair and renovation purchase orders. This is limited to the thresholds established by General Statute.
Pursuant to the North Carolina Procurement Manual, Section I-1.3 Procurement Methods, acquiring printing should be treated as the University does for all other goods or services. Based upon either the RFQ or the IFB, once the purchase order has been issued to the awarded vendor, no changes may be made to a purchase order or its requirements nor an additional commitment made to a printer (vendor) without the approval of the Purchasing Department. Such changes will be acknowledged by the issuance of a Change Order, where appropriate, by the Purchasing Department.
All Campus Departments printing public documents shall adhere to the following policy:
“Public document” is defined as any annual, biennial, regular or special report or publication of which at least 200 copies are printed, but shall not include intra-University communications nor university correspondence. “ (G.S. 143-169.2.). By definition, public documents would not include documents printed exclusively for use by faculty, staff or students. Public documents do include, but are not limited to: annual reports, invitations, and other documents which are printed for public distribution.
1. Public documents, other than ones published for the principal purpose of sale to the public, shall contain the following statement printed adjacent to the identification of the university:
“(# of copies) copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $____ or $ per copy” (G.S. 143-170.1)
Example: “5,000 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $15,000 or $3.00 per copy”
2. Whenever a public document that is published by the university is printed on recycled paper, the document shall contain a printed statement or symbol indicating that the document was printed on recycled paper. (G.S. 143-170.1)
Purchases from Employees or Employee Family MembersEvery reasonable effort shall be made to avoid making purchases from or doing business with UNCG employees (GS-1509).Purchases of Food Items, Refreshments, Sundries, etc.Food items, refreshments (coffee, donuts, drinks, etc.) and sundries may not be purchased using State funds. Such purchases may, however, be allowed under certain explicit grants, contracts or trust funds, or discretionary accounts, providing the funding agency will not disallow the expenditure. Further information regarding “business entertainment” expenses may be found in the University Policies and Procedures Manual, Accounting and Budgets Section,Purchase of RadioisotopesThe possession and use of radioactive sources in excess of exempt quantities is authorized under license to the University by the State of North Carolina in agreement with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The University Occupational Safety and Health Officer, Office of Safety, is required to provide assurances under this license that all radioactive materials are obtained, used, and disposed of in accordance with license specifications.Accordingly, all initial requests for radioactive materials are to be made on a purchase requisition and forwarded to the Safety Officer. Once approved, the requirement will be forwarded to the Purchasing Department for placement of the Purchase Order, provided all licensing requirements have been met.Purchase of Controlled SubstancesThe possession and use of controlled substances (drugs having no accepted medical use or drugs having potential for abuse) is governed by the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This law requires every person who manufactures, distributes, prescribes, administers or dispenses any controlled substance or who proposes to engage in any activity utilizing controlled substances to register annually with the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.The University Chief Medical Officer is registered for the University as the authorized official to purchase controlled substances for clinic/infirmary use only. This registration cannot be used to purchase controlled substances for instructional purposes or research. Practitioners and individuals within teaching institutions desiring to conduct research or otherwise handle controlled substances must obtain individual registrations from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.Purchase of controlled substances cannot be made by or for the University without such proper registration.Purchase of Industrial AlcoholThe Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) regulates the tax-free purchase of industrial alcohol and specifically denatured spirits. Such purchases may only be made for these items upon receipt of the ATF’s approval as documented by the ATF issuance of an “Industrial Alcohol User Permit” (ATF Form 5150.9). Upon issuance of the ATF permit number, the University may withdraw and use alcohol tax-free on a continuing basis and will remain in force until suspended, revoked, or terminated.The University’s current permit data is:
Permit Number: TF-NC-154
Effective Date: June 4, 1985
Maximum Quantity to be
Withdrawn per Calendar Year: 3,000 proof gallons
Associated with the issuance of this permit are the requirements to (a) maintain records and file periodic reports as required by U.S.C. 5275 and its regulations, (b) pay the $250 Special Occupational Tax on an annual basis [a tax on the the use of the alcohol and not itself], and (c) post the permit in the authorized and approved place of storage.
- These functions are accomplished by the University’s Department of Chemistry which also provides the University’s only recognized storage facility. The Purchasing Department serves as the ‘custodian’ for the program.
Section 5: After the Order Has Been Placed
Campus departments are to be attentive to any changes in Purchase Order prices as reflected on a vendor’s invoice. The University will issue payment for the price recorded on the Purchase Order unless the following circumstances exist:
- Where there is a pricing deviation under invoiced unit price which will increase the amount paid by no more than 10 percent (%)
- The purchase order is not a “Quote Order” or a State Term Contract order. (Pricing under these types of orders must show no deviation.)
- When the pricing deviation effects a “Quote Order” or a Sate Term Contract order, or exceeds the allowable variance for the particular type of purchase order, the campus department must concur in the deviation.
- Accounts Payable will contact the campus department to discuss the change in price. In lieu of accepting the price deviation, the campus department may decide to refuse or return the merchandise to the vendor. It is the campus department’s responsibility to coordinate return of materials to the vendor.
- The campus department may decide to retain the merchandise and assume the additional cost. In such a case, the campus department will initiate a request for a change order If the vendor’s increased cost is not acceptable, the vendor will be requested to forward a corrected invoice showing prices as indicated on the Purchase Order.
When a vendor notifies the Purchasing Department of a pricing deviation (especially, an increase) prior to delivery or performance, the Purchasing Department will first contact the campus department to determine the department’s desire to complete the order at the additional costs. If the campus department agrees to incur the additional costs, a change order will be issued.
When the pricing deviation is caused by the incurrence of a freight charge, the University will pay the invoiced freight if it appears reasonable and is not a “Quote Order” or State Term Contract Order. Where multiple shipments exist, multiple freight charges may be incurred.
Policy and DefinitionsIn the preparation of requirements and specifications and the solicitation of such, all efforts should be made to avoid creating any conditions which may contribute to the protest of an award. Should however a protest occur, it is the University’s policy to resolve protests effectively at the lowest administrative level possible and to maintain integrity and confidence in the University’s purchasing processes.The North Carolina State Agency Purchasing Manual provides general guidance for protest procedures. Additionally, North Carolina General Statute 150B-22 prescribes that any protests, or disputes, should be settled through informal procedures in preference to formal administrative procedures which incur additional costs and time.The protest of award procedures of the University adhere to these principles and North Carolina Administrative Code T01:05B.1519 and General Statute 150B-43, Article 4. Note: The University is exempted from the procedures prescribed for ‘contested decisions’ and the Office of Administrative Hearings by the Administrative Procedures Act, Article 3 per General Statute 150B-1(f).”Protest”, as used in this Policy, means a written objection by an interested party to a solicitation for offers as to matters which may affect a proposed award. “Dispute”, as used in this Policy, is a written objection to issues which may administratively arise during the performance of a purchase order. “Protestor,” as used in this Policy, means an actual or prospective offeror/bidder whose direct economic interest would be adversely affected by an award or by the failure of an award to be made. To be considered a valid “protest”, the objection must be submitted in writing to University as specified herein, and no other party, and adhere to the guidelines of the University protest procedures.Conditions for ProtestProtests of award generally result from the existence of specifications or terms and conditions in a solicitation assessed by a prospective vendor or contractor to be preferential or unobtainable. Protests may also result from the challenge of an award to a specific vendor or contractor which is assessed by another prospective vendor or contractor as not having the capacity and/or capability to perform the award as specified.Protests may be filed for cause for conditions which are apparent in the solicitation no later than thirty (30) consecutive calendar days from the date of the protested award. Where a protest is filed prior to an award, the protest shall not be considered, the award made and the interested party so informed in writing.To be fully considered, protests must clearly contain and address the following elements:
- Name, address, and telephone number of protestor.
- Solicitation number, or Purchase Order number, and date affected by the protest.
- A detailed statement of the factual grounds for the protest accompanied by copies of all relevant documents. This statement must contain specific sound reasons and attach any supporting documentation for why the party is protesting an award.
- A concise statement as to the form of relief requested by the protestor.
Protest Resolution Procedures
The Director of Purchasing is appointed as the University’s executive officer designee for protest resolution.
Protests of award must be filed by a protestor within 30 consecutive calendar days from the date of the award. Filings not made within this period will not be considered. A copy of filings meeting this time requirement will be furnished to the State Purchasing Officer within five (5) consecutive calendar days of receipt.
The protest is to be addressed to the Director, Purchasing Department who will direct the research of the protest and prepare findings and conclusions.
- If the letter of protest does not contain the information required of a protesting party, or does not merit consideration, the Director, Purchasing Department will refuse the protest and so inform the protestor in writing within ten (10) consecutive calendar days of the receipt of the protest. Such a decision will be coordinated with the University Counsel. A copy of such will be provided to the University Counsel and the State Purchasing Officer upon its release.
- If the protest shows merit, the Director, Purchasing Department may convene a fact-finding meeting with the protestor to fully determine the nature of the protest and to make an initial attempt to resolve the disputed conditions. Prior to such a meeting, the Purchasing Department may seek the University Counsel’s opinion as well as factual statements from the requiring department. It will be the preference of the Purchasing Department to bring the protest to a conclusion – by mutual agreement – at the time of its meeting with the protestor without inhibiting the proposed award or nullifying the actual award.
Should this fact finding meeting not resolve the protest, the Director, Purchasing Department will confer further with University Counsel, as required, and determine whether to conduct a protest meeting with the protestor or to issue a written decision to the protestor. The latter may be elected where the protest does not contain the information required of a protestor, or if the Director, Purchasing Department determines that a meeting would serve no purpose. Such a decision will be coordinated with the University Legal Counsel and a copy of such provided to the University Counsel and the State Purchasing Officer upon its release.
Where a protest meeting request is granted, scheduling of the meeting will be attempted within thirty (30) consecutive calendar days of receipt of the protest. The Director’s, Purchasing Department written decision will be issued within ten (10) consecutive calendar days from the date of the protest meeting. Such a decision will be coordinated with the University Legal Counsel and a copy of such provided to the Legal Counsel and the State Purchasing Officer upon its release.
If the Director’s, Purchasing Department written decision is appealed (within the University purview), a response will be tendered from the Office of the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Business Services, but only upon the receipt of the protestor’s formal written appeal. Such an appeal must be submitted to the Assistant Vice Chancellor’s office to be accepted. The Assistant Vice Chancellor may elect an additional meeting with the protestor prior to the University issuing any further final written decision.
In the case of an appeal within the University, the Assistant Vice Chancellor shall render the final decision to the protestor. This action may be preceded by a briefing of the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. Such correspondence will clearly evidence that it is the “final decision” and fully prescribe the final resolution.
If the Director’s, Purchasing Department written decision or the Assistant Vice Chancellor’s “final decision” is appealed subject to the provisions of North Carolina General Statute (G.S.) 150B-43, Article 4, for the ‘right to judicial review’, the appeal must be filed with the appropriate superior court as specified by G.S. 150B-45. Such a filing will be valid only if the conditions of G.S. 150B-51 are met. Under such an appeal, the University Legal Counsel, as the Office of the Attorney General, will be requested to assist in responding and representing the University. The Assistant Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor will be briefed on such an appeal’s filing as well as the position of the University in responding.
Disputes may arise during the performance of a Purchase Order. Such a grievance typically result from decisions made while administering a Purchase Order, are initiated by the vendor or contractor performing the order, and represent the lack of agreement by the vendor or contractor in a decision rendered by the University.
To be formally considered, the dispute must be submitted in writing as a claim and demonstrate a demand or assertion seeking, as a matter of right, the payment of monies, the adjustment or specific interpretation of the Purchase Order’s terms and conditions, or some other form of relief.
“Claims” will be addressed as prescribed at Protest Resolution . The principles of protest handling will be applied in claims resolution. Claims regarding the text of a Purchase Order or its performance will be addressed using the following ‘order of precedence’: (a) the Proposal Form (excluding the specifications), (b) the Representations, (c) clauses, provisions and terms and conditions, (d) other documents and attachments, (e) the specifications, and (f) the drawings.