Administrative Services

Purchasing Office

Telephone: 298-1819
Facsimile: 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.

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.

Following are various ways a department may purchase goods and services:

REQUEST FOR PURCHASE - Used for the purchase of goods and services of $1,500 or more.

PROCUREMENT CARD - Used for the purchase of goods and limited services of less than $3,000.

DEPARTMENTAL ORDER - Used for the purchase of goods and services of less than $1,500.

STANDING/CONTINUOUS ORDER - Used for the purchase of goods and services of a recurring nature from the same vendor. If the annual expenditure is $25,000 or more, bids must be obtained.

CONTRACT OR LEASE - Used for honoraria, consultant fees, leases of equipment, etc. A Request for Purchase must accompany the contract or lease when the amount is $1,500 or more. A Direct Pay Authorization form is required to pay contracts or leases when the amount is less than $1,500.

Leases of real property must be submitted with a Request for Purchase.Departmental Orders/Direct Payment Authorization (Less Than $1,500).

Departments are authorized to place orders of less than $1,500 without obtaining approval from the Purchasing Office. These orders are useful for expediting the purchase of small dollar, non-repetitive items.

Authorization to use departmental funds for this type of purchase should be approved by the department head. These orders may take the form of orders by letter, preprinted departmental orders, 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.

Department heads should take special precautions to prevent using multiple departmental orders to circumvent the $1,500 limit.

FURNITURE: Departmental orders are not to be used to purchase furniture with a unit cost of $500 or more. Furniture purchases with a unit value of $500 or more must be submitted on a Request for Purchase. The University is required to obtain State of Illinois Central Management Services approval prior to such purchases. Purchasing will obtain the approval.

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.

AUTHORIZING PAYMENT : After receiving the goods/services and within 30 days of receipt of the vendor's invoice, attach the original invoice to a completed Direct Pay Authorization form.

The cost of goods or services paid on a Direct Pay Authorization must be less than $1,500, with the exception of memberships and subscriptions.

After the Direct Pay Authorization is properly completed, retain a copy for departmental files and forward a copy to the Business Services Office, Sherman Hall 216. 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 which requires interest to be paid if the invoice is not paid within 30 days.

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Procurement Cards

Purchases of up to $3,000 may be made using the University's credit card (PCard). The card is issued to individuals but belongs to the University. The Procurement Card is issued by Western Illinois University in cooperation with JPMorgan Chase.

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 PaymentNet. A Cardholder's Agreement must be completed, signed and returned to Purchasing before the Procurement Card will be issued. All Cardholders will 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.

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Prime Vendor Contracts

The University has several prime vendor contracts including, but not limited to: microcomputers, furniture, office supplies, and United Parcel Service (UPS). Departments should utilize these contracts. Savings on furniture is up to 60% from the manufacturer. No further bidding is required; however, releases of $1,500 or more should be made through the Purchasing Office.

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Requests for Purchase/Purchase Orders

A Request for Purchase is used to provide the Purchasing Office with all the information necessary to furnish products or services.

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

Provide as much of a specification and description of the item as possible. You may include a brand name and model number as long as a good description is also provided. 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 Request for Purchase must list the various criteria, other than low cost, 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 Request for Purchase, the bidding process usually takes from three to eighteen days.

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, sign and return the pink copy of the Purchase Order to the Purchasing Office. Any problems with the goods or services should be reported to the Purchasing Office immediately. Invoices are to be sent to the Purchasing Office promptly. The University is subject to the Illinois Prompt Payment Act and must make payment or deny payment within 30 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 a Request for Purchase estimating the total amount to be paid to that vendor during a fiscal year.

If the amount is $25,000 or greater, the Request for Purchase must identify a complete list of the items needed and the estimated quantities. These items must be handled through the 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. The initial amount of the continuous order may be easily amended in most instances. Departments should contact the Purchasing Office to arrange for amendments.

Authorizing Payment:
When the goods/services are received and when the department has received an invoice identified with the continuous order number, the department should notify the Purchasing Office in writing that payment can be made. The Purchasing Office will process the invoice against the continuous order, paying the vendor and reducing the available balance. The Receiving Report (or Okay to Pay) can be sent electronically via the campus network.

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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.

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Purchasing Approvals

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.

Purchases of $100,000 to $499,999 require prior approval from the President of the University.

Purchases of $5,000 or greater require prior approval from the respective Dean/Vice President, as applicable.

Purchases of $1,500 or greater require prior approval from the Purchasing Office.

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 Signage

  • Laser Supplies and Equipment, X-Ray Supplies and Equipment, Radioactive Materials, Supplies and Equipment: Radiation Safety Officer - 298-1373
  • Duplicating and Copy Equipment: Document and Publication Services (DPS) - 298-1000
  • Trade-Ins of Equipment: Property Accounting - 298-1811
  • Printing Orders: Document and Publication Services (DPS) - 298-1000
  • Insurance Policies: Asst to the Vice President for Administrative Services - 298-1800
  • Telecommunication Equipment: Telecommunication Services - 298-1709
  • Air Conditioners, Space Heaters, Equipment Requiring Additional Installations, Contractual Items Relating to Facilities (Special Electrical, Plumbing, Flooring, Window Treatments, etc.): Physical Plant - 298-1834

NOTE: Construction related services require approval by the Physical Plant before submitting the Request for Purchase to the Purchasing Office.

If an intended purchase involves electrical, mechanical, plumbing, window treatments, floor treatments, or any alterations affecting building and/or site facilities, it is necessary to contact the Physical Plant for approval of specifications and/or design development prior to submitting the Request for Purchase to the Purchasing Office. 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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Furniture Purchases

In accordance with Public Act 88-515, state agencies, including universities, may not purchase new furniture with a cost of $500 or more without first determining if there is used furniture available in the State of Illinois which would meet their needs. 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 once the Request for Purchase arrives in the Purchasing Office.

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, 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.

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Campus Inventory Levels

The State of Illinois limits the amount of commodities, supplies, and equipment the University may keep in inventories in storerooms and warehouses to no more than a twelve- month supply. Lifesaving medications and mechanical spare parts are exempt from this inventory requirement.

Departments with inventoried storerooms should monitor inventory levels to make certain the University is in compliance with the provisions of the law. If additional information is needed, contact the Purchasing Office.

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Purchases From Minority, Female, and Disabled-Owned Businesses

The State of Illinois requires the University to make at least 19 percent of all purchases of commodities, equipment, and contractual services from state-certified minority, female, and disabled-owned businesses when appropriated funds are being used for the purchase. The Purchasing Office is committed to attaining this goal.

Campus departments can greatly assist the University in contributing toward this goal by placing departmental orders with these certified businesses. When a department contemplates a purchase, please call the Purchasing Office to receive a listing of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of minority, female, and disabled-owned businesses that sell the items to be purchased.

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Tax Exempt Status

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. Departments desiring a copy of the tax-exempt letter should contact the Purchasing Office.

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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. Download the current contract or contact the Purchasing Office at 298-1819.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All professional service contracts in excess of $20,000 must be advertised in the Illinois Procurement Bulletin for a period of 15 days and must be solicited through a competitive sealed proposal process. Only criteria outlined in the request for proposals may be used in evaluating the offers received. Once the evaluation period has been completed, a notice of award must be placed in the Bulletin before a contract can be signed.

Departments are required to submit a Standard Professional Services Contract Submittal Form to the Purchasing Office, in addition to the Request for Purchase. The current form may be obtained by contacting the Purchasing Office. Please follow the instructions for each paragraph on that form. Once the professional service provider has been determined through the competitive sealed proposal process, the Purchasing Office will prepare the contract and award the purchase order. Professional contracts of less than $20,000 that are non-renewable and less than one year in duration do not need to follow the sealed proposal process. In addition, the contract format for professional services contracts of less than $20,000 is different than those requiring sealed competitive proposals. Departments planning on utilizing the professional services of a company or any individual should contact the Purchasing Office for assistance.

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

Contracts require the following:

  • Must be reduced to writing prior to the beginning date of the contract.
  • If $1,500 or more, must be approved by the respective vice president and the Vice President for Administrative Services or designee before services begin.
  • If $1,500 or more, must be submitted with a Request for Purchase to the Purchasing Office prior to the beginning date of the contract.
  • If $5,000 or more, must be filed with the State Comptroller's Office. Purchasing will do this filing but must have the contract before services begin in order to meet the filing deadlines. 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.
  • If $20,000 or more, must be competitively bid using a Request for Proposal. Departments must complete the Standard Professional Services Contract Submittal Form and submit with a Request for Purchase. If the contract is to be considered a sole source, submit a Request for Purchase and a justification for the sole source to the Purchasing Office. Sole sources are required to be advertised on the Illinois Public Higher Education bulletin for fourteen days prior to award.
  • If $100,000 or more, must be approved by the President prior to the beginning date of the contract. Purchasing submits for approval.
  • If $500,000 or more, must be approved by the Board of Trustees of Western Illinois University prior to the beginning date of the contract. Purchasing submits for approval. Do not delay preparation and submission of a contract.
  • The properly completed contract form should be attached to a Direct Pay Authorization if under $1,500 or a Request for Purchase if $1,500 or more and submitted to the appropriate office for processing.
  • 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. 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 a Request for Purchase with a properly completed lease agreement attached prior to the beginning dates of the lease.
  • It is extremely important to remember that all contracts and leases for real property for $1,500 or more must be routed for signatures, including the applicable vice president and the Vice President for Administrative Services or designee.
  • Contracts with foreign individuals: If a contract is being entered into with a foreign person, departments should consult with Business Services as documentation may be necessary in order to make the payment.

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Services Requiring a Professional Contract

Accounting:
  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Billing
  • Collection Service
Artistic:
  • Art/Artifact Restoration
  • Artist
  • Entertainer
  • Musician
  • Sculptor
  • Speakers
Environmental/Land:
  • Cartographer
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Geologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Land Appraiser
  • Land Use Planner
  • Meteorologist
  • Naturalist
Marketing and Media Services:
  • Audio/Video Production
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Editor
  • Graphic Designer
  • Media Consultant
  • Public Relations
Medicine:
  • Audiologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dietician
  • Medical Temporary Staffing
  • Medical Transcriber
  • 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
Data Processing:
  • Consultant
  • Network Design
  • Programmer
  • Systems Analyst
Management/Administrative:
  • Actuarial
  • Banking
  • Consultant
  • Economist
  • Investment Services
  • Training and Development
Science/Research:
  • Archaeologist
  • Biologist
  • Botanist
  • Chemist
  • Educator
  • Entomologist
  • Historian
  • Science/Research (Other)
Dentistry:
  • Dentist
  • Orthodontist
  • Periodontist

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Conflict of Interest Procedures

Western Illinois University, as a general rule, does not enter into any type of contract with employees or businesses owned by an employee or members of their immediate family. However, when there is an operational necessity to purchase commodities, equipment, or services from an employee or immediate family of employees, prior approval of the respective dean, vice president, and the President of the University, or his designee, is necessary. 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).

Purchases from employees are not allowed unless essential to University operations. Prior approval is required from the respective dean, vice president, and the President.

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 attach it to the Request for Purchase. 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.

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. The originating department should attach the justification letter to the Request for Purchase and forward it through the appropriate offices for approval. Once the Request for Purchase is received in the Purchasing Office, it will be transmitted to the appropriate dean and vice president for approval of the transaction.

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 and vice presidential approval and it must be attached to the Request for Purchase and forwarded to the appropriate dean for approval. Once the document is received in the Purchasing Office, approval will be requested from the appropriate vice president. 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 Request for Purchase will be canceled.

Blanket approvals may be requested for firms that have an on-going relationship with the University. Contact the Purchasing Office.

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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 (i.e., employee parking permits, etc.).
  • 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.
  • 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 contract. Please allow adequate time for a proper evaluation to be made. If an individual is an employee, please contact Human Resources for employment details.

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Signature Authority for Income-Producing Contracts

The Vice President 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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