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What services are available from other University departments?
Many services are available from other University departments – when service is obtained from another University department, bidding is not required, no purchase order is issued, and charges may be paid using an Interdepartmental Transfer (IDT) rather than vouchering against an invoice.

University Mail Service provides bulk mailing and other mail services.

University Reprographics provides copying, printing and binding services.

How do I buy the goods and services I need to perform my job at UTPB?
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin purchases goods and services by determining the products and the suppliers that will afford the university the "best value."  All purchases are handled by the Purchasing Department.

What is "best value" and how is it determined?
Recent legislative changes in the purchasing statutes for higher education have made "best value" procurement possible.
Best value means the optimum combination of economy and quality to achieve the objectives of the end user and the university. To determine this optimum combination, decisions must be made on some pre-purchase evaluation criteria pertaining to specific purchases. There are different guidelines for purchasing goods and services as well as special services like consulting or professional services from architects.

These criteria might involve some or all of the following examples: price, quality, service after the sale, reputation of the vendor, delivery time, cost for training or installation and even trade-in or surplus value when you are through using the item. The list can go on to include as many specific criteria for your purchase that is needed to make the evaluation.

Is everything bought with a purchase order?
No, but the most common items are bought with a purchase order and paid by a voucher. No order is issued if paid for at the time of purchase with a procurement card. See Appendix A below, Products and services no requiring a purchase order.

Some vendors will only work through a written contractual agreement and will not accept purchase orders. Often this is the case with software licenses. You should never sign an agreement! Always contact Purchasing when dealing with any type of licensing document, service agreement or written contractual agreement presented by a vendor. Ynes Alderson (, Director of Purchasing, handles all software licensing agreements

Are all purchases competitively bid?
No. Items below the $5,000 bid threshold can be purchased without taking competitive bids. Of course, comparing prices and "shopping around" is always a good practice. You should also keep in mind purchasing from Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) when possible to meet the university's HUB goals.
Also keep in mind; buying recycled products when practical helps to conserve our natural resources.

There is one particular exception to the dollar limits for bidding:
Any printing job, no matter how small, is required by Article XVI of the Texas Constitution to be competitively bid.  Travis Woodward, in Publications and Special Projects, should be contacted on any printing needs. Please note:  competitive bids are not required if printing is done by a University facility such as UTPB Reprographics.

What else does not require competitive bids besides printing jobs?
Even though higher education is now almost entirely exempt from state purchasing rules, The Texas Legislature requires that we support the state's efforts to gainfully employ persons with disabilities. We must give first consideration to goods and services provided by persons with disabilities. Products and services offered by the Texas Industries for the Blind and Handicapped (TIBH) are listed on the TIBH Online Catalog.
TIBH offers these products and services through State of Texas contracts. We must check their pricing and availability. However if these goods do not meet your best value criteria, that failure is justification to buy the products from the commercial marketplace.

Okay, I’ve done all that.  What do I do now?
For purchases under $5000, the department can contact the vendor for pricing and availability.  Departments need to determine if the product can be acquired with a procard and if there are HUB vendors available who handle the product needed at a competitive price.  Departments DO NOT place orders with the vendor.  A requisition should be send from the department to Purchasing.  Purchasing will review and place order with vendor.
For purchases over $5000, purchasing can take telephone quotes or receive fax quotes on orders up to $25,000. We call this "informal bidding." "Formal bidding" is where purchasing handles the bidding and vendors must send in sealed envelopes containing their offers by a certain date and time in order to be considered. "Informal bidding" requires at least three (3) quotes to determine the best value purchase source. One quote must be from an ethnic HUB and at least one quote from a woman-owned HUB. The third quote can be from any viable source.  See Appendix B below, Summary of Purchasing Authority, for bidding requirements. 

I still can't find what I need.
Then it is time to give your specifications and evaluation criteria to Purchasing and we will bid it out to the world and find what you need. These types of orders are usually the ones over the $25,000 threshold and require special handling by purchasing. End users do not have any authority to process these types of orders.

I do not know what I need. I know what I want to do, but don't know how to do it.
Purchasing also finds problem-solvers, headhunters, consultants, and professional services personnel including (but not limited to) engineers, architects, actuaries, lawyers, appraisers, and surveyors.
If you need this type of assistance, the state has a whole different set of rules we have to play by, which can get complicated. In a nutshell, if you think you need any of the following, please call Purchasing first:

Professional Services
: These are all the professions that are actually certified by their peer groups, associations or state boards; they must continue to take training to maintain their certifications. Some examples are architects, accountants, lawyers, and engineers. If in doubt, check with Purchasing. We have to follow the official state of Texas definition of who is what for these types of services.

Consultants: Everybody calls themselves consultants, but the State of Texas has its own definition and determination of who a consultant is and what consulting is. Please do not guess; call Purchasing at the first inkling that you may need a consultant. Above all do not sign anything!

What can I buy?
Really, you can't buy anything. Only personnel with delegation from the president of the institution can obligate the university to buy something. Only a small handful of personnel in Purchasing have delegation from the president to issue purchase orders or sign contractual agreements that obligate funds for the University. Most University personnel, including the person entering your electronic requisitions, only have "requisitioning authority."
The closest you can come to actually "buying" something is if you have been issued a University Procurement Card. When you make a purchase against the card, you obligate the University to reimburse the bank that owns that card.
You can't sign contracts either, nor can most of your bosses. If you attempt to do so, the contract is voidable - and causes untold problems. Unless specifically delegated by the president of the institution, no one can obligate the University by signing a business contract. No one but the president can delegate that authority (Regent's Rule, Part 2, Chapter XI, Section 1).

The Vice President can only sign business contracts and Chief Financial Officer of the institution and/or his designees who have received delegated signature authority directly from the president of the institution.
AND, THEY ARE SIGNED ONLY AFTER extensive scrutiny of the contract language and the negotiation of acceptable terms and conditions between the University and the contracting party.


The purchase of standard services, professional services, consulting or any other services must be reviewed by Purchasing and/or the Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer prior to any solicitation for such services. Each situation is unique and requires special permissions from the appropriate Vice Chancellor, the LBB, and or the Governor's Budget and Planning Office prior to proceeding with solicitations. Pre-solicitation fact-findings may be required. The selection criteria may vary depending upon the type of service being sought and must be advertised in the solicitation prepared and advertised by the Purchasing Office only. Pre-contractual, reporting, advertising of notice and fact finding with the Governor's Budget Office may be required.

The obligatory agreements will vary accordingly. Before the university enters into any written agreement, the agreement must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate institutional representative at a minimum. Additionally, the contract may require further review and approval by The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel, the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor, and the Board of Regents prior to contract signature and implementation of services.
If you plan to purchase any of these types of services, please contact the Purchasing Office. 

Other Important Facts

Underline Decor.
Appendix A: Products and services not requiring a Purchase Order

  • Regulated utilities
  • Subscriptions to publications 
  • Exam fees
  • Seminar registration fees
  • Accreditation fees
  • Exhibit booth fees
  • Postage
  • Books (Library only!)

Appendix B

Exceptional purchase types requiring special handling by the Purchasing Office

  • Consulting Services, any dollar amount
  • Professional Services, any dollar amount
  • Vendor demands or suggests written contractual agreement in lieu of purchase order
  • Requests for Proposals, any dollar amount, must be handled by Purchasing
  • Requests for Qualifications, usually specific to professional services types, contact Purchasing first
  • Requests for Information, non-committal request to furnish information, again contact Purchasing first
  • Information Technology, licensing issues as well as other property issues involved, contact Purchasing first
  • Construction Services
  • Procurements from Foreign Suppliers, concerning import laws and who can represent the University in handling incoming shipments.
  • Procurements over $5,000.
  • Procurements over $100,000, require HUB Subcontracting plans as determined by Purchasing and the HUB Director
  • Procurements over $500,000, involving leasing for 60 months or more or bonding
  • Procurements over $1,000,000, requiring docketing for Regent's approval