Ohio UniversitySUPERCEDED Business Policy and Procedure

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

SUPERCEDED on March 27, 2006

Current Version


Approved on January 6, 2004Signatures and dates
on archival copy


when approved 

Initiated by:

Mary Patacca
Director of Procurement Services

Reviewed by:

Herman ("Butch") Hill, Chair
Policy and Procedure Review Committee

Endorsed by:

Gary North
Vice President for Administration and Finance

Approved by:

Stephen Kopp

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


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 book acquisitions. The University's Board of Trustees and Executive Officers are responsible for land and building acquisition.


I.  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 41.122, "Petty Cash and Change Funds"), Direct Payment (formerly known as "Request for Payment" - see Policy 55.012, "Purchasing - Direct Payment"), or the University purchasing card (see Policy 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. Any individual making purchases or entering into contracts without authorization risks assuming a personal obligation to the vendor.

II.  Vendor Selection

It is the responsibility of the Purchasing and Contracting Office to select sources of supply. Other University departments should 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.

III.  Personal Purchases

A.  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.

B.  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:

  • flower vases and arrangements
  • briefcases
  • chair cushions
  • coffee making equipment (except for public areas or official break rooms)
  • plate glass desk tops
  • draperies or window coverings of an ornamental nature
  • ornamental items such as pictures, pillows, plants, etc.
  • repairs to personal property
  • area rugs for offices

IV.  Land and Building Acquisition

The acquisition of land and buildings, and associated lease or loan agreements, are not coordinated through the Purchasing Office. Such major property purchases are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees and the President, and to review by any one or all of the following executive officers:

  • Provost
  • VP for Administration and Finance
  • VP for Advancement (when purchase is with Foundation funds, or when acquisition is via a gift to the University)
  • Director of Legal Affairs
  • Director of Facilities Planning and Space Planning
  • Director of Facilities Management
  • the academic budget or planning officer involved.

V.  Conflict of Interest

Acquisitions from a business enterprise (including an unincorporated entity), in which an Ohio University employee has a significant proprietary interest or control, are allowable only if:

  1. Full disclosure of the background facts are presented in writing to University Legal Affairs, and

  2. Prior written permission for the acquisition is given by Legal Affairs.

Significant proprietary interest is present if a single Ohio University employee or employee's spouse or unemancipated or minor children own 5% of the assets of an unincorporated organization or 5% of the outstanding stock of a corporation. Also, see Section 2921.42 of the Ohio Revised Code.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Policy and Procedure Review Committee

  2. Executive Officers

  3. Planning Unit Heads


The following forms are specific to this policy:

  1. The Requisition form is available from Procurement Services, and on the Web, at http://www.finance.ohiou.edu/forms/index.htm#purchasing.

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Copyright © 2005 Ohio University. All Rights Reserved.

Dick Piccard revised this file (http://www.ohiou.edu/policy/55-003.html) on September 13, 2005.

Please E-mail any comments or suggestions to "policy@ohio.edu".