Purchasing Department

Employee Guide Purchasing Overview

The acquisition process is dynamic and complex in nature and greatly influenced by a wide range of variables and events both internal and external to CSU. The procurement process begins with the purchase requisition, scope of work or specifications. The purchase requisition initiates the purchasing process

The Purchasing Manual (pdf)

This online Purchasing Manual is intended to explain and facilitate the processes, procedures, and regulations associated with the acquisition of products and services for Western Connecticut State University. These procedures are designed to not only comply with the Procurement guidelines established by the State of Connecticut and the Connecticut State University System but also to provide a process in which these goods and services are acquired in a timely and economical manner. While the Purchasing Department is responsible for the maintenance of the manual, it encourages all within WCSU to submit suggestions or questions concerning its content. Additionally, although the ultimate intent of the manual is to cover all the potential occurrences within Procurement, the procurement process is both complex and widely influenced by events happening within and outside the University. Issues falling outside of the guidelines will be handled on a case by case basis.

Bid Process

Request for Proposal (RFP) is a document issued to prospective bidders based on a scope of work, description of services or specifications.

Do I really need and RFP?

Use the chart below for Dollar Threshold and Process information.

Formal competitive sealed bidding not required. Purchasing Department retains the right to seek competitive bids.

Acquisitions > $10K to < $50K

Formal competitive public sealed bidding required. Competitive bid process to be executed and managed by the Purchasing Office Bid to be posted publicly on the Department of Administrative Services Bid Portal.

Acquisitions > $50K

Formal competitive sealed bidding required Competitive bid process to be executed and managed by the Purchasing Department. Bid to be posted publicly on the Department of Administrative Service’s Bid Portal and advertised in at least (2) newspaper

Exceptions to the bidding process

Sealed bidding is not required when:

Product or service is obtained via available standing contracts issued through the following organizations:

Department of Administrative Services (DAS) , Connecticut State University System (CSU), CCC and BOR contracts, and purchasing consortiums

Or when the product or service is determined to be a “Sole Source” (pdf) WCSU Purchasing Department reserves the right to competitively bid a product/service instead of utilizing a standing contract if competitively bidding the requirement is in the best interests of WCSU.

Code of Ethics

CSU policy is to maintain high standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality, courtesy, and conduct. Some key points:

  • Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar expended.
  • Treat all contractors/vendors fairly, equally and impartially.
  • Decline all personal gifts or gratuities.

Purchasing Definitions  AND POLICIES

Budget Authority: Person designated as having responsibility of the funds for the department, cost center, grant, or their designee.

Disbursement form (pdf): Disbursement forms are used for the following: Personal refund/reimbursements Authorize payment for PSA/Honorarium, Food Reimbursement for food purchased off campus by individuals, Memberships/Subscriptions, College Fair Registrations/tables, Online web conference registration/payments – where no travel is involved

Emergency Orders: An emergency is defined as a situation where the normal operation or portion thereof of WCSU would cease or be seriously impaired if immediate action was not undertaken to correct the contingency. Any emergency situation must be declared as such by the President of the University.

Encumbrance: Reservation of funds for a particular purchase. Funds are considered encumbered when a Purchase Order or On-Line Requisition are created in the Banner System.

Equipment: An article retaining a useful life of at least (1) year and a value of at least $1K. Supply budget money cannot be used to acquire an item defined as equipment.

Expense and Refreshment Policy: State funds may be used to provide payment or reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in transacting University business. State funds refer to all operating and self supporting funds administered by Western Connecticut State University. This policy provides guidelines concerning when meals and refreshments may be paid for with State funds. Applicability of this policy is limited to non-travel business meals and refreshments.


No Substitute (a.k.a “Sole acceptable brand or model”: Similar types of products/services may exist, but the item requested, for reasons of standardization, quality, compatibility with existing equipment, specifications, technical features, expertise, etc., is the only brand acceptable to the requester or the University. Note that “no substitute” or “sole brand” products/services may be available from more than one source and, if so, may be subject to competitive bidding to those sources as outlined above. Note: The VP of Finance or their designee has the responsibility to determine sole source applicability or to proceed with a competitive bid.

PSA- Personal Service Agreement: Defined as an agreement which covers services by a corporation, partnership, or individual of a technical or professional nature (i.e.; athletes, entertainers, consultants, etc). Different from a Purchase Order in development and authority.

Purchase Order (PO): The valid purchase order duly signed by the appropriate WCSU individual and issued to a vendor, is the legal authority to deliver goods or provide service. Note that purchases of products/services without a PO are invalid and WCSU is not legally bound to pay for such purchases made by faculty or staff.


State Contracts

Accounts Payable 203837-8378

The Purchasing Manual, sole source and disbursement forms are presented in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please download and install it from Adobe’s web site.