Purchasing Policies

PURCHASING OF GOODS AND SERVICES

All College employees should be familiar with the comprehensive Purchasing Policy.  Any questions about the Purchasing Policy should be directed to the Procurement Manager or the Director of Finance and Business Operations.  Select highlights of the Purchasing Policy are outlined below.

PURCHASING AUTHORITY

Purchasing responsibilities are concentrated.  Only a very limited number of people are authorized to make financial commitments on behalf of the College.  Those people include (1) the President, (2) the Vice President of Finance and Administration, (3) the Vice President of Human Resources ad General Counsel (with respect to limited types of financial commitments) and (4) the Procurement Manager through the issuance of a College Purchase Order.

Except for through the compliant use of the Purchasing Methods described below, no other Lafayette College employee, student, alumnus or affiliated individual may financially obligate the College in any form.  Commitments by unauthorized persons will not be honored by the College, and therefore the individual has created a personal obligation to the supplier.  Violation of the authorities noted above may lead to disciplinary action.  Material or repeated violations will lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

required Approvals

All purchases require the approval of the person responsible for that particular Fund-Organization combination with the exception of those that are Federally funded.  Generally, this will be a department head/manager.  Any purchase/commitment expected to exceed $25,000 also requires the approval of the respective Division Head.  Any purchase/commitment expected to exceed $100,000 also requires the approval of the Vice President of Finance and Administration.  In addition:

  • Grant-funded purchases must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Research or the Director of Corporate Relations, as applicable  [Note: Federally-funded purchases of $5,000 or more must also be approved by the head of the applicable department.]
  • IT-related hardware, software and services must be approved by ITS
  • Hazardous materials must the approved by Public Safety
  • Furniture must be approved by Facilities Planning and Construction
  • Any good/service negotiated with a non-cash component must be approved by the Vice President for Finance and Administration

COMPETITIVE BIDDING

The requesting of bids, proposals and/or quotations is a recognized and accepted means of ensuring effective competition among suppliers, and the College will generally receive greater discounts and better service through this process.  As such, the College will use a competitive bidding procedure whenever it is practical for all types of purchases.  In particular, orders expected to be in excess of $10,000 require documented quotations from three different providers.  These can be obtained by the requisitioning department but must be submitted to the Purchasing Office at the time the Requisition is completed.

For purchases expected to be $100,000 or more, the Purchasing Office must be directly involved in the competitive process.  The requisitioning department is responsible for defining the quantity, specifications, delivery date, and any other pertinent information essential to make a proper purchase. The requisitioning department may be called upon to assist the Purchasing Office in evaluating the bids received relative to a purchase for that department.  The requisitioning department should allow from one to six weeks for the competitive bid process to occur, depending upon the requirements.

Competitive bidding is not required when one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • Bids have been recently received (within the previous three months) for the same items and the bids are still valid.
  • The item is a College standard (standardized computers through ITS, Steelcase furniture/file cabinets, etc.).
  • The item to be purchased has already been bid either through the Educational and Institutional Cooperative (E&I), the LVAIC Purchasing Consortium, Pennsylvania COSTARS state contracts or other qualified group purchasing consortium.
  • The item must be purchased from a sole-source distributor or manufacturer. In this case, a sole source justification sheet should be attached to the purchase requisition. (Example: PA Grant through a PA vendor.)

PREPAID ORDERS

The College does not approve of prepaid orders. When requiring an item be purchased from a company that will not accept a purchase order, the department should contact the Purchasing Office. In certain situations, the Procurement Manager may utilize a college credit card for these orders. The “Request for Credit Card Purchase Form” must be filled out, approved, and forwarded to the Purchasing Office.

If the Procurement Manager uses the College credit card to make a purchase on behalf of a department, a confirmation of the order will go back to the requesting department, and the credit card charge will be paid directly by Lafayette College. The charge and a brief description will show up on the budget in the account that was on the order.

UNAUTHORIZED PURCHASES

The purchasing facilities of Lafayette College are not to be used to procure supplies, equipment, or other merchandise for fraternity associations or for the personal use of employees of the College.  Purchases should not made by an employee using his/her personal funds in expectation of a reimbursement from the College with the exception of  hotel and incidental business travel expenses. If purchases are made without following the College’s purchasing policies, employees will not be reimbursed and a vendor may not be paid.

Other related policies, such as those pertaining to reimbursement and transportation, can be found on the Finance and Administration section of the College’s website.

DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS MATERIAL AND EQUIPMENT

Only the Procurement Manager is authorized to arrange for disposal of surplus material and equipment by internal transfer, trade-in, auction (online or otherwise), negotiated sale, donation to a not-for-profit entity recognized under IRS Code section 501(c)(3) or trash.  No other employee should remove any property of the College from its designated location on campus, without written consent from the Procurement Manager.  The Purchasing Office is responsible for ensuring (1) the most appropriate and cost-effective disposition method is used, (2) Federally- or other grant-funded items are dealt with in accordance with the grant’s requirements, (3) the disposition of all computers and other equipment that may store proprietary or sensitive information is appropriately managed by the Information Technology Services department, and (4) the College’s list of capital assets is current and accurate.

When there are items (e.g., furniture pieces, equipment, etc.) a department wishes to remove from their area or are being under-utilized, the Purchasing Office should be called to manage the process.  If an item is still usable, it will be stored for use by other departments on campus.  Items placed in surplus storage are not kept for a specific department but can be given to any department in need.  The only cost to the receiving department is for any labor cost/transfer charged by Plant Operations.

Contact Us

Purchasing Office
630 Parsons Street
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 330-5017
Fax: (610) 330-5701