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Open Market Purchasing

Memorandum #201 Open Market Purchasing

Revised: June 20, 2018
Date of Issue: September 15, 1971

Reissued: 59A - March 13, 1978
  59B - March 27, 1984
  59C - July 12, 1988
  201 - January 9, 1997
201 - July 1, 2014

The purpose of this policy and procedure memorandum is to set forth purchasing policy for the College.

All purchasing accomplished by the College is subject to regulations established by the Department of Education of Pennsylvania for community colleges and by the Board of Trustees.

Procurement of books and periodicals directly related to the Library is the responsibility of the Department Head of the Library under the direction of the Dean of Educational Support Services. Procurement of all other materials, equipment, and services is the responsibility of the Office of Purchasing and Services under the leadership of the Vice President for Business and Finance. Authority to make limited purchases on behalf of the College may be granted to Organizational unit (cost center) managers in such cases where purchases do not exceed a prescribed dollar amount, can be made more efficiently by the Organizational unit (cost center) manager, and there are no significant cost savings to the College from central purchasing of the items.

Any person conducting purchasing transactions on behalf of the College without following the procedures addressed in this policy will be held personally responsible for such transactions.

Construction Procurements

Section 35.51 of the State Regulations, Chapter 35, Act 22 of the Pennsylvania Code permits the College to have construction, reconstruction or repair work performed by commercial contractors.  The following rules apply when such procurement is involved:

  1. If procurement is estimated at $20,000, the College shall, with public notice, solicit competitive bids and shall award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
  2. If procurement is estimated between $5,000 and $20,000, the College shall solicit competitive bids from at least three responsible bidders and shall award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
  3. If procurement is less than $5,000, the College may award the contract without soliciting competitive bids.
  4. In an emergency in which any part of the College facilities may become unusable, on the approval of the Department of Education, a contract may be awarded without soliciting bids.
  5. All bids under public notice shall be received in sealed envelopes at a designated place and time and shall be opened and read publicly.
  6. All bids under public notice shall be accompanied by a bond with corporate surety or a certified check of at least 5% of the amount bid. In the event any bidder shall, upon award of the procurement, fail to comply with the requirements as to a bond guaranteeing the performance of the contract, such bid bond or certified check shall be forfeited and the award given to the next lowest responsible bidder.
  7. The bidder to whom the contract is awarded shall furnish bonds within 10 calendar days to guarantee the performance of the contract and payment for labor and materials. Bonds shall be in compliance with the Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967. Failure to furnish bonds shall void the award.

Procurements requiring public notice shall be advertised in a minimum of two newspapers or trade publications.

All procurements requiring public notice will contain reference to executive order 11246 which imposes equal employment opportunity requirements upon construction contractors.

Goods and Services

Procurement, for goods and services, of $25,000 and over shall be conducted on a competitive basis whenever possible and in writing. For purchases of items with a value of $15,000 or more but less than $25,000, the Purchasing Department will canvas the market and the award will be made according to the best interests of the College. Noted exceptions to this policy are procurements for services of a professional nature and those procurements which are classified as non-competitive procurements. Procurements shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications and delivery requirements. Bid files will include a synopsis of the procurement showing the sources contacted and responses thereto.

If the purchase is being funded with a federal grant, the Purchasing Department shall comply with the Uniform Grant Guidance. The current Uniform Grant Guidance requires for purchases using grant funds of $3,000 or more, that the College solicit quotes and/or bids from three or more vendors.

Right to Know Requirement

Any payment request of $5,000 or more requires the issuance of a Purchase Order. This requirement is for reporting the Right to Know information to the PA State Treasury Department.

Inclusion of Diverse Suppliers and Philadelphia-based Business

Support of diversity and use of Philadelphia-based businesses is a business objective of the College in undertaking its procurement of goods and services. Policies and Procedures Memorandum No. 216 addresses this matter.

Non-Competitive Procurements

Any procurement conducted under the provision of Act 31, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is exempt from existing regulations governing competitive bidding.

When procurement is determined to be non-competitive, the ultimate award shall be accomplished in the best interests of the College.  In all cases, educational, institutional, governmental or other discounts will be requested.  The following circumstances are illustrative of non-competitive procurements:

  1. The equipment can be obtained from only one person or firm (sole source of supply);
  2. Competition is precluded because of the existence of patent rights, copyright, or similar circumstances;
  3. Supplies or services are required immediately because of an exigency, and time will not permit formal advertising or soliciting of competitive sources.  All such circumstances will be documented;
  4. For personal or professional services;
  5. It is impossible to draft, for solicitation of bids, adequate specifications or any other adequately detailed description of the required supplies or service;
  6. The contemplated procurement is for components being procured in support of equipment specially designed by the manufacturer;
  7. The contemplated procurement is for technical non-personal services in connection with the assembly, installation, or servicing or the instruction of personnel therein of equipment of a highly technical or specialized nature;
  8. The procurement is for an item which must be compatible to those items already on College premises;
  9. The contemplated procurement is for labor and material required for providing immediate accommodation in support of the installation of new equipment/systems which can be accomplished by a vendor already on site; and it would not be practical to allow another vendor to work on the same site or when it would be considered impractical for another vendor to mobilize and demobilize;
  10. The contemplated procurement is estimated to be less than $15,000.

Petty Cash Purchases

Petty cash may be used to accommodate procurements as set forth in Policy and Procedure Memorandum No. 204.

Procurement Requests

Requests for procurements will be submitted to the Purchasing Department in the format set forth in College Policies and Procedures Memorandum No. 203.

Additional controls/approval required within each administrative unit of the College may be established by concerned administrators.

Any single capital item or combination of complementary items with a value of $50,000 must be presented to the Board of Trustees prior to the purchase.  (See Policies and Procedures Memorandum No. 202.)

Capital items requiring Pennsylvania Department of Education approval prior to procurement are:

  1. Purchase of a Building/s.
  2. Construction of a Building/s.
  3. Improvements of Buildings of which the College holds title which cost $90,000 or more.
  4. Leasehold improvements costing $45,000 or more.
  5. Purchase of furniture and equipment for a project costing in excess of $45,000.
  6. Leasing of land.
  7. Lease of building, furniture and equipment in which the rental exceeds $8,500 a year.
  8. Lease of computer, computer peripheral equipment and software as a package which exceeds $45,000.
  9. Purchase of computer software items in excess of $45,000.
  10. Purchase of works of art in excess of $8,500 which are not included in the purchase, construction or improvement of building.


Date Effective: June 20, 2018