2.25 Purchasing Policy and Procedures

2.25 Purchasing Policy and Procedures

The Director of the Procurement Department shall ensure that all commodities and services that are procured by Ithaca College shall be obtained through competition from a sufficient number of qualified suppliers. The Director of the Procurement Department shall be responsible for obtaining the best value in quality of goods and service for institutional dollar spent. The lowest responsible bidder shall be selected for all purchases (see definition of "lowest responsible bidder" under Contract Awards).

Quotations, pricing, and orders may be accessed and processed via the IC Marketplace for commodities and services required by Ithaca College users. Suppliers in the IC Marketplace have been vetted, negotiated, and have contracts in place to offer the best available pricing to Ithaca College.

2.25.1 Professional Ethics Standards

All Ithaca College staff shall adhere to the codes of conduct of the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP) and the Institute for Supply Management (I.S.M.) that govern the performance of its officers, employees or agents engaged in the awarding and administration of contracts using College funds.

2.25.2 Conflict of Interest

No employee, officer or agent shall participate in the selection, award or administration of a contract in which College funds are used, where, to the employee, officer or agent’s knowledge, the employee, officer or agent or the employee, officer or agent’s immediate family, partners, or organization in which the employee, officer or agent or the employee, officer or agent’s immediate family or partner has a financial interest, or with whom the employee, officer or agent is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment.

The recipients' officers, employees or agents shall neither solicit nor accept gratuities, favors or anything of monetary value from contractors or potential contractors. Such standards shall provide for disciplinary actions to be applied for violations of such standards by the recipients' officers, employees, or agents.

2.25.3 Competitive Bidding

All exceptions to the competitive bidding procedure must be approved by the Director of the Procurement Department. The Director of the Procurement Department has the authority to exempt purchases from the competitive bidding procedure if the purchases qualify (see "Exception To Competitive Bidding Process" section 2.25 & 4.2).

The procedures for preparing and administering bids shall be determined by the estimated amount of the purchase requisition, as dictated by the parameters of the competitive bidding procedure. Competitive pricing shall be solicited by the following methods for all purchases within the specified dollar amounts:

$0 - $2,000.00
No Bidding Required

$2,001.00 - $10,000.00
Informal Bidding - Documentation Required

$10,001.00 and over
Formal Bids by the Director of the Procurement Department (or authorized designees) Preparation of Invitation For Bids

The following paragraphs set forth the procedures to be used for soliciting competition, and the required documentation. Informal Bids (Telephone Quotes, Fax Quotes, Proposals)

All purchase order requests ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 should have a written quote from the supplier to clarify pricing, specifications, payment terms, delivery time, and shipping cost.

All purchase order requests ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 should have 2 to 3 written quotes from various suppliers to show evidence of competitive pricing, clarify specifications, payment terms, delivery time, and shipping cost unless the item can be sole-source justified briefly in writing to the procurement department. Formal Bids

When a purchase requisition is estimated to be over $10,000.00, a formal bidding process is required. The Director of the Procurement Department or authorized designees will be responsible for preparing invitations for bids and executing the bid solicitation process for formal bids. Bid specifications are prepared by either the user department, if the commodity is of highly technical nature (i.e., architectural or engineering plans), or by the individual departments if the commodity or service is of a more general nature. Suppliers to be Solicited

For informal bids, qualified bidders will be selected from a bidders’ list on a rotational basis so as to ensure complete coverage of the entire bidders’ list and explore all opportunities for competition.

In the formal bidding process, all suppliers on the bidders’ list will be solicited.

In order to ensure objective contract performance and eliminate unfair competitive advantage, contractors that develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, invitations for bids, and/or requests for proposal should be excluded from competing for such procurements unless the contractor's participation in such specification development is acknowledged in the bid solicitation and approved by the Procurement Department.

Positive efforts will be made to utilize small business and minority-owned business sources of supplies and services.

2.25.4 Contract Awards

Contract awards will be made to the most qualified bidder. The following paragraphs describe the criteria for determining the lowest responsible bidder, as well as other pertinent factors and circumstances that enter into bid evaluation. Definition of the Most Qualified Bidder

The lowest responsible bidder is defined as the bidder who submits the lowest bid quotation in accordance with the requirements set forth in the bid specifications, with consideration given to such factors as:

Reliability and integrity – does not have a record of contract default or malfeasance in attempting to secure a contract.

Financial ability – has a sound financial condition as evidenced by financial statements.

Service and delivery – capable of delivering the specified products, in the required quality and quantity, on time.

Insurability – ability to meet College liability insurance requirements.

The lowest bidder is not always the lowest responsible bidder. Judgment must be exercised in evaluating the criteria to determine the lowest responsible bidder and, therefore, obtaining the best value for the College. Exception to Competitive Bidding Process

Although competition should be required whenever practical, a degree of latitude should be permitted when competition may not be feasible for specific commodities, services, and circumstances. Single source items, compatible parts, and commodities and services required on an emergency basis are major categories of purchases which typically cannot be acquired through the normal competitive bidding process. Single/sole source must be justified in writing by requesting department (see section – sole source form available on the Procurement website. Emergency Purchases

An emergency is defined as a critical situation which is an unanticipated and sudden occurrence which is life threatening, catastrophic in nature, or involves pressing necessity for immediate repairs, reconstruction, or maintenance in order to permit the safe continuation of a necessary use or function, or to protect the property or the life, health, or safety of any person.

The Director of the Procurement Department should be contacted to provide assistance to the department with any event that meets these criteria. State Contract Items

As a private institution, the College is eligible to purchase from New York State Contracts. Purchases from these contracts are exempt from bidding at the discretion of the Director of the Procurement Department. Many times, Ithaca College can buy better than state contract pricing. Contract Items

There may be contracts in place that preclude bidding at the time of requisition, but have been bid or negotiated previously based on Ithaca College’s total requirements for a particular commodity. Sole Source Items

Where competition may not be feasible due to the sole source nature of a commodity or a particular specification, a written justification is required. The format for written justification follows.

The sole source justification should be prepared by someone familiar enough with the requirements to provide the necessary information. This should be countersigned by someone in a supervisory position (i.e., department chair, dean, director) and forwarded to the Director of the Procurement Department. The “sole source justification” form is available on the Procurement website. Sole Source Purchase Justification

By submitting a written justification, a department may substantiate the need for "Sole Source" or "Proprietary" purchases:

1. The description of the need for compatibility with an existing item, (in enough detail to demonstrate that compatibility is indeed necessary).


2. An explanation that a supplier holds a service contract and therefore must supply the parts to accomplish such a contract.


3. A description of the feature or features which would make an item unique:

  • A detailed explanation of how and why these "unique features" affect the function of the item
  • An explanation of why these functions and/or features are necessary to the use intended by the College.

  • Why an item without these functions and/or features could not be used.

  • Use of statistics or dollar amounts if applicable.

  • A justification incorporating the above information should also include:

    • A definitive statement that no competition by manufacturers or dealers exists; with an explanation of how this information was arrived at;
  • Any other data which the end-user feels would support "sole source" purchasing.

4. Price justification: a statement that would indicate why you consider the price to be reasonable. Reasonableness of price could be established by a price list, comparison of similar items, etc.

2.25.5 Bidders' List

All suppliers who conduct business with Ithaca College must meet criteria as responsible and financially sound business organizations. To this end, all suppliers are required to submit a prequalification application to the Director of the Procurement Department for review and approval. All applications shall be reviewed in a fair and impartial manner.

A bidders’ list of qualified bidders shall be established and systematically updated for each commodity that is procured by the College. The bidders' list shall be used as the basis of soliciting suppliers for all competitive bidding.

Ithaca College is an equal opportunity employer. Contract workers may be union or non-union labor. Unless otherwise stated, the funds to be used for most College projects are private funds and Ithaca College is under no obligation to pay State of New York prevailing wage rates. In the event there is federal funding for a project, this policy may be superseded by terms contained in the PROCUREMENT OF GOODS AND SERVICES WITH FEDERAL FUNDS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.

The bidders’ list shall be reviewed periodically by the Director of the Procurement Department to determine its currency and that it is properly used.

Rejected applicants must be informed in writing of the reason(s) for rejection. Organization of Bidders' List

The bidders’ list should be organized so that it provides an effective means of soliciting qualified suppliers. In order to ensure that the bidders’ list is manageable and avoids wasteful solicitation, it should be arranged according to major commodity groups. As a general rule, the commodity groupings should extend to that classification level which produces a good return on bid solicitations. In other words, the commodity groupings should be sufficiently refined so that they bear a specific relationship to the items in the group. Use of the Bidders' List

The bidders’ list shall be used as the primary source for soliciting invitations to bid. When soliciting invitations under the formal bidding process, the buyer shall reference the appropriate bidders’ list and send bids to all suppliers listed. This same requirement also shall apply to the informal bidding process, except that, if the list is excessively long, the buyer may choose to solicit a smaller number of suppliers from the list. Prequalifications for Bidders' List

Suppliers who are interested in doing business with the College must complete a prequalification application for the bidders’ list. The purpose of this application is to assess the supplier’s financial condition, product lines, and ability to provide quality and timely service.

The Director of the Procurement Department review all prequalification applications. Criteria to be considered in evaluating supplier qualifications include:

  • Availability of qualified staff;
  • Length of time key personnel have been employed is sufficient to demonstrate knowledge and experience of industry;
  • Capacity to produce in a quality and timely fashion;
  • Financial condition;
  • Past performance.

In addition, prospective suppliers should be requested to provide brochures and any other descriptive materials that would be helpful in assessing the supplier’s capabilities.

Suppliers who are not accepted for inclusion on the bidders’ list are informed, in writing by the Director of the Procurement Department, of the reasons for the rejection. Suppliers who are accepted onto the bidders’ list are informed of the policies and procedures of the College. Maintenance of Bidders' List

Prequalification is only one aspect of managing an effective bidders’ list. Of equal importance are maintaining the currency of the list and ensuring that suppliers contained on the list continue to meet the original application standards. Additions to the Bidders' List

The bidders’ list is a key ingredient in the competitive bidding process. The type and extent of competition depends on the adequacy of the list.

There are several techniques that should be used to identify new suppliers. The brochure entitled Doing Business with Ithaca College should be used as one means of informing the business community that Ithaca College encourages suppliers to qualify for the bidders’ list. Buyers should send copies of the brochure to any known companies who are not on the list.

The bidders’ list shall be reviewed periodically by the Director of the Procurement Department to ensure that qualified and acceptable suppliers are being added to the bidders’ list. Suspension from the Bidders' List

Under certain conditions, the suppliers may be suspended from the bidders' list. Events warranting suspension are as follows:

  • Failure to deliver commodities according to the schedule indicated on the purchase order.
  • Delivery of commodities that are not specified on the purchase order.
  • Failure to respond to three consecutive invitations for bid.
  • Substitution of commodity ordered without prior approval.
  • Failure to comply with bid price.
  • Failure to continue to meet the initial prequalification criteria.
  • Evidence of unsatisfactory performance, as determined by the Director of the Procurement Department.

Any supplier suspended from the bidders’ list will not be reinstated unless the supplier submits evidence substantiating that the conditions which initiated the suspension from the bidders’ list are no longer present, nor are they likely to occur in the future. Reinstatement to the bidders’ list shall be approved by the Director of the Procurement Department. Removal from the Bidders' List

Under certain conditions, the Director of the Procurement Department may remove suppliers from the bidders' list. Events warranting removal are as follows:

  • Bankruptcy or insolvency of the supplier.
  • Pending bankruptcy.
  • Collusion with other bidders to restrain competitive bidding.
  • At the bidder's own request. 
  • Removal from the bidders' list for the above reasons is absolute, with no provision for reinstatement.

Bidders who have been suspended or removed from the bidders’ list will be notified in writing, by the Director of the Procurement Department, of the reasons for such action.

2.25.6 Monitoring Supplier Performance

An important aspect of maintaining a qualified bidders’ list is monitoring supplier performance. It is essential that user departments are satisfied with the quality and timeliness of services received from suppliers. The Director of the Procurement Department has the primary responsibility for tracking supplier performance and dealing with suppliers who fail to provide adequate service. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the Director of the Procurement Department must keep informed of any problems user departments may encounter with suppliers. To accomplish this, user departments experiencing dissatisfaction with suppliers must report complaints to the Director of the Procurement Department indicating the specific details and reasons for dissatisfaction.

The Director of the Procurement Department is responsible for handling supplier complaints and will review the facts through discussions with the user department and the supplier. Based on this review, the Director of the Procurement Department will take appropriate action to ensure that the user department needs are adequately met.

Last Updated: November 17, 2017