Administrative Services

Purchasing Office

Telephone: 309-298-1819
Fax: 309-298-1927

The Purchasing Office's goal is to provide excellent service to University departments while complying with applicable State and Federal laws and guidelines. Purchasing also strives to provide an open, fair, and transparent environment in which vendors and the University may conduct business.

Western Illinois University will continue to comply with the procurement standards in previous OMB guidance, per 2 CFR §200.110(a), for one additional fiscal year after 2 CFR 200 goes into effect. The University will delay implementation of new procurement rules in 2 CFR §§200.317 - 200.326 until July 1, 2016 and in the interim will follow the guidance of the old standards.

The Illinois Procurement code declares that it is the policy of the State of Illinois that the principles of competitive bidding and economical procurement practices shall be applicable to all purchases and contracts by or for any State agency.

The Purchasing Office is responsible for the purchasing process for all University departments and offices seeking goods and/or services. Those responsibilities include, but are not limited to: overseeing the bidding process and soliciting bids in accordance with statute; ensuring that full value is received from purchase transactions; and, administering contracts.

The following are various ways a department may purchase goods and services:

ONLINE PURCHASE REQUISITION - Used for the purchase of goods and services of $5,000 or more. This also includes standing and continuous orders.

PROCUREMENT CARD (PCard) - Used for the purchase of goods and limited services of less than $5,000. Reference PCard Procedures Manual for acceptable purchases.

DIRECT PAY AUTHORIZATION (DPA) - Used for the purchase of goods and services of less than $5,000. (See section below for further information)

CONTRACT OR LEASE - Used for honoraria, consultant fees, leases of equipment, etc. All contracts that involve terms and conditions/legal language, regardless of amount, should be directed to the Purchasing Office for initial review and then to the University Designee for approval. This process is to ensure that proper insurance and contract language are in place. A contract must be signed by both the vendor and the University Designee before services begin. An Online Purchase Requisition must accompany the contract or lease when the amount is $5,000 or more. A Direct Pay Authorization form may be used to pay contracts or leases when the amount is less than $5,000.

Leases of real property must be submitted with an Online Purchase Requisition regardless of dollar amount.

Definition

UNIVERSITY DESIGNEE - The University Designee authority resides with the Vice President for Administrative Services/Assistant to the Vice President for Administrative Services. Please reference the Board of Trustees Policy (for further details).

Also, under the Official University Policy Manual (Contract Procedures): “As described in the Board of Trustees Regulation, V., B., 3., d., only the President or his/her designees are authorized to sign contracts for the University. Any violation of this Regulation may render the contract void, if in the best interests of the University, and make the signing employee personally responsible for any consequences of the voided contract.”

Direct Pay Authorization (DPA) (Less Than $5,000)

Departments are authorized to place orders of less than $5,000 without obtaining approval from the Purchasing Office. These orders are useful for expediting small dollar and non-repetitive purchases. Payments may be made using a Direct Pay Authorization.

Authorization to use departmental funds for this type of purchase should be approved by the fiscal agent for the department. Any purchase of $1,000 or more needs prior approval of the respective Vice President. These orders may take the form of: Internet orders, fax/telephone orders, or direct pick-up of goods from local vendors. Illinois sales tax should not be paid. Sales tax paid by employees making University purchases is not reimbursable from University accounts.

Fiscal agents should take special precautions to prevent using multiple transactions to circumvent the $5,000 limit. Repetitive purchases, also known as "stringing" per the Procurement Code, must be avoided.

The cost of goods or services paid on a Direct Pay Authorization must be less than $5,000. Memberships and subscriptions that contain contract language may require additional approvals before purchase. Please refer to the “Purchasing Approvals” section below for further details.

After the Direct Pay Authorization is properly completed, retain a copy for departmental files and forward a copy to Business Services, Sherman Hall 220. Make certain the original vendor invoice is attached to the Direct Pay Authorization. The Direct Pay Authorization must be submitted within 30 days of receipt of the invoice. The University is subject to the Illinois Prompt Payment Act (30 ILCS 540) and the Policy on Prompt Submission of Employee Reimbursements.

Furniture

All furniture purchases must be directed to the Purchasing Office prior to any purchase.

In accordance with Public Act 88-515, the Purchasing Office must file an affidavit with the State, listing the reasons why the furniture must be purchased new as opposed to obtaining the equipment from Surplus Property. This process is transparent to campus departments as the Purchasing Office takes the necessary steps to acquire the furniture.

Specific classes of furniture include the following:

Modular Furniture - Landscape partitions and/or systems furniture units which are joined together to create workspace units or storage in an integrated configuration.

Office Furniture - Freestanding wood or metal furniture used for office applications including workspace (desks and tables), storage (cabinets, credenzas, freestanding portable shelving, file cabinets, and bookcases), conference tables, seating (individual, office, lounge, and reception area items).

Institutional Furniture - Beds, dressers, couches, lounge chairs, tables, chests, night stands, or other items used to furnish hospital rooms or dormitory/residential areas.

Library Furniture - Library shelving, cabinets, files, charge desks, tables, and other freestanding library fixtures used to accommodate library patrons or provide storage for materials.

School Furniture - Student desk and chair units, movable chalkboards, lockers, locker room benches, podiums, or other such items commonly used for educational applications.

Mailroom Furniture - Sorting units, shelves, and tables utilized for mail sorting applications.

Laboratory Furniture - Tables, cabinets, and other portable storage units used within a scientific laboratory application.

Audio Visual Equipment - Lecterns, portable chalkboards, or cabinets used for storage of audio visual equipment or media.

Industrial and Safety Furniture - Storage cabinets used for storage of flammable items, workbenches, tool cabinets.

Miscellaneous Furniture and Fixtures - Folding tables, coat racks, valets, folding chairs, coffee and end tables, stools, lamps.

Data Processing Furniture - Furniture used for the support of data processing equipment, including computer tables, desk, and media storage cabinets.

Outdoor Furniture - Tables, benches, chairs and bleachers.

Equipment Trade-Ins: Trade-in of equipment must be approved by the University's Property Accounting Office prior to the equipment leaving campus. See the Business Services - Property Accounting section of this handbook.

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Procurement Cards

Purchases of up to $5,000 may be made using a University Procurement Card. The PCard is issued to individuals with the appropriate department name; however, it is NOT a department card. The PCard is intended for use ONLY by the individual whose name appears on the face of the card.

Cardholders must be a Western Illinois University faculty or staff member (students are not eligible to receive a card).

Contact the Purchasing Office to apply for a credit card. The Procurement Card Application is filled out using the web based program called PaymentNet. A Cardholder Agreement must be completed, signed and returned to the Purchasing Office before the Procurement Card will be issued. All Cardholders must be trained by the Purchasing Office and receive a manual on procurement card procedures.

The Procurement Card may be used to purchase goods, limited services, hotel, and transportation expenses. PCard transactions which include sales tax cannot be processed. Use of a PCard to circumvent the procurement process, otherwise known as stringing, will be investigated and the card suspended according to PCard Manual procedures. Stringing is defined as: “Dividing or planning procurements to avoid use of competitive procedures...” (JCAR 4.2005,t) Unanticipated purchases are not considered stringing.

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Prime Vendor Contracts

The University has several prime vendor contracts, otherwise known as consortium contracts that leverage volume ordering for the best price. These contracts include, but are not limited to: Microcomputers, office supplies, and United Parcel Service (UPS). Departments are encouraged to utilize these contracts to maximize cost savings and efficiency. Savings on furniture is up to 60% from the manufacturer. No further bidding is required; however, orders of $5,000 or more must be made through the Purchasing Office. Please reference the Purchasing Office website for further information.

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Online Purchase Requisitions/Purchase Orders

The Online Purchase Requisition is used to provide the Purchasing Office with all the information necessary to procure goods or services.

Departments submit Online Purchase Requisitions using the mainframe FRS/Purchasing system. Download detailed instructions (PDF). The Purchasing Office will train staff to input the information, as well as fiscal agents for on-line approval of requisitions.

Provide as much of a specification and description of the product/service as possible. If recommending a brand name, at least two approved brands and models should be listed within the specifications with a thorough description. It is not permissible to have a company design, specify a configuration, or participate in drawing up specifications for departmental projects or purchases. Such activity is prohibited by Illinois law. In addition, the Online Purchase Requisition must list criteria such as product specifications, to be considered when evaluating the bids. Only those criteria listed in the bid document will be considered during the evaluation of bids.

Once the Purchasing Office has received the Online Purchase Requisition, the procurement process is based on the amount of the requisition. Small Purchase Threshold amounts according to fiscal year are located at https://www.procure.stateuniv.state.il.us under "Higher Education Bid Limits". A requisition above this threshold can take a minimum of forty-five days after posting to the Illinois Procurement Bulletin. Purchases involving contracts are contingent on the amount of negotiation needed for both parties to come to an agreement.

When the Purchasing Office issues a Purchase Order, a copy will be sent to the requesting department.

AUTHORIZING PAYMENT:

Once the goods/services are received in full, invoices are to be signed and dated with an “Okay to Pay” and promptly sent to the Purchasing Office. From there, the invoice is processed against the purchase order. Any problems with the goods or services should be reported to the Purchasing Office immediately. The University is subject to the Illinois Prompt Payment Act (30 ILCS 540) and must make payment or deny payment within 90 days. Failure to do so will result in additional charges to the department to cover the interest due the vendor.

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Standing/Continuous Orders

A department which orders on a repetitive basis from a vendor should prepare and submit an Online Purchase Requisition estimating the total amount to be paid to that vendor during a fiscal year.

Departments may be required to submit a list of the most frequently ordered items and estimated quantities.These items may be handled through the quote or bidding process. The Purchasing Office will issue a continuous order for the estimated amount. After the continuous order has been issued, the department may order (either in writing or verbally) goods or services as needed, regardless of the dollar amount, as long as the amount of the continuous order is not exceeded.

AUTHORIZING PAYMENT:

When the goods/services are received, as well as an invoice identified with the continuous purchase order number, the department should verify receipt of those items and mark the invoice with an “Okay to Pay”, sign, date and forward to the Purchasing Office. From there, the invoice is processed against the continuous order, the vendor paid, and the available balance reduced.

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Emergency Purchases

Occasionally, departments must have goods and/or services immediately and cannot wait for the purchase to flow through the normal procedures. Contact the Purchasing Office if you have an immediate need. Written justification will be required and must be approved by the State before proceeding.

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Purchasing Approvals

Purchases of $1,000 or more require respective Vice Presidential approval.

Purchases of $5,000 or greater require prior approval from the Purchasing Office and the respective Vice President.

Purchases of $250,000 to $499,999 require prior approval from the President of the University, legal, and the Vice President of Administrative Services.

Purchases of $500,000 or more require prior approval of the Board of Trustees of Western Illinois University. The Board meets four times a year. Departments are encouraged to plan accordingly. Agenda items for meetings are due one month in advance.

The following purchases require special approval as specified below prior to submitting to the Purchasing Office for processing.

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. Various other approvals may be required depending upon the nature of the transaction and the source of funds.

Selected Purchases & Additional Required Approvals:

  • Laser Supplies and Equipment, X-Ray Supplies and Equipment, Radioactive Materials, Supplies and Equipment: Radiation Safety Officer - 298-3191
  • Multi-Function Devices (MFD): Document and Publication Services (DPS) - 298-1000
  • Trade-Ins of Equipment: Property Accounting - 298-3118
  • Furniture (All): Purchasing – 298-1819
  • Gifts, Awards, Plaques, Promotional Items, Prizes, Contributions, Raffles – Reference Gift Policy
  • Business/Departmental Expenses:
    • Meals and Refreshments
    • Costs Incurred by Candidates
    • Miscellaneous Expenses
    • Wearing Apparel
    • Dues, Memberships, and Licenses
    • Registration fees and tickets
    • Decorations and Floral Arrangements
    • Wall Hangings, Lamps, Refrigerators, Coffee Makers, Fans, Heaters, Air Purifiers, Microwave Ovens, etc…
  • IT Governance: Requests from the University community for technology-related improvements that meet at least one of the following criteria must be vetted through IT Governance.
    • It impacts the University significantly from a directional, policy, services, systems, security, financial process, operational or strategic perspective.
    • It requires significant funding. IT expenditures exceeding a designated threshold of $15,000 will be vetted through the IT Governance process.
    • It integrates with one or more existing systems. (Example: A new system requires interfaces with an existing financial module.)
  • Printing Orders: University Relations – 298-1993 / Document and Publication Services (DPS) - 298-1000
  • Logo and trademark approval: University Relations – 298-1993
  • Insurance Policies and any Contract Terms and Conditions: Assistant to the Vice President for Administrative Services - 298-1800
  • Telecommunication Equipment: UTech Telecommunications - 298-2713
  • Air Conditioners, Space Heaters, Equipment Requiring Additional Installations, Contractual Items Relating to Facilities Management (Special Electrical, Plumbing, Flooring, Window Treatments, etc.): Facilities Management - 298-1834

NOTE: Construction related services require approval by Facilities Management before submitting the Online Purchase Requisition to the Purchasing Office. Departments must include written approval from Facilities Management. This approval will include review of the intended equipment/project compliance with University Facility Design Standards and code-related issues that must be addressed during the intended project. This step and approval process is necessary to avoid installation and maintenance problems.

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Purchases from Minority, Female, and Disabled-Owned Businesses

The State of Illinois requires the University to make at least 20 percent of all purchases of commodities, equipment, and contractual services from State-certified minority, female, and disabled-owned businesses when University funds, regardless of source, are being used for the purchase. The Purchasing Office is committed to attaining this goal. A business under this category means: it is at least 51% owned by one or more minority persons; at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more minority persons; or the management/daily business operations of which are controlled by one or more minority individuals who own it.

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Tax Exempt Status

The Board of Trustees of Western Illinois University is a body corporate and politic created by Illinois statute. As such, it is exempt from Illinois Retailer's Occupational Tax (Sales Tax). Vendors requesting a sales tax exemption number should be referred to the Purchasing Office website. A copy of the current Tax Exempt Letter for the University can be found on the Purchasing Office website. Please note that the Illinois Department of Revenue renews this letter once every five years.

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Contracts and Leases

When preparing any contract, departments should consult the Purchasing Office. Prior consultation will help avoid problems that will delay the approval or payment of a contract. Purchasing Forms, including the most current version of the Agreement for General Services, are available on the Purchasing website. For further questions, please contact the Purchasing Office at 298-1819.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL Professional and Artistic Service/General Service contracts must be routed through the Purchasing Office for review per the Illinois Procurement Code. A notice of award must be placed in the Illinois Procurement Bulletin (if applicable) and approved by the Procurement Policy Board (PPB) before a contract can be signed.

For contracts $5,000 and over, departments are required to submit to the Purchasing Office an Online Purchase Requisition which may include: Dates of service, need for services, description of services to be performed and other contract information. Current forms are available on the Purchasing Office website. For questions regarding the type of contract to use, please contact the Purchasing Office for assistance.

Some leases for real property require a sealed bid procedure. If you are interested in leasing real property, contact the Purchasing Office for guidance.

Contracts require the following:

  • All contracts and/or leases for real property, regardless of amount or source of funds, must be reduced to writing and signed by both the vendor and the University Designee (and Vice President if applicable) PRIOR to the beginning date of the contract.
  • If $1,000 or more, must be approved by the respective Vice President before services begin.
  • If $5,000 or more, must be submitted with an Online Purchase Requisition to the Purchasing Office prior to the beginning date of the contract.
  • If $20,000 or more, a Contract Obligation Document (COD) must be filed with the State Comptroller's Office. The Purchasing Office will do this filing but must have the contract before services begin in order to meet the filing deadlines. The State of Illinois requires by statutory authority that contracts be filed with the Comptroller by the University prior to the beginning date of the services to be performed and within 15 days of the signing of the contract. The Comptroller’s Office submits all late contracts to the State of Illinois Auditor General’s Office for review by the University’s external auditors.
  • Leases for real property must meet the same filing requirements, regardless of the dollar amount or the source of funds. All leases for real property must be submitted on an Online Purchase Requisition with a properly completed lease agreement attached prior to the beginning dates of the lease.
  • If anticipated services for Professional and Artistic Services are $20,000 or more, please contact the Purchasing Office. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Accounting:
      • Accountant
    • Medicine:
      • Audiologist
      • Chiropractor
      • Dietician
      • Nurse
      • Occupational Therapist
      • Optometrist
      • Orthopedist
      • Pathologist
      • Pharmacist
      • Physical Therapist
      • Physician
      • Podiatrist
      • Radiologist
      • Surgeon
      • Veterinarian
    • Clinical Psychology:
      • Psychiatrist
      • Psychotherapist
    • Law:
      • Administrative Law Judge
      • Arbitrator
      • Attorney
      • Court Reporter
      • Hearing Officer
      • Law Clerk
      • Legal Services
    • Dentistry:
      • Dentist
      • Orthodontist
      • Periodontist
  • If the contract is to be considered a sole source, submit an Online Purchase Requisition and a sole source justification form to the Purchasing Office. Sole sources are required to be advertised on the Illinois Public Higher Education bulletin for fourteen days, after which a public hearing may be held before the award can be processed.
  • If $250,000 or more, approval is required by the President, legal counsel and the Vice President of Administrative Services prior to the beginning date of the contract. The Purchasing Office will process the necessary paperwork for approval.
  • If $500,000 or more, approval is required by The Board of Trustees of Western Illinois University prior to the beginning date of the contract. The Purchasing Office will submit the necessary paperwork for approval. In order to coincide with The Board of Trustee meetings and review, the solicitation process should be complete and a preliminary vendor selected with all details of the project and associated costs available a minimum of one month before the meeting date. This is to allow for Board members to have adequate time to review the details. Do not delay preparation and submission of a contract.
  • Contracts with foreign individuals/vendors: If a contract is being entered into with a foreign individual/vendor, departments should consult with Business Services as documentation may be necessary in order to make the payment.
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Conflict of Interest Procedures

Western Illinois University, per the Illinois Procurement Code (30 ILCS 500/50), does not enter into any type of contract with employees or businesses owned by an employee or members of their immediate family (spouse/child). However, when there is an operational necessity and it is in the best interest of the State to purchase commodities, equipment, or services from an employee or immediate family of employees, prior approval must be received from the State. The Purchasing Office will prepare the necessary paperwork and submit for approval from the State once a conflict of interest has been noted on a contract, Direct Pay Authorization or an Online Purchase Requisition. In addition to the approvals of the respective dean and/or vice president, a Letter of Justification from the requesting department is required and must be forwarded to the Purchasing Office. Prior approval is required in the following instances:

  1. Purchases from an employee or an employee's immediate family (spouse or children).
  2. Purchases from a business of which an employee or an employee's immediate family is a major officer or primary employee.
  3. Purchases from a corporation of which an employee or an employee's immediate family owns in excess of 7½ percent of the total income.

There are two types of conflict of interest to be addressed:

A technical conflict of interest (employee or employee's immediate family is not in a position to influence the selection of their firm).

A real conflict of interest (employee is in a position to influence the outcome of the selection of a vendor or an award of contract).

Departments that desire to purchase commodities, equipment, or services from an employee or members of an employee's immediate family must prepare a Letter of Justification and forward to the Purchasing Office in addition to completing the Online Purchase Requisition. The department will be required to justify the transaction as "essential" to University operations if the purchase is from an employee. If the purchase is from the employee's immediate family, the department will be required to justify the transaction as "beneficial" to University operations and in the best interest of the State.

If the conflict of interest is technical, the originating department must indicate in the Letter of Justification that the employee is not in a position to influence the selection of the employee's (or the employee's immediate family's) firm. Forward the Letter of Justification to the Purchasing Office in addition to completing the Online Purchase Requisition.

If the conflict of interest is real, or could be perceived as real, the originating department must indicate in the Letter of Justification that the employee is in a position to influence the selection of the employee's firm. The Letter of Justification also requires area dean/director approval and it must be forwarded to the Purchasing Office in addition to the Online Purchase Requisition. Once the document is received in the Purchasing Office, the necessary paperwork will be assembled and submitted to the State for approval. If the transaction is approved, a Purchase Order will be issued and all supporting documentation for the transaction will be filed in the Purchasing Office. If the transaction is not approved, the originating department will be notified and the Online Purchase Requisition will be canceled.

Blanket approvals may be requested for unique situations in which the individual/vendor will have an on-going relationship with the University during a particular time period within the fiscal year. Contact the Purchasing Office for further review.

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Employees vs Independent Contractors

The Internal Revenue Service considers all individuals as employees unless sufficient documentation provides evidence that the person is truly an independent contractor. The following broad guidelines should help you determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor.

Employees are individuals who:

  • Frequently provide services to any, or multiple, University departments.
  • Receive travel reimbursements.
  • Are provided "employee" benefits.
  • Are directed by other employees in the services they provide such as methods, location, time restraints, etc.
  • Receive a majority of their income from services provided to Western Illinois University.
  • Infrequently provide like services to other parties.
  • Perform services similar to those performed by employees.
  • Use University equipment to complete the task.

Independent contractors are individuals/businesses who:

  • Are not otherwise employed by the University (or formerly employed performing the same duties)
  • Pursue outside work or provide a service to multiple customers/clients and advertise such services.
  • Take a "risk" for not completing the conditions of the contract.
  • Contract for a set price to provide an identifiable service which covers a specified time frame (the contract price includes travel expenses and other operating expenses).
  • Have the flexibility to assign the service to other individuals.
  • Are not directed as to methods of accomplishment, time restraints, (other than contract period), etc.
  • Have a short-term relationship with the University.

Contact the Purchasing Office for guidance on whether the situation meets the conditions for an independent contractor. Please allow adequate time for a proper evaluation to be made. If an individual is an employee or former employee, please contact Human Resources for employment details.

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Signature Authority for Income-Producing Contracts

The Vice President for Administrative Services or Assistant to the Vice President for Administrative Services must sign all income-producing contracts for the University. Income-producing contracts include, without limitation, grants or contracts with public or private agencies for instruction, research, or service, as well as concession-type contracts, and contracts for the conveyance, lease, license, encumbrance, or other disposition of real or personal property of the Board of Trustees of Western Illinois University.

When preparing any income-producing contract, departments should consult the Purchasing Office if they have any questions about the content of the agreement.

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