FAQ - Purchasing

How does the purchasing process work?

Your department initiates the purchase requisition. When received by the Purchasing Office, it is checked for accuracy and completeness. Incomplete or erroneous requisitions are returned for correction. The referenced account is checked for sufficient funds to pay for the goods or services. The requisition is then competitively quoted or bid if required, approved by the Purchasing Office, created into a Purchase Order (PO), and issued to the supplier. A copy of the PO is distributed to your department for your records.

How long does it take to get items requested?

It varies. Items with an estimated value up to $20,000 require no formal competitive quotes, although departments are strongly encouraged to obtain a minimum of three (3) informal quotes to establish reasonableness of price. For these items a PO is generally processed, approved and distributed within 3 to 5 days upon receipt of a completed requisition. Items with a value in excess of $20,000 require formal competitive quotes or public solicitations (e.g., Invitation for Bids, Request for Proposals, etc.), and advertising in the New York State Contract Reporter. Processing times for these items are estimated anywhere between 3 to 10 weeks, and in some instances, even longer.

Why do I have to get bids or quotes?

Because taxpayer dollars are being spent, the state imposes extensive requirements to ensure that the procurement of all goods and services is conducted in an honest, competitive, fair and transparent manner. According to NYS Finance Laws and SUNY Procurement Procedures, the practices of obtaining informal quotations and competitive bidding (sealed bids or proposals) not only tend to assure reasonable prices, but also guard against favoritism, waste and fraud.

Can I enter into a contract on my own?

No, only University-authorized signatories may enter into a contract that obligates our University financially. NYS Finance Laws and SUNY Procurement Guidelines require all contract commitments of state funds be made only by authorized individuals and in full compliance with the laws governing the State of New York. The authority to enter into financial commitments by the University is principally vested in the Chief Financial Officer or designee, and secondarily, the Administrative Assistant to the President. If you are contemplating preparing a contract, it is important that you contact the Business & Finance Division because of the complexity and changing nature of procurement and contractual regulations. Purchases, agreements or contracts executed by any other means are unauthorized and are subject to non-payment, payment by the unauthorized individual (personal liability), or a monetary penalty assigned to a relative account.

Must we always use (MWBE) Minority Women Business Enterprises and (SDVOB) Service Disabled Veteran-owned Business vendors?

Not in all instances but you are strongly encouraged to do so. On February 17, 2011, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 8, removing barriers to MWBE participation in NYS contracting and SUNY’s Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to increase SUNY’s good faith efforts to achieve statewide MWBE participation goals. Consequently, where the item requested meets form, fit and/or function, and the cost differential between an MWBE vendor and non-MWBE vendor is negligible, the University should always purchase from the MWBE vendor.

In an emergency, what should I do?

An EMERGENCY is an urgent and unexpected requirement where health, public safety or the conservation of public resources is at risk. It can be sudden, life threatening or involve a pressing matter vital to campus operations. The conditions must be such that unless corrected without delay, injury or serious property damage would occur. The Purchasing Office must be notified immediately with details of emergency purchases so that proper notification and approval can be obtained from appropriate state agencies [NYS Office of the Comptroller (OSC), Office of General Services (OGS)] and SUNY.

Please contact us if you need further assistance. We are located in Campus Center, Suite H-310.