Purchasing Procedures

Purchasing Office

Purchasing Procedures

West Virginia University at Parkersburg maintains a centralized purchasing department and centralized shipping and receiving function to assist with the acquisition of goods, services, agreements, and other purchasing requirements.  Functions include purchase, receipt, delivery, inventory control, and oversight of the college purchasing card program.  These Procedures implement Board of Governors Policy E-42 and State purchasing regulations.


The Director of Business Services is designated by the President to serve as the institution’s chief procurement officer.  The Director of Business Services reports to the Vice President for Finance and Administration and is responsible for the implementation of State regulations in the procurement of goods and services for the institution.

Eligible Vendors

In accordance with West Virginia Code §5A-3-12, every person, firm, or corporation selling goods or services to State agencies, competitive bid or otherwise, must complete and file a Vendor Registration and Disclosure Statement (Form WV-1) with the State purchasing division.  A vendor is required to register only one time.  However, if the ownership of services offered for the organizational structure changes, the vendor must update the original registration by submitting a new registration form.  In some instances, depending on the dollar value of the initial purchase, a registration fee is required.  (Higher Education has been exempted from most portions of this Code item.)
When registering, the Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN) of the firm or partnership must be provided.  If the registrant is an individual, Social Security Account Number (SSAN) must be provided in lieu of the FEIN.  An original Form W-9 must be completed, signed, and filed with the State purchasing division.  It may be submitted to the WVUP purchasing department who will forward it to the State office.

Resident Vendor Preference

Those vendors who qualify for a resident vendor preference may receive an award preference over a non-resident vendor provided that:

1. The purchase order is based on competitive bids
2. The bid of the resident vendor does not exceed that of a non-resident vendor by more than 2.5% allowed by law
3. Claims for such a preference must be made in writing by the vendor at the time of bid submittal.

Unauthorized Purchases

A purchase made without prior approval from the procurement officer or his/her designee is an unauthorized purchase and may become the personal responsibility of the individual making the purchase.  The Vice President of Finance & Administration or the chief procurement officer are the only persons authorized by the President to enter into and administer contracts and make written determinations with respect thereto for West Virginia University at Parkersburg.  This restriction applies to ALL goods and services, including requests for previews, memberships, subscriptions, maintenance calls, etc.  The Vice President of Finance & Administration or the chief procurement officer may delegate this authority to authorized purchasing card holders at the institution within the individual limits of their purchasing card.  However, final review of the purchases still rests with the Vice President of Finance and Administration and the chief procurement officer.

Purchasing Process

The purchasing process begins with the department or individual having a need for goods or services.  The first step in all types of purchasing transactions is the preparation and transmittal of a purchase requisition to the purchasing department.  This form, which must be completed prior to making a purchase is used for purchasing card purchases, purchase orders, contracts, etc.  Large dollar procurements, those in excess of $50,000, will be completed utilizing a competitive bidding process.


As previously stated, preparation of a requisition form, whether manual or electronic, is required to be completed prior to making any purchase The only exception to this requirement are requests for employee travel and expense reimbursement, both of which have their own request and approval form.  At a minimum, the purchase requisition must contain the following information:

Requestor’s name

Date requested

A detailed description of the goods or services requested

The DA to which the item is to be charged

A general notation as to the budget line to which the item is to be charged (for example, office supplies, educational supplies, travel, printing, etc.)

A brief business justification for the purchase ( for example, “Copy paper necessary to support the function of the Admissions office” or “Routine oil change for the 2010 Dodge Ram Pickup fleet vehicle”)

Signature of approver.  The approver would generally be the requestor’s direct supervisor, most likely a division chair, a member of the executive team, or the President.  Requisitions requested by members of the executive team may be approved by another executive team member or by the President. The purchase requisition approver should ensure that the purchase relates to an allowable WVUP expense and that unencumbered budget funds are available to cover the purchase.

 (No purchase, including purchase card purchases, will be made without the presence of proper approval.  In no instance may the requestor also be the approver of a requisition.)

Any purchase requisition in excess of $3,000 must include attached evidence of competitive price comparison.  WVUP’s purchasing department is responsible for assisting faculty and staff in obtaining the required price quotes and in ensuring that WVUP receives the best possible price on the goods and services it purchases. In addition, any purchase requisition in excess of $3,000 will be reviewed for reasonableness and budget availability by the Vice President of Finance and Administration or his/her designee.  The Vice President of Finance and Administration will document his or her review by signing the purchase requisition.  Exceptions to this requirement apply if the vendor has an active State Contract with the State of WV or an institution of higher education whose contract extends to all WV higher education institutions.  In this case, the State Contract number must be written on the purchase requisition.  (A list of negotiated contracts is available online at: www.state.wv.us/admin/purchase/swc/default.html.) Any purchase requisition received by the purchasing department that does not meet the minimum requirements will be returned directly to the supervisor for completion and can result in delay of the ordering of goods.

Any purchase whose total is expected to exceed $50,000, regardless of the number of items or type of service must have direct contact with the Director of Business Services in order to properly obtain formal bids.   The only exception to this procedure is if the vendor has an active State Contract with the State of WV or an institution of higher learning whose contract extends to all WV higher education institutions.  In this case, the State Contract number must be written on the purchase requisition.  Any purchase requisition received by the purchasing office that does not meet the minimum requirements will be returned directly to the supervisor for completion.

In no instance shall purchases expected to exceed $50,000 be split into more than one smaller purchase in order to avoid the competitive bidding process.

Once completed, the requisition form may be emailed or hand delivered to the purchasing office.

If the purchase requisition is properly approved and budget funds are available, WVUP’s purchasing office or an authorized P-Cardholder will complete the approved purchase and acquire the goods or services requested.

All purchases should be shipped to WVUP’s receiving department and/or brought to WVUP’s receiving department for proper check in.  In all cases, an individual other than the purchaser must account for the receipt of the goods by comparing the items presented with the approved purchase requisition, detailed vendor receipt and packing slip.  The receiver shall sign and date the packing slip, itemized receipt or receiving report and state in writing the goods or services were received.  The signed receiving report must be attached to the purchase requisition as proof of proper receiving of goods purchased.

All supporting documentation must be attached to the purchase requisition and retained by the Business Office according to Records Retention Guidelines (Answer Book #VII-6).

 Miscellaneous Employee Reimbursements

Any employee reimbursements that are not travel related must follow the above purchasing procedures.  If an employee makes the decision to pay for the items with their personal fund and then seek reimbursement, he/she must still obtain prior approval if the purchase will exceed $99.  In order to be reimbursed, the employee must complete an Employee Reimbursement Request form, attach all original itemized receipts, a packing slip or receiving report, Hospitality Documentation form with list of attendees and approved purchase requisition as outlined in the additional documentation required below.  The Employee Expense Reimbursement form must be signed by the employee seeking reimbursement along with the employee’s immediate supervisor and then forwarded to the business office for final processing.

Additional Documentation Requirements

Packing Slip or Receiving Report

All invoices forwarded to the Business Office for check payment of merchandise received must be accompanied by an authorized Packing Slip or a completed Receiving Report.  (See Receiving Procedures in Answer Book #VII-10A.)

Hospitality Documentation

All invoices or reimbursements request that are related to an event that was hospitality related (Involving food or beverage not travel related) must be accompanied by a completed Hospitality Form.  The form and procedure is provided in Answer Book #VII-7, Procedure for Hospitality Services.


There are two authorized methods of procurement for various types of goods and services based on dollar thresholds that pertain to purchase orders.  (Purchasing card procurements are addressed in Answer Book #VII-9.)

Purchases under $50,000

Any order that is less than $50,000 does not require competitive bidding by State regulations as amended for Higher Education.  (As previously stated, any purchase in excess of $3,000 must show proof that comparative prices were solicited for items to be purchased.)  However, the individual completing the requisition must ensure they do not artificially divide requisitions in order to avoid bidding dollar thresholds.  This practice is commonly referred to as “split purchasing” or “stringing.”  If it is deemed to be in the best interest of the college, the purchasing office has the right to obtain competitive quotes for any other order, regardless of dollar value.  This is especially critical when the purchasing office feels a quote obtained by the individual completing the requisition is unusually high. At its discretion, the Board of Governors may authorize contracts for personal services under $50,000.  For all contracts in excess of $50,000 the Board of Governors is required to solicit formal bids through a request for proposal process.

Purchases over $50,000

All purchases in excess of $50,000, with the exception of sole source purchases, require competitive bidding.  The college’s purchasing department shall advertise for bids either electronically, on the college’s purchasing department website or on the public bid board located in the main hallway outside the business office.  In addition, a legal ad is required by state law to be placed in the newspaper at least 14 days prior to bid opening.  These steps allow for the widest dissemination of the bid package to potential vendors.

Along with the mailing of the bid package to potential bidders will be a self-addressed envelope for the return of the bid/quote.  Returned bids will only be accepted if returned in a sealed envelope or container with the bid or quote number clearly marked on the outside.  In addition, the bid envelope must contain the date and time of the bid opening as well as the bid number.  Upon arrival in the purchasing office the sealed bids will immediately be date-stamped on the external envelope to show time and date of receipt.  Bids are then placed in a secure location until the date and time of public bid opening.

At opening, all bids will be opened one at a time and read aloud and the information transcribed to a bid abstract form.  All bid openings are open to the public.  Upon completion of the bid opening, each bid will be reviewed for completion and accuracy and forwarded to the initial requisition initiator for evaluation.  With all things considered equal and all bidders meeting specification requirements, the bid award will normally be made to the lowest proper bid.  Should the requisition initiator select a vendor other than the low bid, then complete written justification must accompany the bid package when returned to purchasing for award.  The purchasing office rarely makes an award to other than the low bidder.

The selected vendor will be notified of the results through a receipt of a signed order.  Unsuccessful bidders will be notified either by phone, email or a letter of the bid results.

Writing a Specification

Specifications are always prepared by the requestor, although assistance is available from the purchasing department.  Specifications determine the quality level and basis for evaluation of bids.  On repeat requisitions specifications should be reviewed in order to ensure they do not become static.  If the order is for items with special qualities or requirements ensure the specification clearly identifies this need.  A properly prepared specification should be a combination of a legal document and a technical paper.

The following guidelines should be used in obtaining the specification for your order:

Identify the minimum requirements necessary to accomplish the task.

Allow for competitive bidding.  Do not be restrictive by writing out certain brands or manufactures.  (See section on sole-source procurement).  Functional or performance criteria must be emphasized when writing specification.

List criteria on which testing will be judged for compliance with the specification.

Although the specification must be written to allow competitive bidding, this does not guarantee that low bid will automatically always be accepted as the selected vendor.  Items provided on returned bids that are below the minimum designated standards outlined within the specification may be rejected based on that basis.  It is therefore important that specification establishes a minimum acceptable quality.

Specification must be clear and concise as an award is normally based on the exact justification and documentation contained in the specification.  Specification writers should also ensure that all known pertinent characteristics of items required be identified to enable proper evaluation of any alternatives quoted as part of the bid.

Specification sources are varied and can often be found in:

1. Catalogs
2. Form Vendors (see following paragraph)
3. Technical societies
4. Association of users manufacturers
5. Purchasing office

Specification writers must be very careful when obtaining draft specifications from vendors that no inference is made to the vendor that he or she will be awarded any contract for which they may draft such specification.

Since no individual can be expected to be a technical expert in all areas, the purchasing office often “buys” technical specifications from recognized experts and adds the “boiler plate” documents prior to releasing for bid.  Prior to the release the purchase specification is also carefully examined to ensure that it does not preclude certain vendors from responding to the bid package.

Contract Purchases

Contracts will be used to the maximum extent possible.  Types of contracts that may be used include formal State negotiated contracts, other State agency contracts or college or university contracts, WVU at Parkersburg contracts, and government/GSA contracts in which the college is allowed to participate.  The advantage of contract use is guaranteed pricing for a specific time frame and the freedom to issue an order or award without going through the formal bidding process.  Contracts are specifically useful in repetitive order items.


Agreements are utilized when the college is acquiring technical assistance or entering into contracts with private individuals for such things as the teaching of special non-credit courses through the Workforce and Community Education area, entertainers, preceptors, or student teacher advisors for our education majors, as examples.  All agreement forms must be original and contain minimum information which includes the vendor or individual’s full name and address, Federal Identification Number (FEIN) or Social Security Number (SSN), type of service provided and original signature.  An updated W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form must also be on file.  All agreements will be approved by the WVU Parkersburg Vice President of Finance and Administration and or President.  Departments DO NOT have the authority to enter into agreements beforehand.

Sole Source Purchases

Sole source purchases over $50,000 will, on rare occasions, be authorized by the purchasing department when it has been determined that the specific goods requested can only be provided from a specific vendor.  Please note that a requirement for a particular proprietary item does not, in itself, justify the need for entering into a sole source agreement.  The following examples are provided where sole source may be justified:

1. Accessories or replacement parts for existing equipment
2. Where a sole source is needed for trial use or testing
3. Grant funding specifically requiring the use of a particular brand name or vendor (Grant writers should try to avoid being locked into this requirement when applying for grants.)

The determination for using sole source award rests with the Director of Business Services and Vice President of Finance and Administration.  Such determination must be documented in writing in the order file.  Any request by a requisition initiator to award a sole source order must be requested in writing and attached to the requisition.  The request must fully and completely justify the need for sole source to the satisfaction of the Vice President of Finance & Administration.  Should any questions arise about the need for sole source, the decision of the Vice President of Finance & Administration will be final.

Emergency Procurement

Emergency purchases may be authorized by the Director of Business Services or the Vice President of Finance & Administration when there is a threat to public health, welfare, or safety, or to meet bona fide emergencies arising from unforeseen causes such as natural disasters, acts of God, strikes or work stoppages, and delays in transportation provided such emergency purchases shall be made with competition as is practical under the circumstances.  Emergency purchases will be limited to those supplies or services only necessary to meet the emergency.  An emergency purchase will not be authorized due to a lack of planning on the part of the requestor.  In all instances, the purchase order file will be documented with written justification as to the need for an emergency purchase.  All emergency purchases should be referred to the Director of Business Services or the Vice President of Finance and Administration for determination if possible and time permits.


The competitive Request for Proposal (RFP), is available for use as a method of procurement when sealed bidding is neither practical nor advantageous.  An RFP is an invitation to vendors to submit a proposal to solve a problem when the purchaser is unsure of the solution.  The RFP requisition must fully identify a detailed description of the problem and any specific mandatory elements considered essential to the solution, as well as any other elements that may impact the service to be received.  However, RFP must not contain any information that will restrict other vendors from providing the same type of service or solution or from participating in the purchasing process.

The key element in determining the use of RFP is the need for flexibility.  RFP procurement process differs from sealed bidding in two important ways.

1.  It permits discussions with competing suppliers
2. It allows comparative judgment evaluation to be made when selection is among acceptable proposals that will be the ultimate basis for an award.

Evaluation of all RFP’s must be based on the evaluation factors set forth with the RFP and provided to all vendors as part of the proposal package.

Maintenance Agreements

All requests for maintenance agreements for equipment are to be submitted to the purchasing office for award.  Make, model, serial number, state inventory tag number (if applicable) and any other pertinent information must be provided.  Payment for maintenance services are only made in arrears and after the services have been performed.  If stated in the agreement, payments may be made periodically as maintenance is performed.

Open End Contracts

The procedure for purchasing various commodities and/or services from one vendor for an extended period of time may be authorized through the use of an open end contract.  Annual requirements are established and sealed bidding process is used.  An annual contract will be awarded with options for renewals.  Funds will only be encumbered for one year at a time.

Special Purchasing Situations

Nearly all purchases of goods or services require delivery prior to payment of invoices.  However, a few situations do exist when advance payment may be authorized prior to receipt of items.  They are as follows:

1.  Subscriptions
2.  Approved Memberships
3. Postage

Purchasing Card Orders (See Separate Purchasing Card Procedures in Answer Book #VII-9)

Shipping and Receiving

All goods ordered by West Virginia University at Parkersburg personnel must be received in the central receiving office.  The purchasing assistant generally accepts deliveries of incoming parcels from common carriers and vendor trucks; inspects for signs of damage (and files, or assists in filing, damage claims when necessary); sorts received parcels; delivers parcels to campus customers, obtaining appropriate signatures on delivery; and picks up and ships outgoing parcels or coordinates the shipping, via common carriers.  In some cases, the receiving function is also responsible for opening and inspecting the contents of incoming parcels for conformance with purchase requisition requirements.  Finally, the receiving office is the point of contact for any WVUP staff or employee who has directly purchased goods and needs a verification of the goods received.  For example, in order to expedite a repair, a maintenance employee may go to a nearby hardware store to pick up a part necessary to complete the repair.  In these cases, upon returning to the college, the maintenance employee must report to receiving and have the purchasing assistant compare the items purchased with the receipt and verify that the two agree.  Following are the specific steps necessary to complete the receiving process.

1. Upon arrival, delivery trucks are unloaded and merchandise is inspected for signs of physical damage by the purchasing assistant.  If goods are damaged, they are not to be accepted and/or a damage claim is filed.
2. After the goods have passed physical inspection, the purchasing assistant pulls the purchase requisition relating to the shipment received and performs a count of the items received with the quantity listed on the purchase requisition.  If all of the product is not delivered, the purchasing assistant immediately calls the vendor to let them know and makes arrangements for the vendor to ship the missing items.
3. If the goods received are a partial shipment, the purchasing assistant makes a copy of the original purchase requisition and indicates on the requisition how many items were originally received and circles the items that were not received.  When the remaining items are received, the purchasing assistant follows items 1 and 2 above to receive the remaining items and uses the copy of the original purchase requisition to document this process.
4. Once the purchasing assistant is sure the order is correct, he/she signs and dates the packing slip.  If there is no packing slip, the purchasing assistant provides an internally generated receiving report with all of the appropriate information included.  All packing slips and receiving reports are stapled to the completed purchase requisition.
5. All data relating to the order received is logged into a receiving log maintained on an Excel spreadsheet.
6. When the goods received constitute an electronic device such as a computer, I-Pad, television or such have completed the normal receiving process the item is delivered to the WVUP IT department.  The IT Department signs for the receipt of the item, places an electronic inventory tag on the item and logs them into the IT Inventory system.  Once the tagging and inventory process is complete, the IT department delivers the electronic device to the appropriate recipient(s).
7. Any assets whose cost exceeds $5,000 per unit is tagged with a West Virginia University at Parkersburg inventory tag.  The purchasing assistant takes pictures of the item including the serial number, model number, and the inventory tag itself.  After the completion of these steps, the purchasing assistant completes the appropriate online Asset Acquisition Form with all the appropriate information found on the receiving report.  A copy of the completed Asset Acquisition Form is forwarded to WVU for entry in West Virginia University at Parkersburg capital asset and depreciation schedule.
8. The purchasing assistant then delivers the goods to the individual who placed the order.  These individuals acknowledge receipt of the goods by signing and dating the purchase requisition.
9. Items that cannot be immediately delivered because the individual is not in his/her office or on campus are locked in the cabinet in the receiving area until such time as they can be delivered.
10. Once the goods are delivered, the purchasing technician staples together all of the relevant purchasing documents including the purchase requisition, invoice, packing slip and receiving report and files them for safe keeping.


office immediately for input into the inventory system. “Original” copy will be given to the accounts payable section (if ordered on a purchase order) as the receiving report for matching against the invoice.

Expediting Shipments

Occasionally pending orders become overdue and/or are urgently required by the requisitioner. If this situation arises the shipping and receiving department will assist the purchasing office in expediting the order in order to speed up the delivery date.

1. Upon a periodic review of all outstanding purchasing/credit card orders and when an order appears to be past due (normally 30 days after order date), contact the vendor via telephone or email to determine the status of the order. ALL comments from the vendor regarding the status of the order must be noted on the receiving report copy.
2. Notify the department initiating the requisition of the most recent status once obtained from the vendor.
3. Any problems not easily handled by the shipping and receiving department should be brought immediately to the attention of the Director of Purchasing who will then make the determination on the continued status of the order.


In accordance with regulations and acceptable procurement standards, West Virginia University makes every effort to treat all vendors equally and fairly.

Vendor Stipulation

The following stipulations apply to all vendors doing business with WVUP and will be strictly enforced:

WVU Parkersburg employees shall not have a financial interest in the purchase of equipment, materials, supplies or other goods and services from the vendor.

Employees of WVU Parkersburg shall not accept any gift, or other items of value from any firm or corporation in excess of what is authorized within State Code pertaining to ethics. Under no circumstances should employees accept any items of any value from vendors seeking favor with WVUP in regards to the procurement process.

Sales Representatives

Many vendors call on the purchasing office staff through their outsides sales reps. Although the vast majority of these reps are legitimate, discretion must be used since their purpose is solely to garner business for their respective firms. As such, bids from competing vendors are never to be discussed with sales reps. (Note that after a formal bid opening takes place the files become public and the bidding information must be made available to anyone who seeks to review the procurement file.) Only information in bids clearly marked “proprietary” by the bidders is not subject to public review.

Vendor Complaint Form

A vendor complaint form is a written record of problems that have arisen from a vendor. This documentation can take any written form deemed necessary for the Director of Purchasing and must be attached to the applicable purchase order file. This process is normally only used as a last resort and when a vendor repeatedly fails to meet its obligations to WVUP as stated in the order. Actions can range from suspension from doing business with WVUP to a written letter of dissatisfaction listing the complaints.

Inventory Control

The scope of Inventory Management and Surplus Property is to provide guidelines on inventory management and surplus property disposition. Authority to implement these guidelines is granted to West Virginia University at Parkersburg Director of Purchasing/Chief Procurement Officer by the State Purchasing Division as outlined in Chapter 5, Section 34 and 45 of the West Virginia Code. Action has further been delegated to the purchasing department inventory coordinator.

Inventory Management

All State owned property, whether fixed or removable, having a value of $5000 or more will be maintained and tracked in the fixed asset module of the Oracle system. Adding items to this listing if meeting criteria is automatic at time of receipt. Once “tagged”, an Oracle Asset Acquisition form is completed by the purchasing department and forwarded to WVU main campus for entry into the Oracle system to complete the fixed asset listing entry.


Upon receipt of an item to be added to the fixed asset listing, the shipping and receiving department will immediately place an inventory control tag on the equipment/item. The serial and model number of the item, as well as the inventory control tag number will be entered on the receiving copy of the purchase order and a copy provided to the purchasing department inventory control clerk. The purchasing department will then prepare the Oracle Asset Acquisition form as noted in the paragraph above.


As authorized by the West Virginia Code and further delegated to the Higher Education Policy Commission, a physical inventory will conducted every other year. This physical inventory should be conducted by June 30th of the year in which due and will consist of actual hands-on sight of the items noted on the fixed asset listing as provided by WVU main campus via Excel spreadsheet from the Oracle fixed asset module. Upon completion of the physical inventory, notification will be made to WVU main campus via Excel spreadsheet as to the status of the inventoried items. WVU main campus will report the results of the regional campuses inventory along with theirs to the Policy Commission.

Lost Property

When fixed assets identified during the inventory has been determined to be lost an investigation will be initiated with the custodian of the property and then turned over to the campus Police department if applicable for follow- up. Once the investigation is complete, the Oracle Disposal/Surplus form will be prepared and forwarded to WVU main campus to have the item deleted from the fixed asset Oracle module.

Stolen Property

Property determined to be stolen will be reported to the campus Police department and the local law enforcement authorities having jurisdiction. The same procedures as noted above for lost property will then be followed.

Property Disposition

From time to time WVU Parkersburg will make the determination to retire and therefore dispose of items on the fixed asset listing. All property retired will be reported to WVU main campus in the same method as lost or stolen property in order to remove the items from the fixed asset listing. The purchasing department inventory clerk will also prepare WV State Form WV-103, Surplus Property and Disposition form to remain in the property file for audit purposes.

Property Disposal

There are several methods authorized for WVU Parkersburg to dispose of excess fixed asset items (as well as items under $5000).

1. Surplus items may be listed and then transferred to the State surplus property yard at Dunbar, West Virginia where they will be sold and receipts kept by the State.
2. WVU Parkersburg may transfer excess assets to other government agencies, including federal, state, county and municipal entities. Under no circumstances will items be permitted to be transferred to private companies or individuals.
3. Excess items may be advertised in the local newspaper for sealed bidding. The individual submitting the highest bid will be allowed to take possession of the items once payment has been made. Records must be maintained with copies of the legal ad, the name of the bidders, the name of the high bidder and the amount paid.
4. If the Director of Purchasing determines the fixed asset items has no value then they may be disposed of locally. This method of disposal will only be allowed once the item has no resale value.