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Policies and Procedures

10.02 Contracting Authority

Purpose:

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa (Board) is the governing authority for the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). The Board has retained contracting authority over certain transactions as provided in the Iowa Administrative Code and the Board Policy Manual including real estate purchases, sales, security interests and easements; certain land and real property leases; engagement of legal representation, bond counsel or bond-related financial advisors; contracts for major capital improvements; contracts for fire protection services; and contracts for architectural, engineering, construction management and design services on major capital improvement projects. The Board has delegated their authority to make other contracts and agreements to the President of UNI.  In order to assure compliance with law and Board policies and to manage the risks associated with contracts and agreements, this policy outlines the contracting authority delegated to other university officials by the President, assigns responsibility for the review and approval of contracts and agreements, and specifies required retention.

Policy Statement:

The President delegates the authority to sign contracts as follows:

  1. Employment of:
    1. Deans and provost office staff to the Executive Vice President and Provost;
    2. Department heads, directors of academic programs and faculty to the deans;
    3. Professional and scientific staff (excluding athletics head coach contracts), or merit employees to the dean, director or department head;
    4. Graduate assistants, post-doctoral fellows or student employees to the employing unit head (vice president, associate provost, assistant provost, dean, director, or department head);
  2. Agreements to form educational consortia for joint educational projects and for cooperative education to the Executive Vice President and Provost, deans, department heads or directors of academic programs;
  3. Applications and agreements for grants (other than grants received through the UNI Foundation), contracts, memoranda of agreement, or any other similar contractually binding document pertaining to educational development and research from all sources to the Assistant Provost for Sponsored Programs.  Specific procedures for grants and contracts are covered in Policy 9.01;
  4. All procurement contracts relating to the purchases of goods and services from sources outside the University, other than those for property and facilities which are covered under Chapter 9 of the Board of Regents Policy Manual, to the division heads with further delegation to employees who have fiscal officer authority for contracts and agreements to be paid from the accounts over which they have fiscal authority.
  5. Agreements for property and facilities, as governed by Chapter 9 of the Board of Regents Policy Manual to the Vice President for Administration and Financial Services with further delegation as authorized by the Vice President of Administration and Financial Services.
  6. Agreements with the UNI Foundation to its President/Special Assistant to the President (UNI).
    • Certain agreements to the UNI Treasurer; these agreements include—
    • revenue bonds and revenue refunding bonds,
    • Master Lease/Capital Lease transactions (documents and/or financing agreements), and
    • any bank loan note payable.

Except as noted in the next sentence, these types of agreements (listed in this paragraph VII) are subject to Board authorization.  The UNI Treasurer shall review and is authorized to approve Master Lease/Capital Lease transactions for less than $50,000, internal loans, and any bank or credit union account opened in the name of the University or using the University’s taxpayer identification number.

Other delegations of the President’s contracting authority may be made by the President from time to time by a memorandum of delegation which is copied to University Counsel. Any division head may further delegate the authority she/he has received to other employees of the University through a memorandum of delegation copied to University Counsel.  Withdrawal of a delegation of contracting authority may be made in a similar manner.

Review Procedure: Appropriate review and coordination of contracts and agreements are the responsibility of the authorizing fiscal officer. In particular all contracts, grant agreements, memorandums of agreement, simple letters of agreement, and/or other similar documents committing the University or one of its units, must receive advance review by the University Counsel unless:  

  1. The agreement or contract  relates to UNI Foundation matters;
  2. It is an agreement, contract, memorandum of agreement or other similar document relating to Grants and Contracts handled by the Office of Sponsored Programs;
  3. The agreement or contract is for employment and uses the standard offer letter template approved by Human Resource Services (HRS) for professional and scientific (P&S) or merit staff hires, or the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs for faculty hires, or if deviating from the offer letter template, is reviewed by the director of HRS (staff offers) or the Associate Provost (faculty offers);
  4. A UNI Professional Services Contract or other form which has been pre-approved by the University Counsel and Office of the Vice President for Administration and Financial Services is used, provided the dollar amount of the contract is $2,000 or less. The University's Payroll Manager will review such agreements or related payment vouchers to insure compliance with tax laws and UNI policies relating to independent contractors.
  5. Other agreements or contracts using standard forms approved by the University Counsel and Office of the Vice President for Administration and Financial Services.  These agreements include the Use of Facilities Agreement and other standard contract forms that may become available from time to time.

Other exemptions to the advance review requirement may be authorized by the University Counsel and Office of the Vice President for Administration and Financial Services under specific circumstances.

Contracts or agreements that contain financing arrangements, other than those for Property and Facilities, must be reviewed and accepted by the Office of Financial Accounting & Reporting Services and the Office of Business Operations/Purchasing and Payables, which will verify that appropriate terms and conditions are included before being signed.

Contracts or agreements for property and facilities governed by Chapter 9 of the Board of Regents Policy Manual shall be coordinated with the Office of Financial Accounting and Reporting.  See also paragraph VII above.

Retention of Documents:

Signed employment offer letters for faculty members are retained in the personnel files maintained in the applicable Dean’s office and in the Executive Vice President and Provost’s office. Signed employment offer letters for academic administrators are retained in the personnel files maintained in the Executive Vice President and Provost’s office.  Signed employment offer letters for staff members are retained in the HRS personnel file.

A copy of all final agreements/contracts must be retained in the respective administrative office in accordance with the UNI record retention policy and copies of all agreements and contracts, other than employment contracts, and property and facilities agreements and contracts, must be provided to the Office of Business Operations/Purchasing and Payables.

Additional information or assistance:

Bidding procedures for goods and services: UNI Purchasing Policies and Procedures or Purchasing.( http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/obo/purchasing/index.shtml)

General legal: University Counsel

Grants and Contracts: Office of Sponsored Programs ( http://www.uni.edu/osp/about-osp)

Insurance: UNI Risk Manager

Financing arrangements and terms: Office of Financial Accounting & Reporting Services and Office of Business Operations/Purchasing and Payables

Office of the Vice President for Administration and Financial Services, approved September 22, 2011
President’s Cabinet, approved November 10, 2011