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Procurement and Support Services | Policies | CSUSM

Procurement and Support Services

Definition: Transactions by individuals on behalf of California State University San Marcos, which utilize University-managed funds or obligate the performance of the University in any manner, require written approval of the campus President. The campus President delegates in writing, as required by the CSU, the authority and limitations to enter into such transactions on behalf of the University to specific University employees. These transactions require the University to spend or receive funds, provide or receive services, and/or otherwise commit its resources. The development and finalizing of such transactions shall be accomplished with the guidance and assistance of the Procurement & Support Services department. Individuals who have not been delegated this authority may not obligate University resources without the possibility of being held individually and personally liable. The primary mission of Procurement & Support Services is to provide the following services in support of the University's mission in a timely manner which is consistent with University policy: Cost Effectiveness. Procurement & Support Services seeks to provide cost effective purchasing through programs which deal with standardization, value, cost, price analysis, and maximization of economies of scale through the use of CSU Master Enabling Agreements and other contracting vehicles. Positive Vendor Relationships and Outreach in Business Contracting. Procurement & Support Services is committed to the development and maintenance of a vendor base and strong vendor relationships. Procurement & Support Services seeks out and is strongly committed to the continued development and utilization of small business enterprises (SBE) and disabled veteran business enterprises (DVBE). Professional Conduct. Procurement & Support Services conducts all activities in a fair, ethical, and professional manner consistent with the Principles and Standards of purchasing practice of the Institute of Supply Management and the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Educational Buyers. Protection of University Interests. Procurement & Support Services ensures all purchase transactions are conducted in accordance with current University policy and procedures, and state and federal laws and regulations. Assistance and Information Provided in Support of Campus and University Activities. Procurement & Support Services provides procurement expertise for the benefit of campus departments and University-wide administration. These information services include locating sources, providing literature and/or price estimates for budgetary purposes, providing information for user's consideration, and counseling users regarding purchasing requirements and procedures.
Authority: The purchasing and contracting policies of the California State University (CSU) are not based upon a single statutory reference, but rather are adopted to form compliance with a variety of statutory and policy provisions found in the State of California statutory codes (i.e., Education Code, Public Contract, Government Code, etc.); Title 5, California Code of Regulations; the standing Orders and Resolutions of the Board of Trustees; and specific Trustee policy issued via Chancellor Executive Orders and administrative policy memoranda.
Scope: This policy and any related procedures apply to all areas and members of the campus community.
Responsible Division: Finance & Administrative Services
Approval Date: 10/24/2005
Originally Implemented: 07/01/1989
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Procurement and Support Services Policy




1. University's Authority and Liability

The campus President has been given the authority by the CSU Chancellor to procure goods and services necessary to achieve the goals and objectives of the University. In order to facilitate the needs of the University and ensure that the University is complying with the regulations and guidelines established by the CSU and the State, the campus President may delegate this authority, within certain limits and in writing (as required by the CSU), to specific individuals on campus. Only the Vice President, Finance and Administrative Services, the Associate Vice President for Finance and Business Services, and the Director of Procurement & Support Services (or his/her designee) have the authority to enter into and execute a contract which commits University resources.

All contracts between the University and another legal entity are to be prepared and executed in written form. The University will not accept, as legally binding, any oral agreement that is not finalized and executed in written form as prepared, or authorized to be prepared, by Procurement & Support Services.

2. Employee Personal Liability

On February 4, 1991, the Chancellor's Office issued a memorandum under Vice Chancellor Herbert L. Carter's signature which stated, "Effective immediately, any CSU system-wide employee who authorizes work to be commenced before an officially signed contract is in place will be held personally financially responsible for any expenditure related to such contract".

Cal State San Marcos has elected to implement this policy in keeping with its obligation to protect the resources of the University and to provide for fairness in its procurement activities. CSUSM defines "work" as any transaction requiring the University to spend or receive funds, provide or receive services, and/or otherwise commit its resources. Any employee who has questions regarding personal liability when involved in University-related purchasing activities should contact Procurement & Support Services at (760) 750-4555.

3. After-The-Fact Transactions

After-the-fact transactions occur when departments place orders or make commitments directly to vendors without using an approved purchase methodology. After-the-fact transactions are highly discouraged and may not be honored in accordance with Chancellor's Office policy on liability as stated in I.A.2. If a purchase takes place without prior approval, written justification is required before payment will be made and should address the following:

a. The reason why normal purchasing procedures were not used, including the detailed facts that constituted the emergency.

b. A statement outlining the steps taken to avoid after-the-fact transactions in the future.

c. Invoice number and date event occurred.

d. Proof of delivery or services performed in the form of a packing slip, freight bill, or invoice.

4. Conflict of Interest

a. It is unlawful for any person to utilize any information, not a matter of public record, that is received by that person by reason of his or her employment by, or contractual relationship with the Trustees of the California State University, or an auxiliary organization of the California State University, for personal pecuniary gain, not contemplated by the terms of the employment or contract, regardless of whether the person is or is not so employed or under contract at the time the gain is realized.

b. Consulting agreements must be in compliance with conflict of interest requirements as specified in CSU Policy Section 412.10,

c. No CSU employee may make or participate in the making of any decision in which the employee has a personal financial interest.

d. Employees designated in the CSU Conflict of Interest Code must disqualify themselves from making or participating in a decision which would have a material effect on a personal financial interest.

e. Employees designated in the CSU Conflict of Interest Code may not accept any gift of more than $250 in any calendar year from any source which is disclosable in the CSU Conflict of Interest Code. In addition, such employees must disclose gifts totaling $50 or more from any single source during any one reporting period for California Form 700, Statement of Economic Interest.


1. Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE)

State law requires State agencies make efforts to achieve a goal of three (3) percent participation for disabled veteran business enterprises (DVBE) in State contracts. To view the California State University's DVBE requirements, access the CSU website:

2. Small Business Procurement and Contracts Act

The Government Code provides for small business preference where capability and quality are equal. To receive the small business 5% preference, a bidder must be currently certified by the State of California and request the preference on each bid or be a non-small business bidder committing to no less than 25% small business subcontracting participation. To view the California State University's Small Business Procurement Requirements, access the CSU website:

3. Ethnicity Race and Gender in Contracts

a. Requirements:
Campuses shall collect the voluntary information prescribed on the "Voluntary Statistical Data" form on all procurement transactions specified in the Reporting Section below. The Voluntary Statistical Data form can be found in the Contract Resources Library.

b. Special Conditions:
Awarding departments are prohibited from using the data compiled under this section to discriminate or provide a preference in the awarding of any contracts. Contractors are prohibited from using the information compiled under this section to discriminate or provide a preference in the solicitation or acceptance of bids for subcontracting, or for materials or equipment, on the basis of race, color, sex, ethnic origin, or ancestry.

4. Recycled Product Acquisitions
Fitness and quality being equal, purchase preference shall be given to recycled products whenever such products are available and the cost of such products is no greater than that of their non-recycled counterparts. To view the California State University's Recycling Requirements, access the CSU website:

5. Sole Brand Procurement

A sole brand procurement is prohibited except in the following instances:

a. The sole brand product is unique and essential to the CSU's requirements, thereby precluding consideration of a product manufactured by another company, or

b. The sole brand product is required to match other similar product already in place and the use of an alternate product would cause the CSU to incur substantial additional costs.

c. The sole brand product is required for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, or safety, or the protection of CSU property and programs.

d. The determination as to whether a procurement has been adequately justified in writing for a sole brand award shall be made by the designated campus authority.

6. Sole Source Procurement

Except where a contract is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, or safety, or the protection of CSU property and programs, a sole source procurement is permissible only when a determination has been made and approved in writing, that only one source exists for the required product or service.

A requirement for a proprietary (or sole brand) item does not necessarily justify sole source procurement, as more than one potential bidder or supplier may exist who can supply that item.

The sole source request must clearly demonstrate:

a. That there is only one source or only one supplier that can provide the goods or services in accordance with the requirements of the CSU, or

b. The existence of limited rights in data patent rights, copyrights or secret processes makes the supplies or services available from only one source (however the mere existence of such rights or circumstances does not in and of itself justify a sole source procurement).

Addition of new work that was not within the scope of or incidental to, the original contract scope of work, either as part of the base contract or as an option, is subject to sole source requirements.

The determination as to whether a procurement has been adequately justified in writing for a sole source award shall be made by the designated authority. Campus sole source requests for acquisitions $100,000 or more must be approved by a campus authority no lower than Vice President for Administration/Finance. For sole sources of $250,000 or greater, a copy of the requisition, the justification, and other pertinent documentation must be forwarded to the Chancellor's Office CS&P for review and final approval.


1. Using Purchase Requisitions

Departments prepare an on-line Purchase Requisition in order for Procurement & Support Services to obtain goods and services on their behalf. It is the responsibility of the originating department account manager to ascertain the appropriateness of each transaction against the funding account.

2. Purchases Not Using Purchase Requisitions

Goods and services that do not require the completion of an on-line Purchase Requisition but require other forms/instructions are transactions for:

3. Foundation Purchases

CSU San Marcos Foundation has established policies and procedures for purchases using Foundation-managed funds. Procurement & Support Services does not process Foundation requisitions. Please direct questions regarding Foundation procurements to (760) 750-4700.

4. Planning Purchases

The following goods and/or services require review and authorization from other campus departments:

  • Goods/Services Department Reviewing
  • Computer/hardware related Director, IITS or designee
  • Equipment/furniture which requires installation by Facility Services Director, Facility Services or designee
  • Equipment being ordered that has specifications related to the building structure Director, Facility Services or designee
  • Telephones, cellular phones Manager, Telephone Services
  • Special Consultants Human Resources and Equal Opportunity

5. Trade-In of CSUSM Bar-Coded University Property

It is the responsibility of the department to notify the Property Office of all transfers of CSUSM bar-coded property; see Property Accounting procedure.

6. Price Range Implications

The procurement process is driven by the type and individual dollar amount of the items listed on the Purchase Requisition. These factors determine the method that Procurement & Support Services will use to obtain the items and/or to verify pricing. Procurements over $10,000 require a written summary from the buyer to the file.

The State requires that the CSU award to the lowest, responsible bidder meeting the required specifications. The following details the methodology used based upon dollar amount:

Commodity & Service Bid Limits

Estimated $ Range Method Used
Up to $9,999.99 May be ordered from the department's suggested vendor.
$10,000 - $49,999.99 Requires three (3) price quotations: written or oral (please note quotations on requisition).
$50,000 and above May require a formal sealed bidding process conducted by Procurement & Support Services.

CSUSM is committed to a policy of promoting fair and open competition for the acquisition of commodities and services. Any commodity or service may be subject to competitive solicitation when it is determined to be in the best interests of the University.

Exceptions to Competitive Bidding:

The following transactions are not required to be competitively bid and do not require a sole source approval:

a. Emergency contracts which are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, or safety, or the protection of CSU property and programs;

b. Contracts for the work or services of a state, local or federal agency, the University of California, a California community college, a foundation or auxiliary organization incorporated to support the university, or a Joint Powers Agency;

c. Contracts for which only per diem and travel expenses are paid and there is no payment for services rendered;

d. Contracts for the express purposes of obtaining non-CSU legal counsel or obtaining expert witnesses for litigation (either of these must be submitted to the Office of General Counsel for approval);

e. Contracts with business entities operating handicap workshops as specified in Policy Section 219;

f. Equipment maintenance contracts where there is only one authorized or qualified source required by the equipment manufacturer for the preservation of equipment warranty;

g. Proprietary software maintenance, annual license renewals, and/or upgrade contracts;

h. Utilities contracts where there is no competition because they are solely authorized to provide service to the geographical area;

i. Public entertainment contracts for campus-sponsored fairs, expositions, exhibitions, plays and concerts;

j. Contracts for conference or meeting facilities, including room accommodations for conference attendees;

k. Educational materials and information access resources related to campus library services as specified in Policy Section 303.04;

l. Personal property acquisitions as specified in Policy Section 301A, Bid Thresholds for Personal Property;

m. Procurement of Services as specified in Policy Section 401A, Bid Thresholds for Services;

n. General Services Administration Pricing Schedules in accordance with Policy 204D;

o. California Department of General Services Multiple Award Schedules exempted by DGS;

p. Contract amendments for time extensions, with no additional dollars being added;

q. Contract amendments to exercise options that were part of the original contract or that were part of a previously approved amendment to the contract;

r. Contract amendments that are within the scope of or incidental to the original contract scope of work;

s. Approved Sole Brand procurements where there is only one source for that product;

t. Contracts for professional examinations and memberships;

u. Contracts for goods or services produced by Prison Industry Authority.

7. Order Processing Times

Incoming requests are prioritized by the date requisitions and all supporting documents are received. The following are estimated processing times:

  • $1 - $9,999.99 3-5 working days
  • $10,0000 - $49,999.99 2 weeks
  • $50,000 and above 4 weeks

8. Bid Lead Times for all purchases over $50,000

Depending upon the complexity and value of the materials and/or services required, University purchases may require a formal bid process. In such cases, Procurement & Support Services coordinates with departments to develop specifications, advertise, establish timeframes, and manage all activity involved with a formal bid to ensure that the University is in compliance with all State, CSU and Federal regulations.

Bid lead times for all purchases over $50,000 is approximately 1 - 2 months for all methods of procurement, including Invitation for Bid (IFB) and Request for Proposal (RFP), and is dependent on the provision of complete information.

Procurement & Support Services will place orders based upon the information the department provides on the requisition. Departments should verify that the information submitted is complete, the specifications are adequate for the department's needs, and the information is understandable and legible. Any additional documentation such as the original vendor order form, flyer, brochure, schematic, advertisement, or any other document that is the basis for the request should be submitted with the requisition.

9. Deliveries

a. All vendors, except for the University's contracted office supply vendor and those specifically stated otherwise and approved by Procurement & Support Services, are instructed to ship goods directly to:
Shipping & Receiving
Cal State San Marcos
441 La Moree Road
San Marcos, CA 92078

b. The contracted office supply vendor delivers items directly to the ordering department unless stated otherwise.

c. When necessary, some items may be picked up from the vendor by the requestor. In such cases, it is necessary for the requestor to:
i) Ensure that at the time of pick up, the vendor has the original or copy of the Purchase Order or authorized purchase order number.
ii) Attach packing slips to the invoice and send to Accounts Payable.

10. Fiscal Year-End Deadlines

Requisition cut-off dates may be established each fiscal year to ensure that all orders citing a particular fiscal year's funds are processed and encumbered appropriately.

11. Contract Award Report to Department of Fair Employment and Housing

Campuses shall give written notice at least quarterly to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Office of Compliance Programs, of all contracts (but not purchase orders) over $5,000. For each contract awarded, the notice shall list the name, address, and telephone number of the contractor; the federal employee identification number; the State contract identification number; the date of contract award; the contract amount, the project location; the name of the agent who signed the contract, the name of the contract awarding campus, and the name of the officer signing on behalf of the campus. A reporting form for this purpose, State Standard Form 16, may be obtained from the DGS Forms Management Center. The quarterly list may be appended to the form. Report due date can be found at:

12. California Seller's Permit

For all purchases of goods, campuses shall collect a copy of the vendor's California retailer's seller's permit or certificate of registration.



Office supply procedures are subject to change; therefore, please reference "Office Supply Operations Guide" for current information

Any CSUSM staff member who has the responsibility for ordering office supplies receives Office Supply website training from an internal department user. Employees will be granted web site access upon successful completion of training and submission of an "Office Supply Agreement" to Procurement & Support Services.


For repetitive low dollar procurements, a system-wide procurement card is available for use by campus departments. By signing the ProCard Agreement, Cardholders and Approving Officials verify that they have read, understand, and accept their responsibilities as outlined in the ProCard Manual. Please see the ProCard website or contact Procurement & Support Services at (760) 750-4555 for more information on this option.


In a continuous effort to streamline the procurement process, Procurement & Support Services has determined that some items do not benefit from the issuance of a purchase order and will be processed using the Direct Payment method. Required forms should be submitted directly to Accounts Payable. Please refer to Direct Payment Transaction Guidelines.


1. Administrators and Staff

Advertising for administrative employment (administrators and staff) with the campus is to be submitted to Human Resources and Equal Opportunity for review of compliance with University, State, and Federal regulations, and subsequent placement of the advertisement.

2. Non-Employment and Faculty Searches

University offices that require the placement of non-employment advertisements and faculty searches in various publications or other mediums should follow the Direct Pay Procedure.


Planning Design and Construction establishes the campus standard for modular furniture. Requests are to be reviewed and coordinated by Facility Services, who works with Procurement & Support Services to facilitate the design, purchase, and installation of campus modular furniture. This applies to new or reconfigured systems, and moves of all campus modular furniture.

1. Review and Authorization by Facility Services

a. Departments requesting modular furniture are to contact Facility Services.

b. Facility Services will coordinate with IITS, Procurement & Support Services, and Risk Management and Safety departments.

2. Design and Ordering

a. Facility Services will set up an appointment with the campus-approved modular designer to review the requestor's needs. The designer will prepare a layout for the customer to review. Once the design has been approved by the customer, Facility Services will send a copy to IITS for review.
b. After the modular layout has been approved, the modular vendor will prepare a price quote. The quote will be returned to Facility Services, where they will prepare a bid for the modular project. This bid does not include the cost from IITS; they will provide a separate quote.

c. It is the requestor's responsibility to complete and submit to Procurement & Support Services the requisition and all necessary documentation for the purchase of modular furniture. Facility Services will include an instruction sheet with the bid.


The purpose of these guidelines is to assist the hiring department in processing paperwork for Independent Contractors, Guest Lecturers/Speakers/Performers (hereinafter referred to as Independent Contractors), while complying with State and Federal Laws, CSU policies, and Collective Bargaining Agreements. The following are two (2) methods in which to pay individuals who perform services for the University:
1. An Independent Contractor, Guest Lecturer/Speaker/Performer is a non-employee of the University using a Social Security Number for IRS tax purposes through the Independent Contractor Process using the Independent Contractor Packet.

The requesting department selects the Independent Contractor based upon their needs and submits the completed paperwork to either Accounts Payable or Procurement & Support Services as determined on the Check List and Cover Sheet (page 13 of the Independent Contractor Packet).

2. A temporary employee through the Special Consultant Process.
The requesting department submits the completed paperwork to Human Resources and Equal Opportunity.


Use of Prison Industry Authority (PIA) is encouraged to procure any available goods and services produced by the Prison Industry Authority (PIA). CSUSM may contract, without competition, with PIA for goods and services, whenever it is determined that PIA can provide the best value for the CSU.


1. General Information - POA

The Department may initiate a Purchase Order Amendment (POA) form to cancel the purchase order or amend any information on the original purchase order. For POAs under $50.00, a department may submit the POA request via email.

2. Amending a Purchase Order

a. A Purchase Order Amendment form is to be filled out, approved, and submitted to Procurement & Support Services. When filling out the form, be specific and list changes by line item number, e.g., Item # 001, 002, etc.

b. The POA must be signed by the account manager before submission to Procurement & Support Services.


1. General Information - Rejections/Returns for Credit

a. When a vendor has shipped items as specified on a purchase order, the vendor has complied with their part of the contract and is under no obligation to accept those items for return or credit. If a vendor does accept an item for return, the vendor may charge the University for freight and restocking costs. Such charges will be assessed to the ordering/returning department.

b. Regardless of the delivery method, departments are to inspect goods for acceptance.

2. Process for Rejecting or Returning Items (from other than contracted office supply vendor)

a. End User (department) - notifies Procurement & Support Services, referencing the purchase order number.

b. End User/Procurement & Support Services - In most cases, a vendor's Return Merchandise/Goods Authorization (RMA/RGA) number and specific shipping instructions need to be obtained from the vendor prior to returning an item.

c. End User - calls or e-mails Shipping and Receiving so that the items can be picked up with the RMA/RGA and shipping instructions. All merchandise to be returned should be packaged in the original container when applicable. If the vendor does not provide a mailing label, the department will prepare a shipping label. Shipping costs not covered by the vendor will be charged to the department returning the merchandise.

d. End User - completes a POA, if applicable, obtains the necessary approval signature, and submits the approved POA to Procurement & Support Services to document the return.


1. New Agreements

Thirty (30) days prior to expiration of warranty, the department has the option of extending service by submitting a requisition which includes: make, model, serial number, payment terms, and term of maintenance agreement.

2. Renewing Maintenance Agreements

Department should submit requisition at least thirty (30) days prior to expiration of agreement.


1. Repair of Equipment on Maintenance Agreement (Excluding University Copier Program)

a. Department is responsible for contacting the vendor for service.

b. When service has been completed, the vendor will normally present a service work order slip to the department representative for signature to confirm services have been performed.

c. While the service representative is present, the department representative is to check to make sure the equipment is working properly. The department representative does not sign any service work orders until they are satisfied with the work.

d. If vendor has been called more than twice for the same problem and it is still not repaired to department's satisfaction, department is to contact Procurement & Support Services to contact vendor to repair or replace the equipment.

2. Repair of Equipment not on Maintenance Agreement

a. Department may call Procurement & Support Services for a vendor recommendation. Department then submits a requisition with an estimated cost.

b. Procurement & Support Services obtains appropriate insurance, if required, processes a purchase order, and notifies the department of the P.O. number. The department is now authorized to contact the vendor to schedule the service call. Procurement & Support Services forwards the purchase order to the vendor.

c. When service is complete the vendor presents the department representative with a service work order for signature. Upon satisfactory completion of service, the department signs the work order, indicates the PO Number and forwards the original to Accounts Payable.


Departments desiring information on available copiers for lease are to contact University Copier Program at extension 7515.


Procurement & Support Services is responsible for the preparation, approval, and administration of all contracts on behalf of CSUSM and its departments. All contracts or agreements which financially or otherwise obligate or require a signature on behalf of CSUSM or one of its divisions, departments, programs, or any other unit, must first be processed through Procurement & Support Services.

Those who sign a contract or agreement without prior written authorization from Procurement & Support Services may be individually liable for that obligation.

The Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services has sole signature authority for contracts related to real estate transactions.


Refer to the policy and procedure regarding employee moves and relocations for detailed informatiom