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Policy 1201: Authority and Responsibility for Procuring Goods and Services

Subject Area: Procurement/Disbursement
Responsible Office: Financial Services
Sponsor: Chief Financial Officer
Originally Issued: December 1986
Revised: September 2003, October 2007, May 2008, February 2010, December 2014, February 2015, August 2015, January 2016, August 2017, June 2018
Refer Questions To: Mark Fehlberg, (773) 702-3321

Purpose: To assign authority and responsibility for the procurement of goods and services.


1. Under the By-Laws of the University, the Chief Financial Officer is vested with the authority to conduct the business activities of the University including the responsibility for the procurement of all goods and services.

2. The Assistant Vice President of Procurement and Payment Services, and the Associate Vice President for Finance will establish, formulate, publish, maintain, and interpret policies and procedures to be followed by all procurement centers of the University in order to provide for the efficient and responsible conduct of all procurement and disbursement activities of the University. All University procurement policies shall be in compliance with federal regulations for procurement standards, as stated in 2 CFR 200, Uniform Guidance. 

3. The Assistant Vice President of Procurement and Payment Services has the authority and responsibility to negotiate all procurement terms and execute all purchases and leases of goods and services. In some cases authority has been delegated to other designated units within the University for specified goods and services (see policy statement 8 below). Preferred Suppliers are established to facilitate strategic purchasing in support of the University’s mission. All departments should first attempt to use the preferred suppliers when ordering goods and services. Further guidance for departments is set forth in the Policy of Procurement and Engagement of Services.

4. The Chief Financial Officer has final signature approval for all purchases of goods, services and rental/lease agreements in excess of $1,000,000, or in excess of those specific fund commitment levels enumerated in policy statement 8.

5. Departments have the procurement authority to issue purchase orders, less than $10,000, through the Procurement Services purchasing system. Purchase requests in excess of $10,000 will route for additional procurement review.

6. The University will reimburse individuals for non-travel business related purchases up to $500. To be reimbursed the individual must include documentation that sufficiently describes the purchase and proof of payment. These items become the sole property of the University.

7. No other employee of the University, except as provided for in policy statements 5, 6, and 8, or as authorized by the Trustees of the University of Chicago or the By-Laws of the University is empowered to incur any obligation or make any commitment, on behalf of the University for the purchase of goods, services or equipment unless approved in writing by the Assistant Vice President of Procurement and Payment Services, Associate Vice President for Finance, or the Chief Financial Officer.

8. Certain officers and departments other than Procurement Services have responsibility and authority for the procurement of specific goods and services as indicated below. These procurement centers do not have authority for procurement outside the identified items and services, and must obtain the prior written approval of the Chief Financial Officer for any procurement above the maximum per transaction amount shown below. 


Delegated Procurement Center List

Position* Description of Goods or Services Maximum Signature Authority Per Transaction
Associate Vice President, Facilities Services Construction and Renovation Services $500,000
Associate Vice President, Facilities Services Facilities Related Goods and Services (including management and maintenance services, utilities, rentals, furniture and supplies) $200,000
Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration, Campus and Student Life Dining and Residence Hall Equipment, Furnishings, Services and Maintenance $100,000
Associate Dean, Administration and Operations Books, Publications and Related Library Items $100,000
Director, University Press Printing and Related Supplies/Services, Marketing/Advertising for Publications $200,000
Executive Director, Laboratory Schools Books, Supplies, Athletic Clothing, Food Services $100,000
Director of Risk Management Liability, Property and Related Insurance Coverages $100,000

*Identified authorized signers may designate others within their organizations to have signature authority for specific items or dollar levels not to exceed those for each procurement center.