Subject: University of Maine System Purchasing Procedures
The University of Maine System (UMS or University) uses competitive procurement as the standard procurement method for all goods, services and other purchasing or contracting. It is the practice of the University to obtain all goods and services at the lowest cost to the University consistent with those standards of quality, performance, service, and availability which will best meet the needs of the University.
A. Competitive Procurement Process
Refers to all methods of obtaining prices from multiple vendors including selections based on bid price alone, qualifications alone or best value.
Refers to pricing obtained by direct contact with vendors through a number of informal, generally rapid, methods, including telephone, faxed, email or written quotations. Advertised prices, whether on paper or electronic media, are not considered quotations.
Refers only to pricing obtained through a formal – bid process.
Refers only to information obtained from a vendor concerning goods or services through a formal – proposal process.
E. Request for Bid (RFB)
: Refers to the document issued to solicit bids and is used when the goods or services being procured can be precisely described. Price is generally the determining factor in the award provided all other criteria set forth in the RFB are met. – The award is made to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder, unless in the judgment of the authorized purchasing agent, the best interests of the University would not be served by such an award.
F. Request for Proposal (RFP)
Refers to the document used to solicit proposals from vendors when a product or service cannot be specifically defined and the evaluation generally is based on a variety of criteria such as a proposal’s ability to meet the identified need, the qualifications of the provider, the proposal’s conformity with the available specifications, and other factors as determined useful. The award will be made to the vendor whose proposal is determined to best meet the needs of the University taking into consideration the evaluation criteria set forth in the RFP. – All proposals are kept confidential until an award is made, at which time the proposals become public information subject to a written request referencing the Public Access laws. All proposals must be retained for a minimum of five (5) years.
G. Request for Information (RFI)
Request for Information (RFI): is a formal process for gathering information from potential suppliers of a good or service. No awards may be issued in this process. Often times this is used to inform the creation of an RFP.
H. Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
Refers to a document used to solicit letters of interest and statements of qualifications (submissions) when seeking persons or companies to perform services for the University. Although similar to an RFP, the RFQ is used when specific deliverables are not able to be clearly articulated and the credentials and qualifications of the provider are the major evaluation factors. From submitted letters of interest and statements of qualifications, a group of finalists is chosen and interviewed from which (provider(s) will be selected for award and subsequent contract per the stated evaluation criteria. All submissions are kept confidential until an award is made, at which time the submissions become public information subject to a written request referencing the Public Access laws. All submissions must be retained. Note: Since this process does not conclude with a contract award, vendors are not asked to provide pricing or delivery information.
I. Responsible Bidder
Refers to a bidder or proposer who has the capability in all respects to perform the contract requirements in a manner which will assure reliability and good performance.
J. Declining Balance
Refers to a Purchase Order which has been issued to a vendor for small dollar, repetitive purchases of a specified type of supply item over a specified period of time (generally one fiscal year or less). Declining Balance POs must not cross fiscal years and should include the following details:
- Description of the type of supply items to be purchased,
- Period of time covered,
- Names of individuals authorized to make purchases
- Total “not to exceed” amount. In some cases, it may be appropriate to indicate the dollar threshold per purchase.
Example of language used on a Standing Order:
- “Standing Order for legal advertising for the period July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023. Authorized Users: John Doe, David Boss. Single purchase not to exceed $50.00. Total purchases not to exceed $1000.00”
- Standing Orders should not be used for items that can be purchased via MaineStreet Marketplace Contracted Suppliers.
K. Contract, Agreement or Master Agreement
Means the agreement between a vendor and the University of Maine System, describing the service to be performed, the terms and conditions and scope of performance or action which is expected of the recipient.
It is the intent of this Administrative Practice Letter (APL) to promote the practice of the competitive procurement process in order to keep costs at a minimum and to give interested suppliers an equal opportunity to supply goods and services to the University.
The competitive procurement process outlined in this APL applies to the procurement of all services, supplies, material and equipment (including equipment obtained by capital or operating lease). Waivers from the competitive procurement process may be granted for special circumstances as described in Section V.
III. Authority and Segregation of Duties
The Chancellor and Presidents of the universities by virtue of their office may authorize purchases from the budgets provided them by the Board of Trustees within the requirements of Board policy. They may re-delegate purchasing authority to designated employees, except as provided below. The University requires electronic approval of all purchase orders and purchasing card transactions. , A list of employees authorized to approve orders in these systems must be maintained by each campus.
Only those employees specifically designated are authorized to make purchases in the name of the University. Unauthorized purchases become the obligation and financial responsibility of the individual who made the commitment. Purchases are not to be used for personal purposes, regardless of the intent to reimburse the University.
B. Segregation of Duties
Management is responsible for the control structure of the University and must ensure that appropriate controls exist. Segregation of duties is a basic, key internal control and is used to prevent or detect errors or irregularities on a timely basis by employees in the normal course of business. Senior administration and all individuals responsible for assignment and supervision of employees that carry out fiscal activities must ensure adequate segregation of duties within their areas of responsibility, or provide appropriate compensating controls.
In the procurement area, the optimum degree of segregation would be that functions of authorization, recordkeeping (e.g., entering requisitions), and reconciliation of the related general ledger chart fields would be performed by different personnel. If that level of segregation is not possible, compensating or mitigating controls must be established. For example, when the same employee approves a purchase and also reconciles the related general ledger activity, the supervisor or other appropriate employee must perform and document a frequent, timely, and detailed review of the activity.
When assigning roles within the procurement system, responsibility for the related general ledger reconciliation must also be assessed. Any potential control weaknesses will be brought to the attention of the campus Chief Business Officer (CBO) or designee (or at the System Office, the Director of Finance and Controller) so that risks will be understood and appropriate controls established.
IV. Purchase Orders
In order to maintain adequate financial controls (encumbrances and liquidations) and to minimize risk to the institution, prior to authorizing a supplier to fulfill an order or provide a service, purchase orders should be created in MaineStreet Marketplace for all procurements with a value above the University’s petty cash limit (See APL I-E, Petty Cash). An up-front purchase order is not required for the following, however, these purchases should be processed using MaineStreet Marketplace by creating an After-the-Fact Purchase Order with a justification of “no PO is required per APL” or by using a Check Request Form when no invoice is provided by the supplier.
- publications, subscriptions, memberships, and registrations,
- postage and shipping,
- utilities (e.g. water, sewer, energy contracts, telephone, telecommunications, etc.),
- insurance premiums and settlements,
- legal fees and settlements,
- banking, investment management and related services,
- revenue bond expenses including issuance costs, trustee/paying agent fees, rating agency fees, and arbitrage rebate payments,
- tax form vendor expenses based on volume (e.g.,1098T’s),
- interdepartmental services,
- payments to state, university or governmental agencies,
- travel and expense reimbursements to non-employees, unless the expense is part of a contract for services,
- honoraria, payments to research subjects,
- Human Resources employee benefits, dues, garnishments, or payroll deductions,
- annually recurring license/maintenance renewal payments for software obtained via a competitive process (and in accordance with section V.B.9 of this APL),
- annually recurring maintenance renewal payments for equipment which was previously purchased within the guidelines of this APL,
- Purchasing Card transactions in accordance with APL VII-C, Purchasing Cards, and individual campus guidelines.
For questions about procurements not specifically addressed in this APL, or for questions regarding the use of MaineStreet Marketplace in accordance with this APL please contact a Procurement Services team member.
V. Competitive Procurement Process
In the competitive procurement process, the award will be made to the vendor with the lowest cost responsible and responsive quotation, bid or proposal unless, in the judgment of the authorized purchasing agent, the best interests of the University would not be served by such an award. Whenever practicable and in the best interest of the University, purchases will be grouped together to take advantage of quantity discounts.
A. Purchasing Thresholds
Except as otherwise provided in this APL, purchases of services, supplies, materials and equipment, will be based on the following practices:
- Less than $10,000: Competitive procurement is always available. Purchases with a total cost of less than $10,000 may be purchased based on verbal quotes, other competitive procedures or without competitive bidding.
- $10,000 or greater, but less than $50,000: Purchases with a total cost equal to or greater than $10,000 but less than $50,000 shall require solicitation of at least 3 written quotations. These written quotations must be attached to the purchase requisition using the Vendor Quote form in MaineStreet Marketplace to properly document the competitive process.
Purchases under $50,000 shall be made under the formal competitive process when deemed appropriate by the authorized purchasing agent, templates for a formal competitive process may be found in the forms section of the Office of Strategic Procurement website.
For Best Value procurements, a narrative describing the selection process must be attached.
- Equal to or greater than $50,000: Purchases with total costs greater than or equal to $50,000 will be made in accordance with the formal competitive process, refer to Section B below.
The University of Maine System (UMS) Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services has the administrative responsibility for the procurement process of all purchases of $50,000 or more for all universities and the System office. When appropriate and with prior authorization of the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services, universities may conduct a procurement process over $50,000, however all other responsibilities under this APL still apply.
- Splitting orders: Orders should not be split to avoid the thresholds. Splitting orders is defined as making more than one transaction (through any purchasing mechanism) to the same vendor for the same or similar goods or services (or for the same project), when, if combined, a different competitive process would be required.
- Standing orders: Thresholds for a standing order shall be determined based on the dollar amount of purchases expected to be made against the order in one fiscal year or for the period of the order, whichever is less.
- Multi-year contracts (goods or services): Thresholds for equipment and vehicle leases and multi-year contracts of all kinds shall be determined based on the total of the payments to be made over the term of the contract, including any optional renewal periods.
Additionally, the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services (or designee) will provide advisory and consultative services to the universities in such areas as product evaluations, product/service specifications, price comparisons, user/vendor mediation, and training in appropriate UMS procurement procedures.
B. Conflict of Interest
All University employees are to adhere to the University of Maine System’s Conflict of Interest policy located in Section 410 of the Policy Manual approved by the Board of Trustees.
- Individuals purchasing goods and services on behalf of the UMS must conduct business in a professional manner, and all qualified vendors must be given an equal opportunity to compete for UMS business.
- Purchasing decisions should be made with integrity and objectivity, free from any personal bias or benefit. In addition, employees of UMS Procurement as well as those faculty and staff purchasing goods and services, shall conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Ethics established by the National Association of Education Procurement.
- Employees must not only avoid conflicts of interest; they must also avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. It is the responsibility of all employees to work to maintain the good name of the UMS, to develop and maintain good relations between the UMS and its vendors, and to keep in mind that personal contacts form much of the basis for the opinion of the UMS by its vendors.
- Any business or individual doing business with the UMS must disclose any perceived or known conflict of interest to appropriate University personnel for review.
- Employees found to be in violation of the Conflict of Interest policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
C. Formal Competitive Process
For definitions of terms used in this section, please see Section I of this APL
The type of solicitation (e.g., RFB, RFP, RFQ, RFI) used in a formal competitive process may vary based on the type of product or service being procured. However, the following protocols do not vary and will be followed for any formal competitive process:
All formal competitive solicitations for goods and services of an amount greater than or equal to $50,000 must be publicly advertised for at least one day in a mass circulation daily Maine newspaper and will be posted to the UMS Office of Strategic Procurement public website unless a modified process is deemed appropriate by the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services.
2. Required language for solicitations:
All formal competitive solicitations (e.g., RFP, RFB, RFQ, RFI) must contain the following statements:
a. “Communication with University.
It is the responsibility of the Respondent to inquire about any requirement of this document that is not understood. Responses to inquiries, if they change or clarify the document in a substantial manner, will be forwarded by addenda to all parties that have received a copy of the document. Addenda will also be posted on our web site, www.maine.edu/strategic/upcoming_bids.php.
It is the responsibility of all Respondents to check the web site before submitting a response to ensure that they have all pertinent documents. The University will not be bound by oral responses to inquiries or written responses other than addenda.”
The University must adhere to the provisions of the Maine Freedom of Access Act (FOAA), 1 MRSA §401 et seq. As a condition of submitting a response under this section, a respondent must accept that, to the extent required by the Maine FOAA, responses to this solicitation, and any ensuing contractual documents, are considered public records and therefore are subject to freedom of access requests.
The information contained in responses submitted for the University’s consideration will be held in confidence until all evaluations are concluded and a Respondent selected (the successful Respondent). At that time the University will issue award notice letters to all participating Respondents and all Respondents’ responses may be made available to participating Respondents upon request. Such request must be made by submitting a written request to the individual noted in the Response Contact Information shown on the cover sheet of this document, with a copy of the request provided to the other Respondents. Such requests are public records.
After the protest period has passed and the Agreement is fully executed, responses will be available for public inspection upon request.
Pricing and other information that is an integral part of the offer cannot be considered confidential after an award has been made. The University will honor requests for confidentiality for information that meets the definition of “trade secret” under Maine law. Clearly mark any portion of your submitted materials which are entitled to “trade secret” exemption from disclosure under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act. Failure to so identify as trade secret will authorize the University to conclude that no portions are so exempt; and that your entity will defend, indemnify and hold harmless the University in any and all legal actions that seek to compel the University to disclose under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act some or all of your submitted materials and/or contract, if any, executed between the University and your entity.”
The University reserves the right to waive minor irregularities, which may include contacting the Respondent to resolve the irregularity. Scholarships, donations, or gifts to the University, will not be considered in the evaluation of responses. The University reserves the right to reject any or all responses, in whole or in part, and is not necessarily bound to accept the lowest cost response if that response is contrary to the best interests of the University. The University may cancel this request or reject any or all responses in whole or in part. Should the University determine in its sole discretion that only one Respondent is fully qualified, or that one Respondent is clearly more qualified than any other under consideration, an Agreement may be awarded to that Respondent without further action.”
The University reserves the right to negotiate with the successful Respondent to finalize a contract. Such negotiations may not significantly vary the content, nature or requirements of the proposal or the University’s Request for Proposals to an extent that may affect the price of goods or services requested. The University reserves the right to terminate contract negotiations with a selected respondent who submits a proposed contract significantly different from the response they submitted in response to the advertised RFP. In the event that an acceptable contract cannot be negotiated with the highest ranked Respondent, the University may withdraw its award and negotiate with the next-highest ranked Respondent, and so on, until an acceptable contract has been finalized. Alternatively, the University may cancel the RFP, at its sole discretion.”
e. “Award Protest.
Respondents may appeal the award decision by submitting a written protest to the University of Maine System’s Chief Facilities and General Service Officer within five (5) business days of the date of the award notice, with a copy of the protest to the successful Respondent. The protest must contain a statement of the basis for the challenge. Further information regarding the appeal process can be found at http://staticweb.maine.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/APL_VII-A_20150630-FINAL.pdf?565a1d
If this RFP results in the creation of a pre-qualified or pre-approved list of vendors, then the appeal procedures mentioned above are available upon the original determination of that vendor list, but not during subsequent competitive procedures involving only the pre-qualified or pre-approved list participants.”
Any contract or agreement for services that will, or may, result in the expenditure by the University of $50,000 or more must be approved in writing by the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services and it is not approved, valid or effective until such written approval is granted.
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration approval is required of any University of Maine System agreement of $50,000 or more, and it is not approved, valid or effective until such written approval is granted.
Chief Business Officer approval is required of any campus specific agreement of $50,000 or more, and it is not approved, valid or effective until such written approval is granted.”
g. “Non-Responsive Submission.
The University will not consider non-responsive submissions, i.e., those with material deficiencies, omissions, errors or inconsistencies or that otherwise do not follow instructions. The University in its sole discretion will determine what is Non-Responsive.”
h. “Costs of Preparation.
Respondent assumes all costs of preparation of the response and any presentations necessary to the response process.”
i. “Contract Administration and Conditions“
j. “Tie Bids.
When two equal bids are received, there shall be a preference for “in-state bidders”. When tie bids are both in-state, or both out-of-state, the award will be made to the bid that arrives first which will be determined by reviewing the electronic submission date and time stamp.”
3. Communication Between Parties
a. Requests for Bids (RFB):
Once formal competitive bids have been -received electronically, “negotiations” between the University and bidders, as to price for the goods or services specified, are prohibited. Communications between the University and bidders shall be limited to demonstrations or to clarifications of submissions and coordinated only by the authorized University purchasing agent.
b. Request for Proposals (RFP):
Once formal competitive proposals have been -received electronically, “negotiations” between the University and proposers may take place but shall not significantly alter the original proposal. If negotiations lead to a contract that is outside the original scope of the RFP, all vendors should be given an opportunity to respond to the revised scope, under normal circumstances and coordinated only by the authorized University purchasing agent.
c. Request for Qualifications (RFQ):
Once letters of qualification and related materials have been received electronically, negotiations between the University and submitters may take place, but shall not include services beyond the scope outlined in the RFQ. If negotiations lead to a contract that is outside the original scope of the RFQ, all vendors should be given an opportunity to respond to the revised scope, under normal circumstances and coordinated only by the authorized University purchasing agent.
4. Protests of the Competitive Procurement Process
a. Protests of Procurement Awards equal to or greater than $50,000
i. Notice of Award: Once an award decision has been made, notice of the award will be made promptly to all bidders or proposers. Pursuant to 1 M.R.S.A. 402(3)(E), until the protest period has passed and the Agreement is fully executed, the bids are records and working papers used by or prepared for an administrative committee of the University of Maine System, and are not public records.
ii. Protest of Award.
- A bidder or proposer may submit a protest in writing to the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services within 5 business days of the date of the notice of award with a copy to the bidder or proposer that was awarded the contract.
- The protest must contain a brief statement of the basis for the challenge.
- The Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services may stay the award until the protest has been resolved, unless continuation of the procurement without delay is necessary to protect substantial interests of the University.
5. Authority to Resolve Protest
a. The Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services will base his or her decision on a review of the facts. There will be no hearing, no testimony, and no additional information unless the Director deems that additional information is necessary to resolve the appeal.
b. The Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services will communicate his or her decision to the protesting bidder or proposer, the affected University and the bidder or proposer originally awarded the contract.
c. If a protest is not resolved to the satisfaction of the protesting bidder or proposer, he or she may file an appeal with the Chief Facilities and General Service Officer within ten business days of the date of the written decision of the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services will with a copy to the bidder or proposer originally awarded the contract. The determination of the Chief Facilities and General Service Officer is final and will be given in writing and submitted to the protesting bidder or proposer, affected University and the bidder or proposer originally awarded the contract.
d. Protests of Procurement Awards under $50,000 If a timely protest is made concerning any purchase under $50,000 the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services will promptly review the protest and communicate his/her decision to the protesting vendor and the affected University. The Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services decision is final. The Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services will document the protest and the decision.
VI. Waivers and Special Conditions
- The competitive procurement process may be waived for purchases below $50,000 in accordance with this policy and with Strategic Procurement approval. For all purchases approval may be obtained via MaineStreet Marketplace purchase requisition electronic approval.
- For purchases equal to or greater than $50,000, approval may be obtained via MaineStreet Marketplace purchase requisition electronic approval by the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services, or designee. To request the waiver, record factual information supporting the waiver request with specific reference to the type of waiver using the internal notes section of the requisition in MaineStreet Marketplace.
- Waivers may be granted for the following:
a. UMS Contracts. Purchases from UMS approved contracts that were established as a result of a competitive process administered by UMS or which are available under the auspices of another UMS-approved cooperative procurement group.
b. Cooperative Purchases. Cooperative purchases with the State, a state agency, or another governmental entity where it is possible for the University to purchase from an established competitively bid contract.
c. Goods and/or services specifically named in grant awards. When these goods and/or services are available from multiple sources the competitive procurement standard applies unless the grant requires, was contingent upon, or was otherwise awarded with the explicit expectation that a specific good or service would be procured to carry out the award.
d. Cooperative Projects. Contracts or agreements for cooperative projects pursuant to Maine Revised Statutes Annotated: 5 M.R.S.A. §1825-B.
e. Library Books, Periodicals. Purchase of materials for addition to a library collection including costs of books, catalogs, periodicals, audiovisual and electronic media, and other publications. Each campus is responsible for developing purchasing policies and procedures for the library collections. Appropriate documentation shall be maintained on these purchases.
f. Purchase for Resale. Textbooks, course related materials, food, beverages and other items purchased for resale. Appropriate documentation shall be maintained on these purchases.
g. Honoraria. One-time payments or awards to a non-employee without the usual employment or consultant requisites or obligations, e.g., guest speakers
h. Investment Related Services. Manager, custodian, transition, or other investment services. These services will be obtained and terminated using a search or other due diligence process working with the competitively procured UMS investment consultant and/or the Board of Trustees Investment Committee.
i. Emergency Purchases. These may be made only to meet bona fide emergencies arising from unforeseeable causes. Emergency purchases should be made on the basis of competitive procurement and approved in advance whenever practicable. Appropriate documentation shall be maintained on the justification for any emergency purchase. An emergency procurement documentation form may be obtained in the forms section of the Office of Strategic Procurement website.
Emergency purchases less than $50,000 may only be approved in accordance with the written campus policy. Emergency purchases greater than or equal to $50,000 may only be approved in writing by the Chief Business Officer (or designee) of the affected campus and the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services or other party authorized by the Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance pursuant to APL IV C, Signature Authority.
j. Sole Source Purchases. Sole source purchases are made when goods or services, because of unique characteristics or other reasons, are available from only one source. In cases where an alternate supplier for a similar product or service cannot be identified, the requestor must document that a good faith effort has been made in seeking other sources. A listing of the unique technical specifications required of the product and the companies that were contacted in the search for alternate sources is necessary.
Sole source justification cannot be based on quality, price, mere preference or urgency created by inadequate planning or untimely action by the requestor, such as the imminent expiration of a contract that could have been foreseen.
All sole source justifications are subject to public review and must contain clear, in-depth and accurate information. The authorization and justification for these purchases shall be documented on a sole source form. The sole source form may be obtained in the forms section of the Office of Strategic Procurement website.
Sole Source purchases less than $50,000 may only be approved in accordance with the written campus policy. Sole Source purchases greater than or equal to $50,000 may only be approved in writing by the Chief Business Officer (or designee) of the affected campus and the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement & Services or other party authorized by the Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance pursuant to APL IV C, Signature Authority.
B. Special Conditions
- Retention of documentation. Records documenting purchases and the competitive process must be kept in accordance with APL IV-D, Record Retention Practices.
- Employees. Payments to employees for services rendered are paid through the payroll system regardless of the service being performed. In unusual circumstances it may be appropriate to engage an employee as an independent contractor. Payment to an employee as an independent contractor requires approval of the System Office of Human Resources.
- This APL is not applicable to new construction, modification or repair of a University owned building, utility land improvement or related such items that are to be procured according to the competitive procedures provided in pertinent APLs. (see APL II-H, Procedures for Obtaining Design and Contracting Services for Capital Construction Projects).
- Capital Construction Projects. This APL is not applicable to architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering services or related such items that are to be procured according to the competitive procedures provided in pertinent APLs. (see APL II-H, Procedures for Obtaining Design and Contracting Services for Capital Construction Projects).
- Leases. All leases, regardless of whether they are leases to purchase the item or operating leases, are subject to the same thresholds as other purchases as described in Section V.B of this APL based on the total value of the payments to be made over the term of the lease. Signature authority and the need for review by University Counsel is addressed in APL IV-C, Signature Authority.
Real Estate leases must be made in accordance with APL II-G, Acquisition of Real Property Through Purchase, Gift, Lease, or License and Section 801 of the Policy and Procedures Manual of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.
- Hazardous Material Products. All solicitations for the purchase of chemicals or compounds which may contain toxic or hazardous substances, e.g., cleaning supplies and chemicals of all types, shall require the vendor to certify and warrant that the items or products to be delivered shall be properly labeled as required by federal and state law and that by delivery of the items or products the vendor does not violate any of the prohibitions of federal and state law. Whenever toxic or hazardous chemicals are purchased, the vendor shall provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to the University. The System Office of Facilities shall be consulted for the latest information about legal requirements.
- On-site Labor. If there will be significant on-site labor as a component of a project over $50,000, there are additional legal requirements under the labor laws of the State of Maine concerning the minimum wages that must be paid to each category of laborers, workers and mechanics used in the performance of the contract. The System Office of Facilities should be consulted for information about these requirements.
- Insurance Certificates. For all purchases or projects where a vendor or contractor is on University property for services beyond delivery, or other circumstances exist that may put the University at risk, insurance certificates must be obtained prior to the work. The University System Risk Manager can supply the requirements.
- Property and Liability Insurance. Procurement of any property or liability insurance must be coordinated through the University System Risk Manager.
- Legal Services. Contracts for legal services must be coordinated through the Office of University Counsel per Board of Trustees Policy, Section 210, Legal Affairs. Legal services involving tax or financial matters must also receive approval of the System finance office.
- Audit Services. As further discussed in APL III-E, Internal Audit Services, the engagement of audit services requires the approval of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and Treasurer. Regarding the UMS independent public accountant, the Audit Committee of the Board or Trustees, is responsible for recommending to the Board all initial appointments.
- Financial Matters. Contracts involving investment related services, banking, tax, and accounting matters must be coordinated through or approved by the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.
- Use of Bond Financed Facility: Management services, or other contracts, involving activities to be carried out in a bond financed facility must be screened for potential private business use in accordance with APL III-I Tax Exempt Debt Compliance.
- Credit/Debit Card Services: In accordance with APL IV-F, Credit/Debit Card Standards, contracts for new e-commerce or software-based credit card solutions will require review by the Vice President of Finance and Controller, Chief Information Officer and the Chief Information Security Officer to determine compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.
- Computer Software and Services. In order to ensure all volume-based System-wide purchasing opportunities have been considered and to review any associated licensing agreements for appropriate terms and the reduction of risk, purchases of computer software and/or services of $25,000 or more must be reviewed by the UMS Chief Information Officer and Office of Strategic Procurement.
- Food and Beverage Vending Facilities: Pursuant to Title 26 M.R.S.A. §1418-G, it shall be the policy of the University to ensure that blind persons are given preference in the establishment and the operation of vending facilities on the property under its jurisdiction. “Preference” as used in this context means that, when the University engages in a competitive procurement process to choose a vendor for the establishment and the operation of food and beverage vending facilities on the property under its jurisdiction, and that process results in two or more vendors being evaluated identically, the University shall rank the blind or visually impaired vendor ahead of the other vendor(s) which have identical evaluations.
VII. Additional Considerations for Services Contracting
All provisions outlined in sections III, IV, and V of this APL apply when securing service contracts. Competitive bidding thresholds apply and purchase orders must be created.
When contracting for services, the University must retain a sufficient element of control over the level and context of work performed to insure that it receives adequate value. An agreement or contract is necessary to assure that:
- the University is obtaining the services of the best alternative,
- the scope of work is clearly defined,
- responsibilities and expectations are clearly defined,
- the University receives what it contracted for,
- the cost of services and expenses are clearly stated,
- the contractor is only paid for services rendered,
- there is no actual or apparent wrong-doing or conflict of interest,
- employee vs. independent contractor status is clear,
- adequate records are maintained to withstand the scrutiny of an audit.
Arrangements to contract for services should only occur when a determination has been made that the services cannot be performed economically or satisfactorily by existing University staff during the course of their normal University responsibilities or duties.
Services may be provided by companies or individuals. Contracts with individuals (as defined by IRS guidelines) will be made in accordance with APL VII-H, Guidelines for Determining Employees or Independent Contractor Relationships.
IMPORTANT: The IRS has strict guidelines when doing business with non-resident aliens (foreign entities) when the service is being performed on US soil. Before securing contracts with foreign entities, contact your campus’ Purchasing/Business Services department to ensure appropriate protocol is followed.
A. Contract Services Form
Fill out the standard Contract for Services, including;
a. Rider A (Statement of Work),
b. Rider B (Insurance Requirements).
c. Rider C (Standards for Safeguarding Information) whenever a service provider will have access to, or be provided with, Compliant Data or Business Sensitive Information, which the University requires to be safeguarded. Consult University Counsel if you are uncertain whether Rider C is applicable.
- Compliant Data is defined as data that the University needs to protect in accordance with statute, contract, law, or agreement. Examples include the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Maine Data Act, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).
- Business Sensitive Information is defined as data which is not subject to statutory or contractual obligations, but where compromise or exposure of the information could result in damage or loss to the University.
Standard Services Contract Documents are available on the Office of Strategic Procurement website, You may elicit the assistance of University Counsel or the Office of Strategic Procurement for wording specific to your contract. When completing the contract include.
B. Modifications to Standard Language in the Master Agreement or Contracts for Services
Based on the nature or scope of the contract, the offices of Strategic Procurement, University Counsel, and/or Information Security may need to be consulted to include wording tailored to the services engagement. Examples of services engagements requiring special contract terms include contracts:
a. For information systems development work.
b. That involves large-scale interactions with University Compliant Data or Business Sensitive Information.
c. That involves data requiring special protections such as classified national security information or export control data (data that is legally restricted from export outside the United States).
d. That includes storage, transmission, or processing of personal health information subject to HIPAA that requires a special Business Associate Agreement (Note that the terms of the Business Associate Agreement vary based on the services provided. Consult with University Counsel for appropriate terms), e. Where the Contractor proposes its own Terms and Conditions.
C. Signature Approval for Contracts
Once a Services Contract is completed (including proof of insurance) with signatures, (the contract signatory for the University should be that of a person authorized by APL IV-C, Signature Authority, to sign such documents), and prior to any services being performed, a Purchase Order must be approved and created via MaineStreet Marketplace. Submit a requisition in MaineStreet Marketplace (using the Personal and Professional Services form) and attach a scanned copy of the contract to the requisition. The PO should be sent to the Contractor and the Purchase Order number referenced on Contractor invoices.
(Additional procedures may be required for your campus. Contact your campus Purchasing/Business Services office for instructions).
D. Additional Signature Approval for Contracts Equal to or Greater than $50,000
In addition to the steps outlined in Section 3 above, signature of The University of Maine System (UMS) Executive Director of Strategic Procurement and Services, or designee, is required before services are rendered for contracts equal to, or greater than, $50,000. Any contract or agreement for services that will, or may, result in the expenditure by the University of $50,000 or more must be approved in writing by the Executive Director of Strategic Procurement and Services, or designee, and it is not approved, valid or effective until such written approval is granted.
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration approval is required of any University of Maine System agreement of $50,000 or more, and it is not approved, valid or effective until such written approval is granted.
Chief Business Officer approval is required of any campus specific agreement of $50,000 or more, and it is not approved, valid or effective until such written approval is granted.
Contracts secured per APL Section II-H, Procedures for Obtaining Design and Contracting Services for Capital Construction Projects are not subject to this provision.
E. Micellaneous Services Contracting Notes
a. Contractor expenses (including travel and other expenses) may be addressed in two ways when completing the Contract for Services:
- Contracts may be negotiated that include the contractor’s expenses within the compensation for services. This shifts the burden of tracking expenses to the contractor and is the simplest approach to contractor expenses.
- Contracts may be negotiated that include the provision for reimbursement of contractor expenses up to a certain dollar amount. The contract should be written to require that expenses be approved by the University and that expenses will be submitted and reimbursed consistent with University travel and expense policy, APL IV-B, Travel and Expense Procedures. This helps to ensure that contractor expenses are kept to a minimum and are well documented.
b. Contracts funded fully or in part by federal or state agencies shall meet all applicable standards and shall contain all necessary clauses required by federal or state statues, rules and regulations. The burden of complying with the requirements of the funding source rests with the Principal Investigator.
c. If the total cost of the contract for services will be less than $10,000, a contract still needs to be written and must contain the Standards for Safeguarding Information attachment, if applicable. Although contracts for services with a total cost of less than $10,000 do not require a competitive process, it is highly recommended that the process described in this section of this APL be completed whenever multiple service providers can be identified. The process outlined in Section 3 above still applies.
d. The party with whom the University wishes to contract may have a contract they prefer to use over the one provided herein. Attachment C, Standards for Safeguarding Information, must be used in conjunction with any alternate contract that involves Compliant Data or Business Sensitive Information, which the University requires to be safeguarded. Any alternate contracts must be reviewed and approved by University Counsel.
e. For previously issued contracts that did not, but should, contain Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information language, Attachment C, Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information, should be issued.
f. Any changes to a signed contract should be in writing and signed by all parties. If the change affects the dollar amount of the contract, a PO Change Order in MaineStreet Marketplace should be issued as well.
APL Section I: Accounting
APL Section II: Facilities
APL Section II-B Motor Vehicle Administration and Guidelines
APL Section II-F Sale or Lease of Real Property to Third Parties
APL Section II-G Acquisition of Real Property Through Purchase, Gift, Lease, or License
APL Section II-H Procedures for Obtaining Design and Contracting Services for Capital Construction Projects
APL Section III – Finance
APL Section IV: General Administration
APL Section VI: Information Technology
APL Section VII: Procurement
APL Section VII-B Procurement Standards of Conduct
APL Section VII-C Purchasing Cards
APL Section VII-D Cellular Telephone Acquisition and Use
APL Section VII-H Determining Employee Versus Independent Contractor Status
Section 206 Board of Trustees Ethics Code and Conflict of Interest
Section 207 Signatory Authorities
Section 210 Legal Affairs
Section 410 Employee Conflict of Interest
Section 801 Acquisition of Real Property