Policies and Procedures

B0500P Procurement Procedures


Procurement is defined as buying, purchasing, renting, leasing, or otherwise acquiring any product, supplies, services, rental, equipment, construction, remodeling, or any other transaction that involves an expenditure of district funds.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

The Wisconsin Technical College System Board Procurement Policy, Section 6 of the Financial Accounting Manual, is adopted as the College's Procurement Policy and Procedure. This procurement policy and procedure is based on, but not limited to, Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter TCS 6 (6.05 procurement), and the Office of Management and Budget's 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. All federal regulations apply unless the State Board policy, state statutes, or administrative rules are more restrictive.

The Board delegates the authority to the President or his/her designee to implement and provide oversight review of the procurement policy and procedure. The President or his/her designee shall, from time to time, develop such procedures as are necessary to carry out this responsibility.

The Business Services Office shall provide oversight of the procurement policy and procedures on a College-wide basis.

Administrative Rule TCS 6.05(2)(h) requires an annual report to the District Board by October 31 of each year that aggregates multiple purchases of similar goods and services.  Where total purchases for any vendor exceed $50,000 in a fiscal year, further analysis is conducted to determine if these purchases were made under an existing bid, quote, or other contract with the respective vendor.  The Purchasing & Accounts Payable Manager is responsible for evaluating these situations to determine if a more competitive procurement process shall be used in succeeding years.  Annually, the district board shall take formal action by October 31 on the procurement review and report related to the prior fiscal year. Such action is to be reflected in the board minutes.

All District staff must comply with the Code of Ethics set forth in Policy C0206 and the Conflict of Interest and Acceptance of Gift Policy set forth in Policy C0208.

Procurements with a funding source from a federal grant are required to follow the policies established by the Office of Management and Budget's 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.  The College requested and received an exception to the micro-purchase threshold required by OMB @CFR Part 200.  Special permission was received from our cognizant agency (HHS) on November 30, 2018 to increase the micro-purchase threshold to $25,000 for procurements with a funding source from a federal grant.

All purchases of goods, services, and equipment for which the College will be responsible for payment must be properly approved and follow the procurement policies and procedures established by the Business Services Office.

GENERAL PROCEDURES

The following general procurement procedures have been established by the Business Services Office.

Purchasing Authority

Authority to issue purchase orders:  Western's Purchasing Agent and Purchasing & Accounts Payable Manager have sole actual authority to issue and sign purchase orders on behalf of the District.  No other individuals have any authority, either actual, or apparent, or implied, to issue and/or sign purchase orders.

Authority to sign procurement contracts (non-purchase orders):  A procurement contract is any type of written agreement between Western Technical College and another organization (i.e., merchant, supplier, etc.) that forms a binding legal commitment for goods and/or services, including change of ownership, between Western Technical College and that organization.  Such contracts include, but are not limited to, software licenses and maintenance agreements, construction and/or remodeling, equipment and facilities leases, professional services (i.e., architectural, consulting, etc.).

Except in cases per statutes s.38.18 where the signing of public construction contracts is to be made by the District Board chairperson and the District Board secretary, the following signatory levels for District contracts and agreements provide sole authority to those individuals to enter into contracts on behalf of the College.  No other individuals have any authority, either actual, or apparent, or implied, to sign contracts.  


Annual Value per AgreementApproving Authority
Up to $3,000Budget Manager/Purchasing Agent
Between $3,001 and $25,000Purchasing and Accounts Payable Manager
Between $25,001 and $250,000Senior Leadership Team (SLT) Member or Controller
Greater than or equal to $250,000President or Vice President of Finance
BIS Service ContractsDirector of Business and Industry Services

  • Public construction contracts greater than or equal to $25,000 shall be signed by the District Board Chairperson and Secretary.
  • Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) involving potential purchasing obligations shall be signed by the President or Vice-President of the requesting unit.
  • Property rental and leases that require WTCS State Board approval shall be signed by the President.
  • Rentals and leases of $50,000 or less and three (3) years or less are considered minor rentals and leases and are exempt from WTCS State Board approval (TCS 5.09).  Minor rentals and leases shall be signed by the Vice President of Finance.

Agreements will be entered into and signed by the approving authority only after verification that sufficient budget dollars are available and a review of the contract finds all terms and conditions of the contract to be acceptable.  

If a proposed purchase exceeds the budget dollars available to a budget manager, the budget manager must obtain approval from the Vice-President of their department.  It is the responsibility of the Vice-President to identity unused funds that may be available elsewhere in their division that may be transferred to cover the expense. 

Internal budget transfers between accounts must be initiated by a budget manager and approved by the budget manager whose funds are being transferred.  Additionally, transfers of budget dollars must be approved by the Controller.

If the Vice President is not able to identify available funds, the purchase either will not be made during the current fiscal year, or the expenditure should be brought to the senior leadership team for discussion.  The two remaining options available would be for the College to find the budget dollars in a different division or for Senior Leadership to agree to take the purchase out of fund balance.

All signed contracts must be forwarded to and maintained by the Business Services Office.

All purchasing contracts in excess of $50,000 shall include, but are not limited to the following provisions:

  1. Provisions for termination by the District.
  2. Conditions under which the contract may be terminated for default.
  3. Conditions under which the contract may be terminated for circumstances beyond the control of the contractor.
  4. Provisions for administrative, contractual, or legal remedies when contractors violate or breach contract terms.
  5.  A provision requiring compliance with Executive Order 11246, entitled "Equal Employment Opportunity," as amended by Executive Order 11375, and as supplemented in Department of Labor regulations (41 CFR Part 60).  For public construction contracts, the threshold for compliance with this provision is $10,000.

Purchase Order Requirements
Purchase orders are required for the purchases of goods, services, and equipment in excess of $3,500 for which the College will be responsible for payment.  All purchase order requests must be properly approved and follow the procurement policies and procedures established by the Business Services Office. The practice of splitting large purchases into smaller purchases that result in bypassing procurement rules is prohibited.

Audit
The Business Services Office is responsible for auditing all procurements.  Prior to issuance, all purchase order and payment requests are reviewed for reasonableness, appropriateness, and compliance with procurement policies/procedures.

Federally Funded or Grant-Funded Procurement
All federally funded or grant-funded procurements shall be made in accordance with the appropriate regulations or grant requirements.  These procurements must still follow all purchasing authorization guidelines listed above.  In cases where policies conflict, the more restrictive must be used unless prior approval is received from the relevant granting agency.

Procurements with a funding source from a federal grant are required to follow the policies established by the Office of Management and Budget's 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.  The College requested and received an exception to the micro-purchase threshold required by OMB 2CFR Part 200.  Special permission was received from our cognizant agency (HHS) on November 30, 2018 to increase the micro-purchase threshold to $25,000 for procurements with a funding source from a federal grant.

Debarment and Suspension (Executive Orders 12549 and 12689)—A contract award must not be made to parties listed on the government wide exclusions in the System for Award Management (SAM), in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR part 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR part 1989 Comp., p. 235), "Debarment and Suspension." SAM Exclusions contains the names of parties debarred, suspended, or otherwise excluded by agencies, as well as parties declared ineligible under statutory or regulatory authority other than Executive Order 12549.

Procurements Less Than $25,000
Procurements less than $25,000 do not require a competitive process.  However, an effort should always be made to obtain the best possible price by seeking quotes from more than one vendor.

A competitive selection process may still be required in cases where multiple small procurements with a single vendor total more than $50,000 over the course of the year.  See Annual Review of Procurements section of the procedure (BO500p) for more information.

Procurements of $25,000 to $50,000 (Non-construction)
Except as provided in the Bid Waiver section of the procedure (BO500p), procurements where the total cost is at least $25,000 but does not exceed $50,000 shall be based on written quotations from a minimum of three vendors.

Solicitation of quotations shall be done in a manner to maximize competition.

Procurements Greater Than $50,000 (Non-construction)
Except as provided in the Bid Waiver section of the procedure (BO500p), procurements greater than $50,000 require a formal sealed bid process, via either RFB or RFP.

All RFBs and RFPs shall include a clear and accurate description of the item or service being procured.  This description shall not contain features which unduly restrict competition.  Solicitations or offers shall include all requirements which suppliers must fulfill or other factors to be used in evaluating bids or proposals.

Procurements Greater Than $25,000 (Construction)
Public construction procurements greater than $25,000 require a sealed bid process via an RFB.

All RFBs shall include a clear and accurate description of the item or service being procured.  This description shall not contain features which unduly restrict competition.  Solicitations or offers shall include all requirements which suppliers must fulfill.

Public construction contracts greater than or equal to $25,000 shall be signed by the District Board Chairperson and Secretary.

RFPs and Bids
Procurements that do not meet threshold requirements for an RFP or bid may still be procured via the RFP or bid process if it is in the best interest of the District to do so.  All RFPs and bids awarded by the District, both construction and non-construction, will be reviewed by the District Board.  Contact Purchasing to initiate the RFB or RFP process.
 
Brand Name Specific Specifications
Specifications for bids or quotes should not be brand-name specific, except under the following circumstances:

  1. Instructional equipment – Letters from key employers or advisory committee minutes specify that they need their employees trained on a specific brand of equipment.
  1. Non-instructional equipment – The equipment interfaces with existing District equipment and the function of the existing equipment will be impaired if a different brand is used, OR the equipment is incorporated into a piece of existing District equipment that will not function using another brand, OR existing District equipment includes a warranty that will be voided if component units are combined/replaced with another brand, OR the federal or other granting agency authorizes or requires the use of a specific brand.

 
Bid Waiver
The following are allowable exceptions to the bid/quote requirements listed above:

  1. Cooperative purchasing – Purchases from state and government contracts and other contracts approved by the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), provided the vendor was selected through a competitive process by the contracting agency.
  1. Used equipment
  1. Resale items – Items purchased with the intent of reselling.
  1. Emergency procurement – Procurement necessitated by a threat to the continued operation of the District or to the health, safety, or welfare of the students, staff, or guests.  See Emergency Procurement Procedures below.
  1. Outside legal counsel – While competitive bidding is not required, an annual letter of engagement is required.
  1. Sole source – The item is only available from a single source.

 
Procurements made via bid waiver must still follow all purchasing authorization guidelines listed above.  Contracts awarded through cooperative purchasing and sole source will be reported to the District Board for informational purposes.

Emergency Procurement Procedures
Authority--Financial & Administrative Manual-July 2018

"When a public exigency or emergency will not permit a delay incident to competitive procurement, districts may determine the procurement methodology most appropriate to the situation. Emergency procurements are limited to procurements necessitated by a threat to the continued operation of the district or to the health, safety or welfare of students, staff, or the immediately affected general public. Written documentation of the basis of the emergency and the vendor selection methodology and selection must be maintained."

The existence of an emergency situation does not preclude the use of the competitive bidding process in its entirety.  The College will obtain such competition as is practical under the emergency requirements of the situation.

Process
A new account number will be created to track purchases related to each emergency situation.

The requesting department shall first identify those supplies or services necessary to meet the emergency.  Emergency procurement procedures may only be used to purchase that which is necessary to cover the requirements of the emergency. Subsequent requirements shall be obtained using normal purchasing procedures.

For purchases less than $25,000
The bidding process is waived for the emergency procurement of commodities less than $25,000. 

For purchases exceeding $25,000
Whenever an emergency condition arises that threatens the public health, safety, or welfare or which necessitates immediate action to minimize damage the Emergency Operation Finance Liaison is authorized to enter into emergency contracts not to exceed $100,000, per contract, without bids or notice.

For other types of emergencies, at least 3 quotes are required from prospective vendors.  Prior to seeking quotes, the department is strongly encouraged to contact Purchasing to determine if a cooperative purchasing contract exists for the purchase of the necessary commodities.

Upon determining the quote/proposal most favorable to the College, the Dean of the using department shall submit a purchase requisition to Purchasing with the following information:

  1. A description of the goods/services necessary to meet the emergency.
  2. A full explanation of the circumstances of the emergency.
  3. A list of vendors solicited and the quotes/proposals received.
  4. If the selected firm is other than the low cost provider, the reason for selection of that particular firm.

Purchasing will immediately issue a PO to the selected firm.

Purchasing Cardholders with high transaction limits
Accounts Payable Ghost Card--$50,000 limit. Contact the Business Office.
Director of Information Technology $75,000 limit
Information System Support Team Lead $50,000 limit


The transaction limit on an individual's purchasing card can be adjusted as needed by contacting De Anne Otto at 608-789-2069 or ottod@westerntc.edu. The limit adjustments are effective immediately and will only be effective as long as needed to purchase items related to the emergency situation.

Record Retention Policy
The Business Services Office will keep the following records for all RFBs and RFPs for a minimum of seven years:

  1. Proof of bid/RFP advertisement;
  2. Bid/RFP document, including specifications and any amendments;
  3. List of vendors who received the bid/RFP;
  4. Vendor bids/proposals, including date and time received;
  5. Completed bid tabulation or evaluation summary;
  6. Rationale for the method of procurement
  7. Rationale for vendor selection; and
  8. All other significant correspondence or documentation.

General Procurement Procedures
 
Purchase Orders
Purchase orders shall be used to encumber funds for the purchases of goods, services, and equipment in excess of $3,500 for which the College will be responsible for payment and for funds committed through the use of a signed contract.  Purchase orders will be initiated after proper approvals and confirmation of the use of an appropriate procurement method.  The practice of splitting large purchases into smaller purchases that result in bypassing procurement rules is prohibited.  Increasing the amount of a purchase order is allowed when the following approvals are obtained:

Increase
Amount
Approving Authority
Increases due to the addition of freight or shipping and handling
Under 10% and/or $2,000, whichever is less
Purchasing Agent
Any other increases
Under 10%
Purchasing/Accounts Payable Manager or Controller
Any other increases
Greater than 10%
Controller


Invoices
Invoices submitted to the Business Services Office without a requisition or purchase order must be signed by a department manager, who shall verify there are sufficient funds in their budget available for the expenditure.

Procurement Cards (P-Cards) if expenditure <$3,000
The use of a procurement card is authorized for approved users when the cost of the expenditure is <$3,000.  An approved user who has a valid District procurement card may make appropriate purchases with their procurement card without a requisition.  All District procurement card purchases shall follow the requirements and procedures as defined in the Procurement Card Manual and adhere to District procurement procedures.  The Procurement Card Manual is given to each employee prior to receipt of a procurement card.  This manual is also available on the Business Services Office site.  The employee must submit all invoices and allocate all transactions via Chrome River.  The employee's supervisor will approve all purchases prior to submission to the Business Services Office.

Petty Cash
The use of a "petty cash fund" is authorized for the immediate purchase of supplies generally costing less than twenty dollars.  The Business Services Office petty cash reconciliation form, together with the receipts, must be submitted at intervals as established by the Business Services Office.

Capital Borrowings
When the District borrows funds for the purpose of capital spending, The District Board approval of the borrowing shall identify the specific capital project(s) and /or capital equipment that will be paid with the borrowed funds (issue paper).

Staff Requestor of Hazardous Chemicals

Prior to purchasing, taking possession of or bringing a hazardous chemical into the college, the employee will notify the Safety Officer in writing that a new chemical will be purchased including the product name, the manufacturer and the quantity being ordered. 

A MSDS must be requested from the vendor to be sent to the Safety Officer.  Once received, a copy of the MSDS will be forwarded to the requestor and will be entered into MSDS Online.

First aid kits may contain hazardous chemicals (this may include over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol).  Staff should purchase first aid kits approved for use in educational settings that do not include over-the-counter pain medication.  No drugs should be administered to other staff or students by unauthorized staff members.

Definitions
Approving Authority – The District employee who has authority to sign purchase agreements and obligate the District.

Bid Waiver – Allowable exceptions to normal procurement procedures.

Invitation for Bid (RFB) – Sealed bid procurement process used when price is the sole criterion that will determine which vendor is selected.

Procurement – Buying, purchasing, renting, leasing, or otherwise acquiring any supplies, services, equipment, or construction.

Public Construction – All labor and materials used in the framing or assembling of component parts in the erection, installation, enlargement, alteration, repair, conversion, razing, demolition, or removal of any fixed equipment, building, or facility.

Request for Proposal (RFP) – Sealed proposal procurement process used when criteria in addition to price are considered in determining which vendor is selected.  All evaluating criteria must be clearly disclosed in the solicitation.

Senior Leadership Team – President/District Director, Vice President of Academics, Vice President of Finance and Operation, Vice President of Student Services & Engagement, Executive Director of the Foundation, Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness,  Director of Grants and Legislative Affairs, and Director of Human Resources.




Revised September 17, 2020
Revised June 7, 2019
Revised September 25, 2015
Revised August 15, 2014
Administratively Approved December 16, 2008

​Reference Policy: B0500 Procurement