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Frequently Asked Questions

Procurement Services

Best Value (Reasonable Price) Acquisitions

Best Value is an option which may be used on commodity and service purchases that do not exceed $50,000. It may also be used as supplement or guideline to preparing a Sole Source. Public Works excluded.

Best Value Definition

The most value-effective solution to the University's requirements based on life-cycle cost. There is no specific formula or methodology for conducting a best value determination, but it is important that the award is consistent with the terms of the solicitation.

Blanket Orders

The Procurement Department encourages consolidation of annual requirements for certain commodities and services. Blanket Orders can be competitively bid, so that supplies or services can be requested by authorized personnel on an as needed basis. Such orders achieve economies of scale, cut expenditures, and reduce administrative handling costs.

Contact with Departments

Direct discussions between the supplier's representative and potential users in the departments are encouraged. Product demonstrations can be arranged through coordination with Procurement and the departments. While Procurement does not expect the supplier's representative to coordinate visits through the office, we do ask to be kept informed of potential sales that appear imminent. This enables us to approach the purchase as a team so that the user's needs are met, competitive bids are obtained, supplier requirements are considered, and Procurement guidelines are followed. Vendors are cautioned that only Procurement staff is authorized to issue written or confirming purchase orders. Failure to follow these procedures will result in delayed payments or the return of material to the vendors.

Contractor Evaluation

Contractor’s performance may be evaluated. If performance problems occur during the term of the contract, Contractors will be notified of the deficiency in writing and afforded an opportunity to "cure the breach" within a prescribed reasonable time frame.

A contractor whose performance has been determined unsatisfactory may be temporarily disqualified from bidding on further contracts for a period of up to one year. No bidder, however, may be disqualified without written documentation from the end-user and formal notification by the Procurement Department.

CSU System-wide Agreements

The California State University System has entered into and is expanding a series of contracts for commonly required commodities and services. These contracts are issued by the Chancellor's Office, or by individual campuses acting on behalf of the Trustees of the CSU, for use by all CSU entities. All system wide agreements reside in the CalUsource collaborative procurement website. This fully integrated procurement solution for sourcing, contracting and spending, is improving collaboration and efficient across the CSU and UC systems.

Contracted Moving Companies

Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises

Current goal for all contracts (3) percent Disabled Veteran Business (DVBE) participation. For a complete set of the DVBE requirements see the section Disabled Veteran Business (DVBE) Enterprise under Forms.

Emergency Transactions

"Emergency"as used in the Public Contract Code, means a sudden, unexpected occurrence that poses a clear and imminent danger, requiring immediate action to prevent or mitigate the loss or impairment of life, health, property, or essential services.

When an emergency requires the immediate issuance of a purchase order, standard agreement, or service for commodities and services, an Emergency Purchase Authorization form must be attached to the requisition, and be signed by both the requestor and the Director of Procurement & Support Services.

When an emergency requires the immediate issuance of a purchase order, standard agreement, or service order which exceeds $5,000 for commodities and any dollar amount for services, an Emergency Purchase Authorization form must be attached to the requisition, and be signed by both the requestor and the Director of Procurement & Support Services.

Environmental & Social Sustainability

The CSU Buy Recycled Campaign is a joint effort between the campuses and the administrative offices of the CSU in support of the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign (SABRC) and was developed to comply with state laws requiring the procurement of recycled content products.

 Links and Resources

General Provisions

All contracts and procurements are issued in accordance with the CSU's General Provisions.


All payments of undisputed invoices are made in accordance with the California State Prompt Payment Act, in arrears upon receipt of materials or satisfactory completion of services and receipt of an approved invoice. Unless otherwise directed, invoices shall be sent in triplicate to the CSULB Accounts Payable Department.

Failure to reference the correct purchase order/contract number may result in the return of invoice and the Prompt Payment Act may not apply in such cases.

Procurement Cards

CSULB, in conjunction with the Chancellor's Office and the Department of General Services has elected to participate in a Procurement Credit Card program designed to achieve cost savings and improve processing time for low dollar value supplies and services. Please refer to the Procurement (P) Card Guidelines.

Prompt Payment Act

All payments are made in accordance with the California State Prompt Payment Act.

Small Business Payments pursuant to Government Code Section 926.15, State Agencies are required to process payments to certified small businesses within thirty (30) days of the required payment date, or pay a penalty of one quarter of one percent (1/4%) of the amount due, per day, from the 31st day after the required payment date. Small businesses may procure from the Office of Small and Minority Business a stamp to be used on their invoices, identifying their firm as "small business certified".

All Other Payments are made Pursuant to Government Code, Section 926.17, which requires State agencies which acquire property or services pursuant to a contract with a business to pay that business for each complete delivered item of property or services by the date set forth in the contract or, if no payment date is specified in the contract, within 50 calendar days after the postmark date of the invoice.

An interest penalty fee (penalty) at a rate of one percent above the Pooled Money Investment Account earning rate for the previous year will be paid.

Request for Copies of Public Records

Requests for copies of public records should be directed in writing to the Information Security Management and Compliance Department.

Purchases for More Than $100,000

Purchase orders for $100,000 or more normally require formal bidding. Additionally, certain bids are required by law to be placed as a legal advertisement in a local newspaper before the bid opening. The bid states an opening date and time and are solicited from at least three suppliers, including the department's suggested suppliers. All bid openings are open to the public and may be attended by any interested party.

After the bids are opened, they are evaluated by a buyer and, if necessary, by the issuing department. After the lowest responsive bid is determined, the award is made. The supplier receiving the award is notified of the award by receipt of an approved, signed purchase order.

The Procurement Process

Requisitions for purchases are submitted through CFS, approved by the appropriate administrator and then electronically delivered to Procurement. All requisitions received by Procurement follow a similar process. Each is reviewed for accuracy and completeness and erroneous or incomplete orders are returned to the department for correction.

Any procurement requiring public advertising will still need to be submitted via a requisition. The Procurement office requires a minimum of 4 days to process the advertisement once the requisition has been received in to the Procurement office and assigned to a buyer.

If a contract or terms and conditions are involved that require review or negotiation with the prospective supplier or service provider, the requisition must be submitted a minimum of 10 business days prior to the activity due date. All documentation requiring review (contracts, terms and conditions, ATI, etc.) must be submitted with the requisition, otherwise additional time will be required for Procurement to obtain these items from the prospective supplier or service provider.

If additional insured endorsements are needed due to the type of service or activity, the requisition must be submitted a minimum of 10 days prior to the activity or service date. The remainder of the requisitions are assigned to a buyer and dispatched to the supplier. If there is neither contract review nor insurance required, the complete process requires a minimum of four days without bids, and 16 days average if bids are required. Complex formal bids with specifications and/or plans require substantially longer process times once the scope of work is received and finalized in Procurement. These times range from five weeks to eight weeks on average. The current CSU goal for all contracts is 3 percent Disabled Veteran Business participation.

Competition Required

Competitive quotes are required for purchases over $50,000 unless referencing an existing contract. A minimum of three competitive quotes are required and must be dated within the past 30 days. The requestor is encouraged to provide these competitive quotes in the requisition in order to expedite the process. However, the Procurement Department will secure the necessary quotes if not provided. All purchases require the establishment of fair and reasonable pricing. Final discretionary authority rests with the Procurement Department regarding the level of competition required.

Reasonable Price

Is a price that does not exceed that which would be paid in the conduct of a competitive process. This may be established by market quotes, price or cost analysis, or by experience and judgment. Recognition is being made for the total value to the campus and meeting campus needs for quality, quantity, delivery and service, and specific technical or value-added enhancements.

Required Justifications

Some items requiring approval are listed below along with the office that has authority to approve the items.

  • Printing (University Print Shop)
  • Copiers (Departmental Copier Program)
  • Vehicles, Equipment and Furniture installation (Physical Planning)
  • Hazardous Materials (Environmental Health and Safety)
  • Furniture (Procurement Office, if assembly and installation- Physical Planning)

Requisition Documentation

Every purchase applying Best Value in making an award shall have documentation for audit purposes. The requisition documentation must include a statement of justification giving the reasons for a non-competitive award and include any price or cost analysis prepared.

Requisition for Services

  • Complete description of the service being requested.
  • Type of equipment, including model and serial number.
  • Vendor's quote(s) if available.
  • Term of service.
  • Contact person and phone number.
  • Insurance requirements will be reviewed and/or secured by Procurement if applicable.
  • All services are prohibited on P-Card, unless prior approval from Procurement.

Small Business Preference

Venders who qualify for a small business preference and provide proof of certification by the OSMB may receive an award in preference to a large business provided that:

  • The purchase order is based on competitive bids.
  • The bid of the small business does not exceed that of a large business by more than the percentage currently allowed by State law.
  • Claim for such preference must be made in writing by the supplier at the time the bid is submitted and the supplier must be certified by the Office of Small and Minority Business (OSMB).

Questions regarding small and minority business certification should be addressed to:

The Office of Small Business Certification and Resources
1531 "I" Street, 2nd Floor, C-17
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.323.5478

Sole Source/Sole Brand

Sole Source or Sole Brand procurements must be justified and approved in writing if the specified procurement exceeds $50,000 for goods and services, excluding Public Works.

A sole source acquisition is justified when it has been determined that only one source exists for the required product or service, and bidding is not possible. Justification for a sole source acquisition must accompany the requisition. This justification should include: the unique performance features of the product, why these specific features are required, and why other products that could be considered will not meet requirements.

A sole brand acquisition exists when only one brand-name product will satisfy the requirements of the requester, and a written justification has been authorized to limit the bidding only to dealers of that specified name-brand. Unless exempted, standard bid specifications call for "brand-name or equal."

Risk Management

What information is needed to provide the cost of insurance?

For Special Event Insurance, please provide the type of event, description of event, location, date(s), time(s), and the total number of attendees. For Foreign Travel Insurance, please provide the destination and total number of travel days (please also indicate business versus personal days).

Can I purchase FTIP insurance for my partner?

Yes. If you are traveling with an “other” (i.e. spouse, partner, child, etc.) you may purchase FTIP insurance for the individual(s) at your own cost. Receipt of payment must be received and approved by Risk Management no less than five (5) days before departure. On #7 of the International Travel Information Form, please provide the individual(s) name, email address, phone number, and U.S. emergency contact information (if different from yours). If traveling with a child, please provide their age.

Can FTIP insurance cover my personal travel?

Yes. The CSU Foreign Travel Program may extend coverage for personal time up to 14 days. However, if the number of personal days affects the premium cost that covers the business days, you will need to pay the difference. (E.g. To cover 15 business days, the premium is $60. Adding 5 personal days will increase the number of travel days, thus increasing the premium to $75. You will need to pay the difference of $15 to cover your personal travel). The difference must be paid via check or money order made payable to CSULB and can be dropped off at the Purchasing office front desk located on 3rd floor of Brotman Hall, Suite 346. 

Why do I need to register with the U.S. State Department Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)?

STEP is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. In the event of an emergency while abroad, you would be notified and provided additional information on where to go for safe shelter. This will only happen if you register with STEP. Employees are strongly encouraged to sign up for STEP, and the Chancellor’s Office requires STEP registration for all travelers traveling to a high hazardous country.

I already purchased travel insurance, why do I need to purchase it through the university?

University faculty, staff, employees and students are required to purchase Foreign Travel Insurance Program (FTIP) insurance through the Risk Management office via the California State Risk Management Authority (CSURMA) prior to departure for international destinations on University related business, university related courses, or travel study abroad. CO Memo. RM 2011-03, Foreign Travel Insurance Program—Requirements to Purchase and EO 1041, CSU-Student Travel. The California State University’s comprehensive foreign travel insurance coverage includes but is not limited to general liability, excess auto liability, primary medical expense, emergency medical benefits, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, political evacuations and repatriation benefit war risk coverage, accidental death and dismemberment benefit, lost luggage, and passport replacement. Coverage is also provided for work related injuries, employers and director’s liability and benefits recovery. FTIP does not cover high risk activities, such as, but not limited to, hang gliding, scuba diving, and white water rafting.

Why do I need to purchase special event insurance, aren’t we already covered through the university’s policy?

The University’s self-insurance programs cover the negligent acts or omissions of an employee while they are in the course and scope of university employment. Employee is defined by government code 810.2 as follows: 810.2. "Employee" includes an officer, judicial officer as defined in Section 327 of the Elections Code, employee, or servant, whether or not compensated, but does not include an independent contractor.

The University’s self-insurance programs cover state officers, employees, and volunteers (servants). Students, alumni, guests or invitees are not defined as an employee and therefore are not covered under the university’s self-insurance programs. 

When you sign a contract/agreement with a hotel, often times the contract/agreement will include language that makes the University legally responsible for our guest and invitees. That means if a guest or invitee causes damage to the hotel or bodily injury to another person during your event, the University may be held legally responsible for their negligent act or omission and the resulting damages since the University signed the contract/agreement. The University’s self-insurance programs do not provide insurance coverage for these 3rd parties (non-CSULB employees). 

In some cases, the hotel will allow us to revise the language so that we are not held legally responsible for our guests or invitees. This is why the Purchasing Director is delegated authority to review, approve and sign all contracts/agreements on behalf of the university. If the hotel (or other facility) does not allow revisions to the contract/agreement, we need to purchase a special event insurance policy in order to cover the event.

What’s the difference between the General Release of All Claims form and Release of Liability form?

The General Release of All Claims is a one (1) page form and is used for high risk/physical activities that take place on campus. The Release of Liability is a two (2) page form that is required for high risk/physical activities which take place off campus and/or involves some form of transportation (bus, train or plane etc.) Once signed, the form should be kept on file with the department for a least two (2) years after the event date ends.