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Business Policy and Procedure

55.003:  Purchasing Authority: Vendor Selection, Personal Purchases, Land and Building Acquisition, Conflict-of-Interest


Approved on March 27, 2006Signatures and dates
on archival copy


when approved 

Initiated by:

Mary Patacca
Director of Business Services

Endorsed by:

The Ohio

Kathy Krendl

Approved by:

Roderick J. McDavis
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Numeric Index Policy and Procedure Alphabetical Index
  1. Purpose

    This policy provides basic guidance for University staff using University funds to purchase items for business use.

  2. Plan

    The Procurement Services Division of the Finance Area is responsible for purchasing and contracting, and related negotiations and contract administration, for all goods and services purchased by the University as described below. There are three exceptions: Food Services is responsible for food purchasing. The Library is responsible for library acquisitions. The Office of University Planning and Implementation coordinates land, space, and building acquisition, subject to approval by Cabinet Officers, the University's Board of Trustees, and the State Controlling Board. Any contract for purchase may be subject to the review and approval of The Office of Legal Affairs to ensure compliance with Ohio Law.

  3. General Guidelines

    With the exceptions noted in the Policy section, above, no individual has the authority to enter into purchase contracts, or to obligate Ohio University for procurement indebtedness unless specifically authorized to do so by Procurement Services.

    Users who are properly using Petty Cash (see Policy and Procedure 41.122, "Petty Cash and Change Funds"), Direct Payment (formerly known as "Request for Payment" - see Policy and Procedure 55.012, "Purchasing - Direct Payment"), or the University purchasing card (see Policy and Procedure 55.074, "Purchasing Card") are individually authorized within the limits of those policies.

    Otherwise, all purchases must be made by submission of a Requisition to the Purchasing and Contracting Office division of Procurement Services. That office will purchase the item by issue of a Purchase Order to the vendor.

  4. Vendor Selection

    It is the responsibility of the Purchasing and Contracting Office to select sources of supply. Other University departments shall not make commitments to vendors, either expressed or implied. However, departmental preference and past performance of vendors are important factors in vendor selection. The Purchasing and Contracting Office is committed to recruiting new vendors, including minority or disadvantaged business enterprises whenever possible. The University is committed to dealing only with Equal Opportunity Suppliers.

  5. Personal Purchases

    1. Items For Personal Use

      The University will not purchase goods or services for the personal use of University employees, nor will it make arrangements to create buyer-seller relationships between staff members and University suppliers.

      Individuals may not use University vendor contracts or buying power for personal purchases. Any attempt to purchase personal goods or services in the University's name, even if it is the individual's intent to pay out-of-pocket or to fully reimburse the University, is a violation of this policy.

    2. Inessential Items

      The purchase of such items as briefcases, expensive desk pads, or other such appointments is not permitted using University funds. Such items are considered personal items. Examples are listed below:

      1. flower vases and arrangements

      2. briefcases

      3. chair cushions

      4. coffee making equipment (except for public areas or official break rooms)

      5. plate glass desk tops

      6. ornamental items such as pictures, pillows, plants, etc.

      7. repairs to personal property

      8. area rugs for offices

  6. Land and Building Acquisition

    Acquisitions of land, space, buildings, and any associated lease or loan agreements, are not coordinated through the Purchasing Office. Such major property purchases are coordinated by the Office of University Planning and Implementation and are subject to approval by the President, Board of Trustees, and State Controlling Board, as well as review by other cabinet officers and administrators as appropriate, including any or all of the following:

    1. Provost

    2. VP for Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

    3. VP for University Outreach and Regional Campuses

    4. VP for University Advancement (when purchase is with Foundation funds, or when acquisition is via a gift to the University)

    5. VP for Research (when acquisition is for research uses)

    Arrangements for leases of space by University departments in facilities not owned by Ohio University are also coordinated by the Office of University Planning and Implementation, with review as appropriate by other University offices such as Facilities Management, Environmental Health and Safety, and Communication Network Services. Such lease agreements are prepared by the Office of Legal Affairs and are contingent on approval by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

  7. Conflict of Interest

    1. Proprietary Interest by the Employee, Spouse, or Dependent Child

      Acquisitions from a business enterprise (including an unincorporated entity), in which an Ohio University employee has a significant proprietary interest are prohibited, except as noted below in sub-subsection C. Significant proprietary interest is present if a single Ohio University employee or employee's spouse or unempancipated or minor children own 5% of the assests of an unincorporated organization or 5% of the outstanding stock of a corporation.

    2. Interest by Family or External Business Associates

      A University employee may not authorize or otherwise use the authority or influence of his or her position to secure approval of a University purchase from a business in which he or she, a member of his or her family, or any of his or her external business associates has an interest - i.e., if such persons will profit or benefit from the University purchase. For the purposes of this policy, "family" is defined as including: Grandparents, parents, children whether dependent or not, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, or any person related by blood or marriage and residing in the same household.

    3. Allowable Purchases

      Acquisitions such as those described above are allowable only if:

      1. A full disclosure of the background facts is presented in writing to the Office of Legal Affairs.

      2. Prior written permission for the acquisition is given by the Office of Legal Affairs, based on compliance with Ohio law.

  8. Cross References

    This policy is in accordance with Ohio Ethics Commission Advisory #80-001 (http://www.ethics.ohio.gov/opinions/80-001.html), and with the Ohio Revised Code 2921.42 (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2921.42).

    Policy and Procedure 19.058, "Conflict of Interest in Research, Educational, and Public Service Activities," addresses those topics.

Administrative Policy Manual

Andrea Swart revised this page
on August 1, 2017.

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