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1.2 Authority to Obligate

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A. Introduction

Authority to obligate institutional funds of The University of Texas System Administration (UT System) for purchases of supplies, materials, services, and equipment is granted to the Office of Contracts and Procurement by the Chancellor through the Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs pursuant to authority granted in accordance with The University of Texas System Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations, Rule 10501: Delegation to Act on Behalf of the Board. In addition, UT System Policy UTS 159 - Purchasing authorizes the primary (chief) procurement officer to promulgate procedures to facilitate and expedite the purchasing function. The Director, Contracts and Procurement acts as the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for UT System Administration.

B. Delegated Purchasing Authority

To expedite purchasing functions, UT System business officers are authorized by the UT System to approve small purchase orders up to $15,000. With this authorization comes the responsibility to comply with UTS 134 - Code of Ethics for Financial Officers and Employees, all established purchasing policies of UT System Administration, established purchasing program procedures, and any other requirements as determined by the primary procurement officer. Procedural and policy violations may result in removal of privileges at the discretion of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs.

The following rules govern UT System purchases:

  • Staff members of the Office of Contracts and Procurement cannot release a purchase order or issue a contract to a supplier either verbally or in writing that exceeds his or her release authority until the order is reviewed and approved by personnel who have authority at that level of commitment.
  • Purchase orders or contracts must be issued prior to the shipment of a product or the delivery of a service.
  • Suppliers are not authorized to commence work prior to the receipt of an authorized purchase order or contract.
  • Invoices for goods or services provided without an authorized purchase order or contract require management review and approval prior to payment. The UT System Administration is not obligated to pay invoices for goods and services that have not been properly authorized.
  • The Office of Contracts and Procurement is responsible for reviewing and obtaining the necessary approval for any purchase requests that exceed $15,000.

C. Authorized Purchasing Methods

Purchase of goods and services requires the issuance of a purchase order, the issuance of a contract, or the use of a procurement card (Procard). Purchases for the UT System made by staff using personal funds are not authorized and will only be reimbursed as an exception.

D. Noncompliant Purchases

Invoices for purchases made without using an authorized purchasing method require justification and approval by the chief procurement officer prior to payment. The justification from the department’s administrative officer must include:

  • Documentation of the reason for the noncompliant purchase
  • Name and title of the individual responsible for the purchase
  • Amount of purchase
  • Signed statement declaring that the individual involved has been informed of proper purchasing procedure
  • Agreement that future purchases will be made in accordance with purchasing procedures. Note: Future noncompliant purchases may be refused reimbursement.

E. UT System Delegation to Issue Purchase Orders and Sign Contracts

The University of Texas System Administration primary delegate for System Administration and Systemwide Contracts; and for contracts between or among System Administration and Institutions is the Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. The Chancellor and/or Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs delegates authority to individuals or positions to enter into certain types of agreements on behalf of the UT System and sign purchase orders and contracts. The Delegation of Authority for the University of Texas System identifies those individuals or positions who have been delegated this authority.