The Way We Work...
A Guide to Accepted Business Practices at Gettysburg College
Overview of Environment
At Gettysburg College the acquisition of required goods and services is made by departments to which institutional funds are allocated under the terms and conditions described within this guide. Each department complies with the policies and procedures developed by the College which protect the College against legal liability, provide for receipt of goods and services in a timely and organized manner, supply accepted standards of quality and service, properly hold vendors accountable for their goods and services, and include essential accountability of institutional expenditures.
Section I - Authorization and Approval Guidelines
1. To define which individuals may obligate the College to an indebtedness for any goods or services.
B. General Purchase Authorization
1. Acquisitions of goods and services must be approved in writing by an authorized employee, as follows:
<=$15,000 - Department Director may delegate
<=$75,000 - Department Director
> $75,000 - Divisional Vice President and either the President or Vice President for Finance and Administration
2. All agents of the College are responsible for compliance with the College's procurement guidelines as described herein.
3. Authorized employees, as defined above, are the stewards of departmental funds and are required to monitor departmental spending and review available budget reporting. The Department Director is responsible for all aspects of departmental budget management.
4. Departmental procurement authorization is reviewed annually. This process is initiated by Financial Services generally prior to the start of each new academic year.
5. College purchasing cardholders are authorized to obligate the College to the extent of their single transaction limit.
6. Total of multi-year contracts should be used to determine level of purchase authorization necessary for execution.
7. Reimbursement or travel advance requests should be authorized by an individual other that the payee.
C. Unauthorized Purchases
1. Commitments made in excess of General Purchase Authorization levels or not previously approved by the President or the Vice President are considered unauthorized and the individual may encounter a personal obligation to the supplier or provider.
Section II - Purchasing and Contracting Guidelines
1. To define the means by which the College purchases goods and contracts for services and makes payment as agreed.
2. To ensure that the College procures its requirements under the most advantageous terms.
B. General Guideline Statement
The authority to enter into any purchase or service agreement is vested with certain employees defined in Section I who act as authorized agents of the College. Agents must determine the most appropriate procurement tool that adheres to College guidelines for the planned acquisition ensuring appropriate procurement or payment procedures are not avoided or bypassed by use of the College's purchasing card.
1. Departments may make decisions concerning product and vendor selection and engage directly with a vendor to meet their requirements, with due consideration given for the business practices below:
a) Competitive bidding is strongly recommended for acquisitions expected to exceed $5,000 to maximize the value of each dollar spent unless sole source is justified. Comparative pricing is recommended for acquisitions less than $5,000.
b) Specialty business units of the College are preferred providers of certain services for all departments, and should be contacted when needed for:
1) Transportation services
2) Catering services
3) Mail services
4) Printing services
5) Telecommunications services
c) Other specialty business units of the College perform the purchasing function for all departments.
1) Information Technology has sole responsibility for the acquisition of all technology purchases that require IT installation, support, or connectivity to the campus network.
2) Facilities Services has sole responsibility for the acquisition of all services and materials for all of the College's buildings and grounds.
3) Transportation Services has sole responsibility for the acquisition of all College vehicles.
4) Media Services has sole responsibility for the acquisition and use of media equipment of any kind.
5) Printing Services has sole responsibility for the acquisition and use of copier equipment and copy and printer paper.
6) Human Resources has sole responsibility for contracting for temporary employment services.
Departments should seek internal support for meeting these requirements.
d) Departments should utilize existing institutional vendor relationships to obtain their goods and services whenever possible.
D. College Purchase Order
1. While not widely used within our campus environment, a purchase order is the recognized, business-to-business, standard instrument used to procure tangible goods. It defines the agreement between the buyer and the seller. Once accepted by both parties, it is a binding contract. It commits buyers to accept and pay for the described goods and the supplier to deliver them as ordered.
2. The terms and conditions appearing on the College Purchase Order form are beneficial to and protective of the College. For this reason, the College Purchase Order is a useful procurement tool and should be issued under certain circumstances:
When to Use
- When no other written contract/agreement exists
- When required by vendor
- To facilitate departmental ordering processes and/or recordkeeping
The College Purchase Order template/form is available herein and may be issued and maintained by departments in accordance with the instructions also provided herein. The College Purchase Order must be signed by an authorized employee in accordance with Section 1.
1. Most of the many, independent, business transactions of the College are contractual in nature, whether written or not. A contract is an agreement between parties having four essential components:
- An offer and an acceptance
- Mutual obligation
- Competency of parties
- Legality of purpose
2. It is efficient for the College to offer our forms of agreement to other parties as these forms have been pre-approved by the College's legal counsel. The department obligating the College is responsible for determining the suitability of the governing instrument and/or obtaining required authorization.
3. The College is able to reduce the complexity of our transactions by standardizing certain common forms of agreement for departmental use. These templates are described and accessible from the table below. Please bear in mind that these standard forms may not meet all business transaction requirements. Departments should prepare their proposed modifications to a standard agreement template. The Procurement Office will provide guidance.
Description of Services
Type of Agreement
A very basic agreement providing a format for written documentation of an oral agreement and payment information. This document is intended for use with independent contractors coming to campus for a variety of reasons, but whose presence presents little or no risk. Examples: speakers, facilitators, DJs
An agreement for tangible services that remain on campus upon completion.
An agreement for services provided by certified professionals.
4. Departments should consider the relationship of a potential contractor to the College and ascertain that individuals engaged to provide services are independent contractors, and are not engaged in such a manner to suggest that they could be determined to be employees of the College. The Employment Status Checklist provides criteria which may assist in making this determination. The Payroll Office will provide guidance.
5. Certificates of Insurance are important addenda to contracts for work to be performed which creates special risk to the College. For example, Certificates of Insurance would be required for the services of software programmers and pyrotechnicians. The contractor's insurance carrier extends specific coverage to the College for the duration of the contract. Certificates of Workers Compensation Insurance may also be required. The Risk Management Office will provide guidance. Please refer to the Information Directory below to contact the most appropriate individual for contract related concerns.
For Business Practice Questions Regarding:
Email and Phone Ext.
Certificates of Insurance
Mary Ann Remaley
Issuance of Checks, Travel Advances
Employment Status (Independent Contractor vs. Employee)
Preferred Providers, Vendors, College Purchase Orders, Contracting, Purchasing Card
6. The College is presented with many contracts for execution which have been prepared by the provider of the service. Each is service and/or product specific and, therefore, it is not efficient for the College to standardize contractual language. However, it is important that the types of contracts listed below are first reviewed by departments to ensure that they either include or exclude certain provisions, as the case may be. Checklists of important terms and conditions are provided.
Standard Terms & Conditions
Service or maintenance contracts for the upkeep of equipment
Agreements which grant the College the right to use copyrighted materials
Hospitality contracts for the College's use of premises
F. Receiving and Storage
1. The College's receiving services are performed in the Central Energy Plant or the campus post office. Receiving hours are 8:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.
2. Orders for tangible goods (except contracted desktop delivery) should include instructions to ship to the College's business address at 300 North Washington Street. Facilities Services or Mail Services will ensure you receive your goods.
3. Furnishings, equipment, etc. removed from departments upon request become general surplus property of the College and will not be held in reserve for a department unless so marked upon removal.
5. Boxed records removed from departments upon request and moved to local storage areas (basements) or remote storage (Knouse Building) must be labeled for content and also with the date they may be destroyed or otherwise stored in accordance with the College's Archive Policy.
G. Methods of Payment
1. College checks, the College's Purchasing Card, and electronic transfer of funds generated by the Office of Financial Services are the only means of releasing an obligation of the College.
2. Issuance of a College Purchase Order or execution of an Agreement will not generate a payment within the College's financial management system and therefore, does not complete the transaction cycle of an acquisition. The cycle closes when a department submits a request for payment to the Accounts Payable Office and payment follows in due course.
H. Sales Tax Exemption
Gettysburg College is generally tax-exempt from Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax for purchases made in accordance with the College's 501(c)(3) status. The College also holds tax exemption certificates for the District of Columbia, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Maryland. Information regarding sales tax exemptions along with copies of the state specific exemption forms can be obtained from the Accounts Payable website.
1. To establish uniform standards of expense for all members of the College community regardless of the source of funds.
2. To ensure that all members of the College community, traveling on College related business, are reimbursed appropriately for all allowable business expenses and are not unduly enriched or suffer personal financial losses as a result of such expenses.
B. General Guidelines Statement
1. When properly authorized and documented, the College will pay all reasonable travel expenses related to the performance of College business considering the business purpose, safety, comfort, and convenience of the individual/s. All such expenses are in accordance with IRS regulations regarding Accountable Plans. Discretionary spending accounts are not provided.
C. Approval Requirements and Special Considerations
1. Approval for travel, entertainment, and related activities should conform to College guidelines regarding levels of authority.
2. The College does not provide funding for the travel and/or entertainment expenses of a spouse, a dependent, or another who accompanies a College employee on business related travel except when specifically provided by employee contract or in relation to an off campus program assignment. Such payments must be approved by the Provost or Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Risk Management. Payments of this nature are generally considered taxable compensation to the employee.
3. The College does not support the business use of an employee's personal residence with any form of payment.
4. The College may provide housing for specific duties as a condition of employment and for the convenience of the College. Under these circumstances, housing is provided for an employee in order that he/she to be able to properly perform official roles and required duties. The value of College housing meeting these conditions is not taxable compensation to the employee. The requirement for College provided housing for an employee must be recommended by the appropriate divisional Vice President and approved by the President. A Housing Agreement, created in accordance with Internal Revenue Code, Section 119 criteria, will specify services the College, as landlord, will provide to the employee, as tenant. Such services are limited to the general maintenance of the property consistent with the general maintenance of all College owned properties.
D. Travel Arrangements and Payment Options
1. College employees with budget authority are able to affect travel plans directly with service providers. The College does not have a central travel service at this time.
2. The least costly means of travel and lodging that meet the requirements of the trip should be reserved.
3. Employees traveling on grants are responsible for adhering to all terms of the grant relating to expenses.
3. Allowable travel expenses for an individual/s that is/are NOT employees or students of Gettysburg College may NOT be prepaid, advanced, or directly billed to the College unless they are 100% refundable. Otherwise, these expenses are reimbursable, in arrears by submitting a Check Request/Reimbursement Form.
4. Travel advances will only be issued to employees who either do not have a College Purchasing Card or who will be traveling out of town for an extended period of time with travel plans including patronizing places that do not accept the College's Purchasing Card as a form of payment. A Travel Advance Request is required to obtain an advance of travel funds. Please note that IRS regulations require that the travel advances be fully accounted for within 30 days. In those instances where the accounting for travel is not in compliance with IRS regulations, the College is required to treat the advanced amount as a personal expense reimbursable via payroll deduction or taxable income to the employee included on the employee's W-2.
E. Ground Transportation
1. Gettysburg College Transportation Services
a) Provider of transportation for employees and guests of the College to facilitate College related travel to and from area centers of transportation such as airports, and rail, bus, and subway stations.
b) Preferred provider of vehicles and/or drivers for students and employees to satisfy the logistics of regional, College related travel requirements.
c) Students or employees may request and drive a College provided vehicle for regional College related travel. ONLY the requesting and registered student or employee may operate the vehicle.
d) All transportation services, except scheduled shuttles, should be authorized by a department head.
2. Privately Owned Vehicle
a) Use of a privately owned vehicle is discouraged for insurance considerations, particularly when the driver is transporting other passengers on College related business. The College's insurance does not provide coverage to its students or employees while traveling in a private vehicle. In the event of an accident or loss involving the privately owned vehicle on College business, the coverages on such vehicle prevail and may not provide adequate protection.
b) When a privately owned vehicle is used for local or regional travel, mileage reimbursement at the College's current IRS rate per mile is allowed. Current rates are maintained on the Accounts Payable webpage.
c) College purchasing cards or College gasoline cards should not be used to fuel a privately owned vehicle.
3. Automobile Rentals
a) Rentals should be limited to situations where other means of transportation are unavailable, more costly, or impractical. The use of a rental must be justified as a business need and not as a matter of personal convenience. It is expected that all employees read, understand, and abide by the rental agreement terms.
b) Gettysburg College and the name of the employee should appear on the rental agreement and Loss Damage Coverage, and/or Personal Accident Insurance, and/or Additional Liability Insurance should be declined. The College will not pay for these excess coverages as it maintains comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance on all vehicles rented or leased in its name.
c) Rented vehicles may be driven only by the employee signing the rental agreement.
F. Commercial Air Travel
1. Standard air travel accommodations with the least costly fare that realistically meets scheduling needs are required unless exceptional circumstances exist.
2. The College will not pay any of the costs, including incremental fare increases, of a traveler's participation in frequent flyer programs.
1. Standard business lodging accommodations at mid-market establishments are required unless unusual circumstances exist. Regional price variances are acknowledged.
2. The guest folio bill with evidence of payment is required as the supporting documentation for lodging expense.
3. Reservations for lodging within a 100-mile radius of the College should be pre-approved by a Department Chair/Director.
4. All reserved rooms should be guaranteed for late arrival. Employees should be mindful of cancellation policies.
1. Personal meal expense, those incurred by an employee when traveling out of the local area on College business, and business meal expense, those incurred by an employee for meals taken with a colleague, student, prospect, etc., during which a business discussion takes place may be paid for with a College purchasing card or is reimbursable at actual cost. All meal expenses must be reasonable. Regional price variances are acknowledged.
2. Per diem meal allowances are permissible for student groups only. Amounts are determined by the program budget but are not to exceed IRS guidelines. Funds are available in advance of an event or trip.
3. All meal expenses must be supported by original receipts and a business purpose notation provided.
I. Non-Allowable Travel Related Expenses (not specifically mentioned in above sections)
1. Traffic fines
2. Towing charges from illegal parking
3. Additional insurance
4. Membership fees for benefits derived from travel
5. Personal services in route (hair, car wash)
6. Personal items required in route (umbrella, prescription, luggage)
7. Loss of personal items
8. "No show" charges
9. Unapproved charges for upgraded travel, lodging, or rental vehicle
10. In-flight movies and/or beverages
11. Host/Hostess gifts >$50
12. Cost of care for family members, pets, houses, etc. while traveling
13. Laundry services
14. Fees for exercise rooms
15. In-room movies and/or games
16. Optional conference activities not included in conference fee (golf, cruise)