Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Must goods or services be bid if a budget unit, faculty or staff member receives funding through an operating, revenue, restricted, or plant account?
A. Yes, in most instances when the aggregate cost of all items to be purchased exceeds $5,000. Purchases may not be artificially divided to avoid or lessen bid requirements.
If ordering from a Louisiana State Contract no competitive pricing is required over $5,000, but a purchase requisition must be processed through Southeastern Purchasing for encumbering funds, verification of state contract information, and issuance of a State Release Order.
Q. Do I have the authority to make a purchase?
A. Conditional authorization to purchase goods and services in the amount of $1,000 or less is delegated by the Director of Purchasing to deans, directors, and department heads. However, purchasing policy must be complied with or the faculty or staff member may become personally responsible for payment. In general, a completed requisition form is required and must be submitted to Southeastern Purchasing for all supplies, materials, equipment, and services purchased from off-campus vendors for all purchases. Some purchases, regardless of dollar amount, have other special requirements to ensure compliance with applicable purchasing law, policy or procedures.
If you are not an authorized budget unit head, then you should consult with your department head before making any purchase without authority.
Q. Do I have the authority to contract for Personal, Professional, Consulting and Social Services?
A. Conditional authority to contract and commence these type of services is delegated by the Administration for services up to $2,000. Prior to commencement of any Personal, Professional, Consulting or Consulting Service in excess of $2,000, the requisition, contract, and other required attachments must be forwarded to Southeastern Purchasing in accordance with procedures.
Authority is conditioned on the basis adequate funding be available prior to commencement of any services.
Q. What documentation is required to make a purchase?
A. Copies of all supporting documentation are sent to Southeastern Purchasing with the purchase requisition before an order can be approved or a bid solicited (i.e., quotes, bid specifications, special approvals, etc.).
If a product must be solicited for bid as proprietary (no substitutions) due to a special need, the requisition must include a statement outlining the particular circumstances requiring limitation of competition to the specific brand and model.
If only one supplier can provide the goods or services, the sole source justification form must be completed and accompany the purchase requisition along with the supplier quote and statement affirming production and sole distribution, and product has no competing suppliers with similar products or services in the market.
Q. Will the justification from a previous sole source purchase suffice for the next request/order?
A. No. A new sole source justification form and current letter from the vendor along with current price quote must be submitted. Reason is to have the vendor certify each time that sole source conditions still exist, and that no other competitor has entered the marketplace or they have not established a distributor network.
Q. Can purchases be made through the University Bookstore (Follett College Store)?
A. Yes, purchases for consumable "office supplies" regardles of the dollar amount can be purchased through the bookstore. However, purchases of non-consumable equipment items such as desks, credenzas, chairs, filing cabinets, overhead projectors, etc., with an aggregate total in excess of $5,000 must be competitively bid in accordance with the procurement code. Follett College Stores may receive and respond to such bid solicited.
Q. Can a budget unit, faculty or staff member solicits telephone or fax bids for purchases over $5,000?
A. The Purchasing Department will handle all bid solicitations in accordance with the Small Purchase Executive Order.
Q. Who determines the need for a product or service?
A. The budget unit, faculty or staff member usually determines the need for a product or service in conjunction with the need of the actual end user. The role of Southeastern Purchasing is to ensure purchases are made in accordance with state law, to ensure competition and to provide guidance.
Q. Can a bid be accepted after the bid opening date and time?
A. Under no circumstances will late bids be accepted, regardless of the reason. All bids must be received by the bid opening date and time shown on the solicitation document. If a bid is delayed by actions of Southeastern personnel, and this delay prejudices a vendor, then Southeastern must cancel the solicitation and rebid.
Q. How often is the State Contract information on the Internet updated?
A. The Office of State Purchasing updates State Contracts nightly to assure current information is available.
Q. Must a pre-bid conference be advertised?
A. Notification of a pre-bid conference must be included in the solicitation. If the estimated value of the award is over $25,000 and attendance is mandatory, the pre-bid meeting must be advertised. (Purchasing Rules and Regulations, Chapter 5, Section 511) The ad should include the conference date, time and location and should be at least ten days prior to the mandatory meeting date.
Q. If a budget unit wants to use the approved legislation allowing the RFP format, what must Southeastern do to get approval to do so?
A. A written request outlining the reasons to the Director of Purchasing must be done. A written request will be forwarded by Southeastern Purchasing to the Director of State Purchasing. The request must include adequate justification that the best interests of the state would be served by using the RFP procurement method instead of the ITB procurement method. This legislation is applicable for procurement of high technology acquisitions or complex services or for procurement through a contract with a group purchasing organization (GPO) for the procurement of certain medical and laboratory supplies and medical equipment, only (LRS 39:1593/Act 692).
Q. For services involving labor and material for the construction or renovation of buildings, improvements to the campus or other University properties, or contractor work needed for instruction or research, is there a procedure for requesting this work?
A. Contact the Southeastern Facility Planning Dept or the Southeastern Physical Plant Dept. State Fire Marshall approval may be involved or coordination necessary with drafting specifications on appropriateness of altering a building or the campus grounds. Such considerations for work coming in contact with building or underground computer, telephone and utility lines must be respected.
Q. How should we address a vendor who is not honoring specified delivery date?
A. Budget unit should initially make verbal contact with the vendor regarding a problem in contract performance. If the complaint remains unresolved, the budget unit sends a formal complaint to the Procurement Specialist. Southeastern Purchasing will send a letter, with a copy of the complaint, asking the vendor to investigate and respond within a time frame. If the matter cannot be resolved, a Contract Controversy Hearing may be held.
If the complaint concerns a State Contract purchase, the budget unit will need to complete a Deficiency/Complaint Form DA 3496 for Southastern Purchasing to send to the State Purchasing Office. State Purchasing will send the vendor a letter, with a copy of the complaint report, asking the vendor to investigate and respond within a time frame. If the matter cannot be resolved, a Contract Controversy Hearing may be held.
Q. How do I find items on State Contract?
A. See State Purchasing's Contract Search on the Internet.
Q. What is the proper procedure for processing requests for subscriptions provided on CD-ROM (i.e. Westlaw)?
A. Subscriptions are non-competitive.
Q. What types of data processing services are considered "support services?"
A. Non-competitive support services would include such things as installation of equipment on an equipment purchase, installation of software with equipment purchases, maintenance of hardware and software, some training on hardware/software when you purchase equipment.
Q. Is the installation of computer hardware purchased from State Contract included in the purchase price? If not, is it acceptable to use the contract vendor to install the equipment?
A. The majority of the Brand Name PC contracts include a line for installation at an hourly rate. Many agencies utilized their in-house I/S personnel for installation. If installation is not covered by the contract nor offered by our personnel, then competitive bids should be solicited in accordance with Purchasing Rules and Regulations.
Q. How do I process requests for software installation and training when the training will be conducted on site at the agency and vendor travel charges are involved?
A. This would be covered under support services and is non-competitive. However, the vendor must be made aware that any travel charges would have to be billed and reimbursed in accordance with the maximum allowable fees set forth in the State Travel Rules and Regulations, PPM 49.
Q. When is it advisable to have a signed agreement for software licenses and software or hardware maintenance or support?
A. Sometimes vendors will require that an agreement be signed. In this case, the orignal agreement, not signed by the University, must be forwarded to Southeastern Purchasing for review with compliance with Louisiana law to request the President's signature. Contact the the Director of Purchasing if further direction needed.