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Gadsden State Community College

Financial Services

Purchasing Policies


GENERAL PURCHASING POLICIES

    Purchase agreements and contracts for goods and services require an approved purchase order.  Before any order takes place, an approved purchase order must first be obtained.  The College is not to pay for purchases made by an employee who has not first received an approved purchase order.  See justification forms.

    All purchase orders, adjustments, and/or revisions to purchase orders must be in writing from the Purchasing Department.  The invoice amount of a purchase is not to exceed the amount approved by the purchase order.  See justification forms.

    Vendors receive a hard copy of the approved purchase order.  A properly executed purchase order constitutes a contract which is binding on both the institution and the vendor.

    Quotes can be requested but it should be made clear to the vendor that an order is not placed until the vendor has received an approved purchase order.

    All purchases are to be in compliance with Alabama Bid Law and other policies described herein.

    The College is responsible for the payment of purchases made through the College’s approved purchasing procedures.

    A petty cash voucher can be used for allowable and legal purchases of $50.00 or less.  Petty cash vouchers eliminate the need to request purchase orders for small amounts.  Use the petty cash system to purchase unusual and unforeseen items.  If similar purchases are expected to be made frequently, use the purchase order system.
Click here for more information concerning petty cash vouchers.

    Some of a Budget Manager's purchasing responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Approves and signs requisitions for purchases for their area.
  2. Enters requisitions for their budget.
  3. Insures that funds are available in their budget to cover requests made.
  4. Receives approved purchase orders for their budget.
  5. Ensures that supplies, services and equipment are received for their area.
  6. Maintains an inventory of equipment over $5000.00 for their area.

 

AIR TRAVEL PROCEDURES

  There are three options when requesting airline tickets:

  1. When pre-payment is approved on the Request for Out-of-State Travel Form, pre-pay airfare with an approved purchase order, original invoice and copy of the approved Request for Out-of-State Travel.
  2. If pre-payment is not approved, request a purchase order to purchase the airline tickets.  The College will pay airfare after the trip is complete.
  3. The traveler schedules the flight and pays their own airfare.  The traveler requests reimbursement on their travel form after the trip is complete.

  4. Click here for further out-of-state travel reimbursement information.
NOTE:  A Request for Out-of-State Travel must be completed and approved before travel purchase orders are requested and out-of-state travel takes place.  Employees or students traveling without approval, are not reimbursed for expenses incurred during travel.
 

AIR TRAVEL PURCHASE ORDER PROCEDURE

  1. At least two (2) months before the travel date, the traveler should request out-of-state travel approval. To obtain an estimate of airfare, an inquiry call should be placed to a travel agency or airline. Please be aware that airline ticket prices are cheaper further from the date of departure, so estimates should be received and inflated for the Request of Out-of-State Approval. The College currently uses AL-BO Travel Agency for travel arrangements. AL-BO is the only travel agency that will accept a purchase order and payment after the flight is complete. AL-BO is listed on College's vendor file as vendor number 05328 and can be contacted at (256) 891-0888. AL-BO will notify the traveler immediately should the ticket price change after receiving a quote. AL-BO requires payment within 30 days from the purchase order approval date.
  2. Once the approved Request for Out-of-State Travel is received, a purchase requisition can be entered by the Budget Manager.  The following steps should be followed:
    1. The traveler should once again call the travel agency or airline for current ticket prices to be used on the request for a purchase order.  The vendor should NOT print tickets until they receive an approved purchase order.
    2. The traveler forwards the approved Request for Out-of-State Travel to the Purchasing Office.
    3. The Budget Manager can enter a request for a purchase order on the computer system.  The following information is to be included on the requisition:
      1. person's name(s) taking the flight
      2. time & date of the flight and return flight
      3. flight numbers
      4. the price of the flight
  3. When the purchase order is printed (generally the day after the purchase requisition is entered), the Purchasing Agent confirms the approved Request for Out-of-State Travel has been received.  The Purchasing Agent may then approve the purchase order.
  4. The Purchasing Agent faxes the vendor copy of the purchase order to the travel agency or airline.  Once the travel agency or airline receives the approved purchase order, they can print the airline tickets.
  5. The vendor will generate the tickets and fax or email them to the traveler unless the Air Line requires an actual ticket.
    If the airline tickets are approved to be pre-paid, the Budget Manager can submit the invoice for airfare, the purchase order and copy of the Request for Out-of-State Travel to the Accounts Payable Office for pre-payment.  Upon the traveler's return from the trip, the traveler is to forward to the Accounts Payable Office a boarding pass showing flight information or some document showing the flight did take place.

    If the airline tickets are to be paid after the travel takes place, the traveler forwards the boarding pass showing flight information to the Budget Manager when the traveler returns from the trip.  The Budget Manager forwards the signed master copy of the purchase order, the boarding pass, the original invoice, the itinerary and a copy of the Request for Out-of-State Travel to the Accounts Payable Office for payment.  This should be done as soon as possible after the traveler returns from the trip.

Air Travel Procedures Updated April, 2007

 
 

ALABAMA STATE CONTRACTS

  Alabama State Contract information can be accessed at www.purchasing.state.al.us.


ALABAMA BID LAW

    According to the Alabama Bid Law, purchases $7,500.00 or over must be bid or purchased using a state contract.  Included are similar items purchased in a year that exceed $7,500.00.  Contact the Purchasing Agent for a current list of bid items.  Current GSCC bid results are emailed when awarded, available at the Duplication Center located on the George Wallace Drive Campus in Meadows Hall, and available on the internal webpage of the College.

For example:  A similar item is purchased by the College within a year.  Each similar item purchase is less than $7,500.00.  Total similar items purchased by different departments of the College in a year is $9,000.00.  The similar item is required to be bid.


Similar items may be paper products, computer equipment, furniture, carpet, custodial supplies, welding supplies, nursing supplies, athletic equipment and supplies, etc.  Contracts for services are also bid if the total amount of the contract (over the length of the contract, such as 1 year or 3 years) exceeds $7,500.00.  These services include bookstore management, cafeteria management, grounds maintenance, waste disposal, vending services, banking services, computer hardware and software maintenance, etc.

    As required by the Alabama Bid Law, bid quotes for $10,000.00 or more must include a bid bond of 5% of the total bid quote.  The bid bond must be a cashier's check, irrevocable letter of credit or bid bond executed by a surety company.  Bid bond checks are kept until the bid has been awarded.  Once awarded, the bid bond checks are returned to the bidder.

    GSCC will only bid items that will be purchased.  Bid proposals are not requested on items that the College does not plan to purchase for the sake of shopping around for the best price.  If a budget manager requests that two projection systems be bid, then the Purchasing Agent and vendors will assume that both projection systems will be purchased. The College may request an alternate bid.

    For further bid and state contract information, refer to Code of Alabama 1975, Title 41, Chapter 16 - Public Contracts Article 3 - Competitive Bidding on Contracts of Certain State and Local Agencies.

BID REQUEST

    Budget Managers send specifications for purchases $7,500.00 or over to the Purchasing Office.  Specifications state that bid quotes include shipping and installation charges.  The Budget Manager also provides a list of requested bidders and their addresses.  GSCC has a database of over 1,500 vendors who have requested in writing to be on the bid list.  To add a bidder to the bid list, the bidder must provide a written request addressed to the Purchasing Agent.

    The Purchasing Agent reviews the specifications and puts the request in line for bid.  Requests from various departments may be combined into one bid.

BID INVITATION

    Bid invitations are generated from the specifications received from the Budget Managers.  Bid invitations are sent to all bidders who requested to bid on the items as well as the vendors the Budget Manager requested.  When bid invitations are sent, GSCC gives the bidders approximately three (3) weeks to receive the invitation, process the information, and return a response or bid quote.

BID RESPONSE

    The Purchasing Agent must receive the original bid quote in a sealed envelope on the form provided before the bid opening date and time.  No late bid quotes are accepted.  FAX quotes are not accepted.  Bidders are requested to send a response to the bid invitation even if they do not wish to bid on the bid items.  After three (3) no responses, the bidder is removed from the bid list.  To bid on future bid invitations, the non-responsive bidder must request in writing to be placed on the bid list.

BID OPENING

    The Purchasing Agent records bid proposals, bid bonds, and other documentation at the bid opening.  At least one witness besides the Purchasing Agent must be present at the bid opening.

BID AWARD

    After the bid opening, the Purchasing Agent meets with the awarding authority or the requesting Budget Manager(s) to determine the lowest responsible bid.  Bid documents are kept permanently, reviewed by the Examiners of Public Accounts and are available for public inspection.

BID PURCHASE

    Requisitions for bid or state contract items must include the bid or state contract number and item number if available.  This serves as documentation that items purchased are purchased from a bid or state contract.



COMPUTER PURCHASE APPROVAL

    Computer purchases $10,000 or more must be approved by the Department of Postsecondary Education. Computer purchases $50,000 or more must be approved by the Department of Postsecondary Education and the Alabama State Board of Education.



CONTRACT POLICY

    To ensure the college has all the information needed for service purchases, a contract between the vendor and Gadsden State Community College is needed.  Examples of services that require a signed contract are (but not limited to) license agreements and technical support.  If you are not sure if a contract will be needed, please contact the Purchasing Agent.

    A contract is to provide the following information:

  • Service to be provided.
  • Contract period.
  • Contract amount.
  • Contract Expiration.
  • Signatures and titles for both parties (*Remember the Dean of Financial & Administrative Services and the President are the only people authorized to sign contracts for Gadsden State Community College.)
    A Services Agreement Contract Form is available is the company does not have a contract with the information needed.  If more space is needed for the services to be provided, please ask the vendor to include the additional information on a separate sheet.

Click here for a Services Agreement Contract Form.


DISCLOSURE STATMENT

     Purchase orders issued to vendors in the amount of $5,000.00 or more are forwarded to the vendor along with a Disclosure Statement.  The Disclosure Statement must be completed by the vendor, notarized and returned to the College before the College disburses funds approved by the purchase order.  If a vendor has previously submitted a completed Disclosure Statement, the previously submitted Disclosure Statement may be used for future purchase orders.  Also, one Disclosure Statement can be used for a bid awarded to a vendor which may include numberous purchase orders.





DOCUMENTATION

    Some items purchased by the College require documentation at the time a purchase order is requested and when the purchase order is submitted for payment.  Descriptions of these items, required documentation, and procedures are as follows:



Alabama State Contract Purchases

    Documentation is required when a purchase is made using the Alabama State Contact.  Proper documentation would be the following:

1.  The first page of the state contract showing the state contract number.
2.  The page of the state contract showing the price or percentage off.
3.  The page out of the vendor's catalog showing a picture of the item and the suggested retail price.

    At the time a purchase order is requested, submit proper documentation to the Purchasing Agent.  An approved purchase order will be issued when the documentation is received by the Purchasing Agent.


Expenditures to be Made for a Person or Group of Persons

At the time items are submitted to the Accounts Payable Office for payment,  the name or names of persons for whom expenditures are requested are required to be included before payment can be made.  If the expenditure involves out-of-state travel a copy of the approved Request for Out-of-State Travel must also be provided. Examples of these expenditures are:  hotel room, bus rental, vehicle rental, tour fee, airline ticket, membership, admission, t-shirt, award, Honors Day award, plaque, meal money, meal–any amount expended for an individual or a group of persons.

If a purchase order is received in the Accounts Payable Office without the name or names provided, it will be returned to the Budget Manager with a note stating the documentation required.  This can unfortunately delay payment for at least a week.





Food and Related Supplies for Any Meetings, Classes, or Events

        Documentation is required when food and related supplies--cups, plates, napkins, etc.--to be used for entertainment purposes during a meeting, class, or event are requested to be purchased.  This applies to such items purchased by purchase orders and petty cash vouchers.  (Petty cash vouchers are used to make allowable and legal purchases.  No more than $50.00 may be reimbursed using a petty cash voucher.)

    When requesting a purchase order for these items, submit the following listed documentation to the Purchasing Agent:

1. what - agenda or statement giving the business purpose
2. who - a list of names of those expected to attend
3. when
4. where
5. The Wallace Drive Cafeteria should be given an opportunity to supply food for meetings and events for the college.
*Click here for more petty cash information.

An approved purchase order will be issued when the documentation is received by the Purchasing Agent.
Click here to access a documentation form which can be completed and submitted as proper documentation.

    When the invoice is submitted to the Accounts Payable Office for payment, submit an accurate list of the names of the persons who were in attendance--no matter how small or large the meeting.  A sign-in sheet can be used to obtain a list of names.  For an event as large as graduation, a sufficient list of names of persons in attendance would be "graduates, graduates guests, faculty," and the names of scheduled speakers.

    When a petty cash voucher for food and related supplies is submitted to the Business Office for reimbursement, provide the proper documentation.



Speaker Fees

    Determine if a speaker is to be paid through the Payroll System or through the Accounts Payable System by reviewing independent contractor/employee information.
Click here for independent contractor/employee information.

    When requesting a purchase order for a speaker fee, submit the following listed documentation to the Purchasing Agent:

1. what - agenda or statement giving the business purpose
2. who - a list of names of those expected to attend
3. when
4. where

An approved purchase order will be issued when the documentation is received by the Purchasing Agent.
Click here to access a documentation form which can be completed and submitted as proper documentation.

    When the invoice is submitted to the Accounts Payable Office for payment, submit an accurate list of the names of the persons who were in attendance--no matter how small or large the meeting.  A sign-in sheet can be used to obtain a list of names.  For an event as large as graduation, a sufficient list of names of persons in attendance would be "graduates, graduates guests, faculty," and the names of any other scheduled speakers.



Promotional Items (Object Code 667)

    Documentation is required when promotional items--tee shirts, pens, cups, hats, note pads, etc., to be distributed to students or the community--are requested to be purchased.

    When requesting a purchase order for these items, submit the following listed documentation to the Purchasing Agent:

1. what - the promotional purpose
2. who - to whom the items will be distributed (names) or name of group (students, etc.)
3. when
4. where
5.  The item's worth after use is to be stated in the documentation.  It may be stated that after the item has been used the item will no longer have value.  If the item will have some remaining value, such as blazers purchased for members of a club, the items are to be returned to an authorized College employee for accountability and future use.

An approved purchase order will be issued when the documentation is received by the Purchasing Agent.
Click here to access a documentation form which can be completed and submitted as proper documentation.

    If an employee of the College is to receive a promotional item such as a t-shirt, further documentation is required explaining the business purpose of the College providing the item to the employee.

      When the invoice is submitted to the Accounts Payable Office for payment, submit an accurate list of the names of the persons who received the promotional items.  If the promotional items were not ordered for specific persons, a description of the group receiving the items, such as "students attending job fair," would be sufficient.



Advertisements, Printing, Radio Broadcasts

    When requesting a purchase order for advertisements to be published, include in the description section of the request "original tear sheet must accompany invoice."  When submitting the advertisement invoice to the Accounts Payable Office, a tear sheet (the original full page of the publication on which the advertisement appears) is to accompany the invoice and purchase order.  Or, an affidavit can be used as documentation.  An affidavit must:

  1. be an original document
  2. be signed by the vendor
  3. be notarized
  4. list the dates the advertisement appeared
  5. have an original of the advertisement attached
This provides the Accounts Payable Office with documentation of the advertisement which was published for the College.

    When submitting an invoice for items printed--brochures, business cards, forms, stamps, etc.--to the Accounts Payable Office, attach one of the items printed to the purchase order and invoice.  To provide a sample of a stamp, stamp the invoice with the stamp.  This provides the Accounts Payable Office with documentation of the item which was printed for the College.

    When submitting an invoice for radio broadcasts to the Accounts Payable Office, the invoice is to list the dates and times of broadcasts and an affidavit of services rendered is to be printed on the invoice.  The affidavit must:

  1. be an original document
  2. be signed by the vendor
  3. be notarized
This provides the Accounts Payable Office with documentation of the radio broadcasts which were aired for the College.
 
 

 Plaques and Awards (Object Code 666)

    Documentation is required when plaques and awards are requested to be purchased.

    When requesting a purchase order for plaques or awards, submit the following listed documentation to the Purchasing Agent:

1. what - the purpose
2. who - to whom the item will be distributed (name) or the name of the group
3. when
4. where

    The College is unable to purchase plaques, framed certificates, or other items for recognition of an employee of the College.

    An approved purchase order will be issued when the Purchasing Agent has received the documentation.
Click here to access a documentation form which can be completed and submitted as proper documentation.

    When the invoice is submitted to the Accounts Payable Office for payment, submit an accurate list of the names of the persons who received the plaques or award.





Travel

    Items that may be purchased for travel purposes are registration fees, hotel fees, and airfare.  At the time a purchase order is requested for such an item, submit proper documentation to the Purchasing Agent.  An approved purchase order will be issued when the Purchasing Agent has received the copy of the approval.

    Proper documentation for In-State Travel is the approved request for travel.
Click here for in-state travel approval information.

    Proper documentation for Out-of-State Travel is the approved request for travel.
Click here for out-of-state travel approval information.

    Proper documentation for Student Travel is as follows:

    • approved request for travel (used for out-of-state travel)
    • a list of the participants which includes chaperons
    • agenda of the activities providing where activities will take place and when.
Click here for further student travel information.

    Travel items submitted to the Accounts Payable Office for payment should be submitted with the documentation attached as follows:  approved request for travel (used for out-of-state travel) and a list of the persons in travel status for the College.  The proper documentation is to be submitted with request to pay registration fees, hotel fees and airfare as well as the travel reimbursement form.  The College is able to make payment for once the event has occurred.  If pre-payment of fees is approved on the Request for Out-of-State Travel Approval, registration and airfare fees can be pre-paid.




EQUIPMENT REPAIRS

    A purchase order is required when sending equipment to a vendor for repair or for an estimate of repair costs.  Use a high estimate for the amount of the purchase order and "Attachment" is to be stated on the requisition for the purchase order.  Once the repair has been completed, the purchase order can be used for payment purposes.  If the item is not to be repaired and there are no costs, the purchase order can be canceled and the money will return to the budget.



EQUIPMENT TRADE-IN PROCEDURES

    To trade-in equipment for new equipment, the Budget Manager request a form DPE-22 to be processed by the Coordinator of Business Services.  Once the form DPE-22 is approved, a purchase order can be requested.

    As discussed with State Auditors in an Audit Exit Conference, the purchase order is to be requested for the gross amount of the item to be purchased.  The trade-in item and amount is to be documented in the description section of the purchase order.

    When the purchase order is paid, the gross amount of the item is charged to the department budget and the amount of the trade-in is charged to revenue from sale of property.  A check is mailed to the vendor for the net amount.

    Equipment purchased with grant funds is disposed of as per the grant guidelines.



FISCAL YEAR

   All purchases are to be paid for within the fiscal year in which the purchase took place (date goods received) or services were performed.  (The fiscal year of the
College is October 1 - September 30.)  Any items sent for payment in the following fiscal year are considered a violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; therefore, a completed and approved justification form would be required in order for payment to be made.

    This applies also to budgets of which the fiscal year differs from the fiscal year of the College.  For example:  a grant's budget year is September 1 to August 31.
That budget would need to submit invoices for items received in September for payment to the Accounts Payable Office within the month of September.  Invoices must
be submitted early enough for payment to be made in the month of September.  All budgets must comply with the fiscal year policies of the College.

    If it is known items received in the current fiscal year will not be invoiced until the next fiscal year, the Budget Manager should contact the Coordinator of Financial Services so that she may accrue the items.  A fund two budget can be accrued if it does not end on September 30.  A justification form is not required if the purchase has been accrued.



INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR/EMPLOYEE

    Individuals working for the College are either an employee or an independent contractor.  Employees require an employment contract and are paid by the payroll system.  Independent contractors require a purchase order and are paid by the accounts payable system.

    At this time, the guidance the Internal Revenue Service uses to properly classify workers is a list of twenty factors that question the extent of control in the relationship.  If there is a question whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee, the Purchasing Agent may request the Budget Manager complete an Independent Contractor/Employee Form to determine if the individual requires an employment contract or a purchase order.  The individual is most likely an employee if more than three of the factors apply.
Click here for an Independent Contractor/Employee Form.




NON-COLLEGE FUNCTIONS

    Alabama Board of Education policy prohibits the use of college facilities for non-college functions.  College facilities may not be used for conducting private business or social functions beyond the scope of the college mission.  Similarly, such activities conducted during employee duty hours are a direct violation of state law and board policy and is not permitted.

    State Board Policy 512.01 outlines conditions under which non-college use of facilities is permitted.  Any use outside this policy shall not be authorized.  Violation of the policy can result in immediate dismissal.
Click here to view Alabama College System Board Policies.



PREVIEW ORDERS

    A purchase order is required when ordering an item for preview.  "For preview-do not send" is to be stated on the requisition for the purchase order.  If the item is to be purchased, the purchase order can be used for payment purposes.  If the item is to be returned to the vendor, the purchase order can be canceled and the money will return to the budget.