House Bill 688 related to the University’s purchasing authority passed this legislative session.
The Bill allows the State Board of Education (SBOE) to grant Boise State the authority to oversee its own purchasing processes. The mechanism to grant that authority is for the SBOE to approve a policy that is “substantially consistent with the requirements” of Idaho Code. We worked with our legal department, our sister institutions, the Office of the State Board of Education and the Administrator of the State Division of Purchasing to develop a policy template that is acceptable to all parties.
Our new policy was approved by the SBOE at its June 2010 meeting. The policy became effective on July 1, 2010. The new policy is posted at http://www.boisestate.edu/policy/policy_docs/6130_070110.pdf. A Purchasing Process Quick Reference to help guide you through your transaction can be found at http://www.boisestate.edu/finad/purchasing/forms/purchasingprocessquickref.pdf. A summary of the changes that impact the campus follows:
- The small dollar bid limit will be raised from $5,000 to $10,000. This means that purchases under $10,000 do not require obtaining multiple quotes. Requisitions and purchase orders are still needed at $2,000.
- Purchases between $10,000 and $75,000 require informal bidding. We are required to seek a minimum of three quotes from vendors having significant Idaho economic presence. Buyers in Purchasing are always available to help with this process or discuss the requirements with campus.
- Purchases over $75,000 will need to follow a formal sealed bid/rfp process, but the process will be managed in-house and will not require State intervention. This will shorten the timeframes from historical experiences.
- Sole source determination will be made in the Purchasing department and will no longer require State approval. Sole source requests will still require adequate justification, and there remains a waiting period of 5 business days after the public is given notice of an intention to award a sole source contract before the contract may be executed. Sole source may be appealed by the vendor community which could delay the process.
- Certain purchases related to research equipment will be eligible for exemption from bidding. It will be important to document the negotiation process to ensure that there is clear evidence that the best value was obtained for the research dollars spent. These situational purchases should be discussed with Terri Spinazza, our Purchasing Director, prior to investigating the products to ensure that the proper procedures are followed. In addition, we are reviewing to determine how these purchases are required to be handled by federal procurement regulations to ensure compliance with granting agency rules.
- We are still required to order from State open contracts and we do not have the authority to grant exceptions. Any exceptions must be approved by the administrator of the Division of Purchasing and are expected to be rare. Requests for exceptions would flow through Boise State’s Purchasing department. Purchasing maintains a link to State open contracts on its webpage.
Thanks in advance for your support and help with all of the changes; we are confident it will provide real opportunities for streamlining and cost savings to campus. We are open to any of your thoughts or comments for improvements as we begin working under new authority in FY2011.