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State of Maine

Department of Administrative and Financial Services

Bureau of General Services

Division of Purchases

 

 

   

 

 

PURCHASING POLICY

 

AND

 

OPERATIONS MANUAL

 

 

 

                                                                                      Revised August 29, 2013


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

General Functions and Procedures. 4

Functions. 4

Authority. 4

Procedures. 4

General Intra-Office Information and Policies. 4

Office Hours. 4

Sick Leave. 5

Temporary Absences. 5

Unauthorized Absences. 5

Rest Periods. 5

Work Place Injury. 5

Correspondence. 6

Requests for Service. 6

Appointments with Vendors and Other Customers. 6

Intra-Office Organization. 7

Director. 7

Director of Special Projects. 8

Management Analyst II. 8

Procurement Manager. 8

Buyer II. 8

Secretary Associate. 9

Office Associate II. 9

Office Assistant II. 9

Buyer Responsibilities. 9

Statute and Procedures. 9

Open Competition. 9

Settling Disputes. 10

Cost Analysis. 11

Buyer Assignments. 11

Unethical Practices. 12

Value Added Reseller (VAR) 13

Bidder Error. 13

Procedures. 13

Restrictions. 13

Vendor Performance. 13

Relations with the State Legislature. 14

Records. 14

Hearings. 14

Relations with the Public. 14

Procurement Procedures. 15

Open Market Purchases. 15

Competitive Quotations (Commodities) 15

Amendments to Quotes. 16

Questions and Answers. 16

Quote Closing. 17

Evaluation Methodology. 17

Alternate Bids. 17

Bid Rejection. 18

Master Agreement (MA) Extension. 18

Guidelines for Processing Dues/Subscription Payments. 18

RFP/Service Contracts. 19

RFP.. 19

Temporary Staff Agreement 20

Cooperative Agreements. 20

Sole Source Contracts. 22

Contract Renewals. 23

Contract Amendments. 23

AdvantageME.. 24

Paperless Modifications. 24

Scanning/Fortis. 24

Types of Contract Documents. 24

Supplemental Documents. 24

Procurement Card Program Policy. 26

Cardholder Responsibilities. 28

How Does the Procurement Card Work?. 29

Travel Cards. 29

Maximum Spending Limits on Procurement Cards. 30

Cardholder Transfer within the Same Department 30

Non-Allowable Items. 31

Unauthorized and/or Inappropriate Card Use. 31

Consequences of Unauthorized and/or Inappropriate Card Use. 31

Merchandise Returns and Exchanges. 32

Receipts/Documentation. 32

Payment of Receivable (RE) Processing Credit Card Payments. 33

Disputing a Charge. 33

Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Procurement Cards. 33

 

 

 General Functions and Procedures

 

Functions

 

The State of Maine Division of Purchases provides procurement and related services for all State agencies.  The Division ensures that all purchases are made in an atmosphere of open competition.  The goal is to fulfill the State's material and related service needs at the best value for the State of Maine.

 

Authority

 

The authority of the Division is detailed in Title 5, Chapter 155 of the MRSA.  The Division of Purchases is a part of the Bureau of General Services (BGS), which is part of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS).  The Division procures all supplies, materials, equipment, printing, and other services for the State government.  It prescribes procurement specifications and inspects and tests products.  The Division also supervises the procurement process for all State agencies.

 

Procedures

 

The basic procurement policies and procedures are as follows:

 

 

General Intra-Office Information and Policies

 

Office Hours

 

The office is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.  The office maintains attendance, vacation, sick leave and overtime records.


Vacation

 

A vacation schedule is made up in April of each year.  Personnel should submit their requests at that time.  Additional request will be accepted with appropriate notice and will be granted if operational needs are met. A form exists for this purpose.

 

Sick Leave

 

Sick leave is available to all employees as accrued monthly by contract.  This is designed to alleviate any loss of income due to illness.  Employees should report an absence to their supervisor no later than 8:30 AM. Employees should update the office calendar on a daily basis.

 

Temporary Absences

 

All staff members should inform the receptionist and their supervisor of location and length of temporary absences. Supervisors must let front desk know of absences of subordinates.

 

Unauthorized Absences

 

Any unauthorized absence may result in the loss of pay and disciplinary action may be taken.  Three consecutive unauthorized absences imply resignation but the absences may be covered by a subsequent grant of leave without pay. Any waiver may be granted by the director.

 

Rest Periods

 

All employees are entitled to one fifteen minute rest period every four hours.  No more than thirty minutes per day is allowed.  The breaks cannot be taken in the first or last hours of work and the time is not cumulative.

 

Work Place Injury

 

All injuries occurring at work must be reported to the supervisor as soon as possible. Supervisors are responsible for observing and reporting any unsafe working conditions or environments.


Communications

 

All personnel are to be informed promptly and fully of policies, plans, and changes which relate to their work.  Changes must be posted before they become effective as required by bargaining agreement.  Supervisors shall ensure that their instructions are effectively transmitted to their employees.  They should encourage employee participation in proposed changes in organization, policies and procedures which affect their work.  Employees have the responsibility to relay information to other employees who need the information to complete their functions.

 

Intra-Office communications are handled through email, memoranda personal and staff meetings.  The staff meetings are to be held at reasonable intervals or as required to discuss current trends, problems, performance improvements, procedural changes, etc.

 

Correspondence

 

All correspondence, including requisitions, is to receive a response or be acted upon within five working days from the date received.  Any delay should be acknowledged and the reason(s) for the delay should be forwarded to the appropriate party.

 

Requests for Service

 

Employees should respond to all requests for service in a polite and professional manner within 2 working days of receipt.

 

Appointments with Vendors and Other Customers

 

When an individual calls on a Buyer, the receptionist notifies the buyer of his/her arrival.  The receptionist should state the individual's name, firm, and the purpose of the visit (appointment, pick up bid, order, etc.).  Callers should be received promptly.  The buyer should inform the receptionist of any delays.  If the delay is to be more than fifteen minutes, then the appointment should be rescheduled.  Appointments should be strictly controlled to keep work interruption to a minimum.

 

At times some incoming phone calls may be answered by the front office.  The front office will ask the name of the person calling and pass the call along to voice mail or the appropriate buyer.  An attempt will be made to route personal calls directly to the appropriate person.  The number and length of personal calls must be minimized.


Employee Training

 

All employees are expected to possess the basic skills required to perform their duties.  The objective of training is to improve the quality of service by increasing the effectiveness of employees through the development and improvement of their work attitudes, habits, knowledge, and skills.  The responsibility for training lies with management personnel.  They should provide their employees with proper guidance and instruction.  Employees are encouraged to explore any training opportunities available to them.  Each new employee should be fully informed about his/her position by his/her supervisor.

 

Intra-Office Organization

 

Director

 

The Director oversees the Division of Purchases and reports to the Director of the Bureau of General Services.  The Director establishes operating policies and gives general direction to personnel regarding the execution of policies, procedures, and functions.  There are certain items which need the approval of the Director of the Division.  These include:

 

 

Any of the aforementioned tasks can be delegated as the Director sees fit.

 

He/she is also responsible for advising Division managers regarding the operations of their teams and the general management of the fiscal and operational needs of this service organization.


Operations Director

 

The Operations Director manages the planning of work involving policy analysis, research, and development.  Work requires an understanding of the principles, concepts, and methodology of technical areas.  The Operations Director may approve procurement documents such as purchase orders, contracts, and RFPs of any value, as delegated by the Director.  The Operations Director reports to the Director.

 

Director of Special Projects

 

The Director of Special Projects manages the planning and conducting special policy, planning, research, and evaluation studies for a department or agency.  The Director of Special Projects may approve procurement documents such as purchase orders, contracts, and RFPs of any value, as delegated by the Director.  The Director of Special Projects reports to the Director.

 

Management Analyst II

 

The Management Analyst II handles the review, examination, and evaluation of complex organizational structures, administrative policies, and management systems of state departments, agencies, and institutions.  Responsibilities include, but not limited to, developing and conducting studies, summarizing findings, preparing reports, and recommending changes in organizational structures programs, policies, procedures, or practices in administrative, financial, records, and information management systems.  The Management Analyst II may approve procurement documents as directed by his/her supervisor.  He/she reports to the Operations Director and/or Director of Special Projects, as applicable.

 

Procurement Manager

 

The Procurement Manager oversees the work of a procurement team which is responsible for developing contractual relationships with vendors/service providers for the acquisition of supplies, equipment, services used statewide by all State agencies. Responsibilities include planning, directing, and coordinating the activities of the assigned procurement team in order to provide client agencies with effective procurement services and ensure that procurement practices are consistent with State procurement laws and regulations.  He/she reports to the Operations Director and is able to approve purchase orders and contracts up to $500,000.00.

 

Buyer II

 

The Buyer II handles and processes all agency requisitions.  They review purchase requests and commodity specifications, issue bid requests, make awards, place purchase orders, issue and manage Master Agreements, and follow the specifications, policies and procedures prescribed by State law.  He/she reports to the assigned Procurement Manager and is able to approve purchase orders and contracts up to $250,000.00.

 

Secretary Associate

 

The Secretary Associate handles the office and administrative support in assisting the Director with basic administrative details including responsibility for performing complex clerical tasks and scheduling of appeals.  He/she reports to the assigned Procurement Manager.

 

Office Associate II

 

The Office Associate II handles the scanning of all contract documents into the Division’s Fortis database, and also the filing of all hardcopy contracts and RFPs (after scanning). He/she assists with stamping of contracts, mailing approved contracts back to the issuing agencies, assists with logging in and out of contracts in the CRC database.  He/she assists with completing cover sheets to incoming contracts, logging of RFP proposals in the proposal database, and the opening of proposals as needed.  Additional duties include, but are not limited to, answering the Division’s general telephone line, greeting visitors as needed, opening, time stamping, and forwarding incoming and outgoing mail as needed, and performing general office duties as assigned. He/she reports to the assigned Procurement Manager.

 

Office Assistant II

 

The Office Assistant II handles the lobby reception area, greets incoming visitors at the Division’s front desk.  He/she answers the Division’s general telephone line as needed, assists with the stamping of contracts, mails back approved contracts to issuing agencies, assists with logging in and out contracts in the CRC database, and assists with completing cover sheets to incoming contracts.  He/she reports to the assigned Procurement Manager.

 

Buyer Responsibilities

 

Statute and Procedures

 

Buyers must be familiar with the Statutes, policies and procedures governing purchases.  They should be aware of the legal consequences of their actions.

 

Open Competition

 

It is up to the Buyers to ensure optimal levels of competition.  They cannot place unreasonable qualifying requirements on bidding firms.  They cannot require unnecessary experience or excessive bonding.  The Buyers cannot allow non-competitive pricing practices between firms.  They must not give non-competitive awards to consultants on retainer contracts.  There must not be any conflicts of interest.  They should only use a "brand name" to describe the performance required of an item and when used, the "or approved equal" term should be added.  They should not initiate and strive to prevent any arbitrary action in the procurement process.

 

Using geographic location as a selection criterion is justified where it does not restrict competition.


Procurement Process

 

Buyers are responsible for supervising the procurement process.  An improperly prepared requisition should be rejected to the agency for further clarification and resubmission unless the deficiency can be easily corrected by email, telephone or fax.  They should supervise the bidding process.  Buyers should analyze the bids received in terms of quality, price, and time.  Buyers should determine the necessity for product inspection/testing and they should provide for the necessary testing through the appropriate University or state facility.  They should also determine the need for samples or pre-award demonstrations.  The Buyer must return all samples in any condition, at the vendor’s expense within thirty days.  Items left unclaimed after thirty days will be sent to the using agency or destroyed.  The Buyer may submit the proposed procurement to the ordering agency for pre-award review.

 

Awards will be made by written notice or issuance of a purchase order to the lowest responsive/responsible bidder.  They must obtain additional approval for contracts and purchase orders over $250,000.00.  They must place purchase orders promptly. 

 

The Buyer should determine the delivery terms, for example, the F.O.B point and decide whether the delivery time is reasonable and possible.  “F.O.B.” means “free (or freight) on board” and if you follow it with the word “Origin” it means that the customer (the State of Maine) has agreed to pay the delivery charges and take responsibility for the goods once they leave the seller’s premises.  If you follow “F.O.B” with the word “Destination” then it means that the seller has agreed to pay the delivery charges and take responsibility for the goods until they are delivered.  The delivery terms should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

 

Settling Disputes

 

The Buyers are responsible for reviewing material when an agreement cannot be reached and a decision must be made.  The Buyers should settle all contract and administrative issues arising out of procurements, including source evaluations, protests, disputes, or claims.  The Buyers shall disclose all information regarding disputes to the procuring agency.  The Buyers should seek legal and other advice from the supervisor or Director.  Requests for information from the Director of the Bureau of General Services or the Attorney General's Office must be processed through the Director.  They shall decide all questions within their authority.  If the vendor is the low bidder and is dissatisfied with the decision, he/she can file a protest with the Director of Purchases.  If dissatisfaction remains, the vendor can file a petition with the Maine Superior Court.  Awards of contracts for special services are subject to Purchase Rule #120.

 

Buyers must maintain a contract/order monitoring system which ensures vendors perform in accordance with the terms of the agreement/contract.  They must handle all agency complaints (written and verbal) concerning products and vendor performance.  In regards to follow-up on late delivery, the agency handles the first follow-up.  If the problem continues, then all complaints should be brought to the attention of the Buyers. The Buyer must take appropriate action and keep the ordering agency advised of the situation.


Procurement File Maintenance

 

Buyers must be prepared to support their procurement activities and awards.  They must have written evaluation procedures in their file for each award.  These procedures should incorporate a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the material, product, or service being procured.  They must list the minimum essential characteristics and standards.  They must have detailed and up to date product specifications.  They must identify all requirements which vendors must fulfill and other factors to be used in evaluating bids or proposals.  Above all, the procedures must not restrict competition.

 

The Buyers must have an efficient and uniform filing system within their section.  They should keep a file of all documents relating to purchases, including personal, telephone and email conversations with the formal bids.  Email is the preferred method of communication.  The file should also include the rationale for the method of procurement, the rationale for the selection of the contract type, the rationale for the selection or rejection of bids, and the basis for the contract price.  The Buyer should also include a statement explaining the justification(s) for contract extensions with the contract document.

 

Requisitions, bids, and purchase orders are retained within the agency for two years and in the Maine State Archives for five years.  Purchase orders involving printing are retained for three years and then destroyed.  If an audit, litigation, etc. occurs before the expiration date then all records are to be retained until the action is complete or the time period has expired, whichever is later.

 

Cost Analysis

 

Buyers must perform cost or price analysis in connection with every procurement action, including contract modifications.  Cost analysis consists of verifying proposed cost data, the projections of data, and the evaluation of specific elements of costs and profits.  Cost analysis is necessary when adequate price competition is lacking and for procuring sole source items.  Price analysis is used in all other instances.

 

Buyer Assignments

 

Buyer assignments are based on assigned commodities to establish clearly defined areas of responsibility and to avoid commodity overlap.  It distributes the workload in an equitable manner. It also allows the Buyers to develop depth of product knowledge and helps to create better vendor relations.  However, the Buyers must be aware of agency needs and functions.

 

Buyers must familiarize themselves with the products they procure.  This includes the product's use, available sizes, and models.  They should keep themselves updated on the products by reading trade magazines and consumer reports.  They should also keep in contact with the appropriate State agencies and with a variety of vendors.  The Buyer must also be familiar with the current market prices and trends.  They should, when requested, assist agencies in the selection of products.


Cost Savings and Cost Avoidance

 

Whenever cost savings are achieved for State agencies, Buyers should take one of two actions.  If the cost savings are “bookable” or where one particular item was purchased for a lower price than available in previous years, then the Buyers should report such cost savings to the Division of Purchases’ Director of Special Projects (and/or his or her supervisor).  If the cost savings are the result of the competitive procurement process – for example, a comparison that shows the savings between the lowest and higher bids – then Buyers are to enter this information into the Division of Purchases’ Cost Avoidance Database.  This data base can be found in Purchases common drive under cost avoidance database.

 

Scheduled Buying

 

Buyers should be alert to the possibility of increasing the use of scheduled buying for ordering repetitive items.  They should keep in mind the desirability of combining requisitions from many agencies into one bid invitation.  They should also recommend quantity changes to the agency in order to reduce costs.  The quantity changes must be consistent with existing funds and the Buyer must obtain approval from the agency for any changes.

 

Unethical Practices

 

There are certain activities which are incompatible with a State employee's position.  The employee shall not:

 


Relations with Vendors

 

Value Added Reseller (VAR)

 

A VAR is a business authorized by the manufacturer to sell its product.  The business must have an excellent reputation.  The business must have a satisfactory record in regards to goods and services with State government and other entities, meaning it has conformed to the conditions of previous awards.  It must be financially sound and have the capacity and ability to supply the State with the necessary goods and services.

 

Bidder Error

 

In the case of a bidder error, it is not the policy of the Division to penalize the vendor. The Division simply asks for an explanation and disregards the bid.  All communications must be written.

 

 

Procedures

 

Vendors are required to follow certain procedures.  Shipments are to be made only after receiving a written purchase order or verbal authorization by a Buyer and in accordance with the delivery instructions.  All delivered items shall conform to the agreed specifications.  Failure in this action is cause for rejection.  All defective commodities will be returned to the vendor.  The vendor is responsible for servicing such items.

 

Restrictions

 

It is sometimes necessary to impose restrictions on vendors who supply the State.  Upon the levying of the restrictions, the vendor must be informed of:

 

 

Vendor Performance

 

A vendor performance file must be kept by each Buyer to record all agency complaints and related information as well as positive remarks.  The files should be kept alphabetically by vendor and include the name of the agency, a description of the product or service details of all events.  This file should not be restricted to complaints. The Buyers should encourage positive feedback from the agencies.  A note of agency complaints shall be made with the Division database.

 

Relations with the State Legislature

 

Records

 

All official records regarding purchases are available to members of the State Legislature.  The requesting legislator should be referred to the Director or a report of the request should be filed with him/her.  Request for information relating to pending legislation should also be referred to the Director.

 

Hearings

 

Division employees are not allowed to attend hearings or legislative sessions during regular working hours without the authorization of the Director.  All employees asked to appear before a legislative hearing shall comply and answer all questions truthfully, to the best of their ability, etc.  Employees should report these requests to the Director prior to giving testimony and file a report after the hearing.

   

Relations with the Public

 

All records relating to purchases are public information Photostat copies are available for a fee.  Requests are to be made in person, by email or in writing when accompanied by payment for Photostat copies. The original records are not to leave the office.  Scanned copies are available to the public.


Relations with the Media

 

All inquiries from the media should be referred to the Director.

 

Procurement Procedures

 

Open Market Purchases

 

Items under $5,000.00, excluding items listed below, may be purchased using the State Procurement Card or do a simple Purchase Order (PO) in the Advantage system.

 

Departments are not allowed to use this method for:

 

 

Competitive Quotations (Commodities)

 

The method for procuring products excluding those as emergency or sole source that exceed $5,000 is the formal bidding process (unless expressly approved otherwise by the Director).  This method is used when there is more than one source submitting an offer.  Open competition to all bidders is required.  Efforts are made to direct Maine business where sufficient competition exists.  The quote will be issued on AdvantageME the State’s electronic purchasing system.  Bidders log into Vendor Self Service (VSS) with a user id and password to submit electronically.  Vendors pricing must be entered electronically, file attachments are required to be uploaded to the electronic quote response.  If a bidder is unable to attach supporting documents such as, descriptive literature, the bidder must contact the Buyer listed on the request for quote for additional instructions.

 

The ordering agency must determine whether need and sufficient financing exist.

 

The agency submits an electronic requisition (RQS), which travels the agency approval route before it is submitted to the Division of Purchases.  The requisition is forwarded to the assigned Buyer for that assigned commodity.  The Buyer determines that sufficient information has been given then prepares the invitations for quote (RFQ).


Information stated on the quotation announcement must include:

 

 

Any information not listed on the electronic quotation, but pertaining to the quote must be made available to all bidders. Bidders must be allowed reasonable time to respond from release date of electronic solicitation.  Quotes have no minimum time for response.  It is up to the Buyer to determine the sufficient amount of time to leave a quote open depending on the commodity and the complexity of the quote.

   

Amendments to Quotes

 

There are times when a quote will need to be amended.  Whether extending the quote closing date, clarifying/adding specifications or in other ways editing the quotation this action must be done on AdvantageME as part of the quotation.  Once an amendment is processed a vendor whom is attempting to respond will immediately receive notification via e-mail from Vendor Self Service (VSS).  If a vendor had responded prior to the amendment being processed, the vendor will have the option to resubmit their response.  If any vendor chooses to change their response at any time during the quoting process, they would open up their quote and click on Edit to make any changes needed and then hits submit.  Creating another SR does not override the existing SR.

 

Questions and Answers

 

Buyers will be required to include questions and answers deadlines in the terms of the quotation.  It is up to the Buyer to determine the sufficient amount of time to allow for questions prior to the quote opening date, depending on the commodity and the complexity of the quote.


Vendors will be required to post their questions on VSS through the Question and Answer link on the Solicitation Details View page.  Your answer will appear there as well.  It is the vendor’s responsibility to log in to view all questions and answers posted there.  AdvantageME will send an email to the Buyer saying that there is a question from a vendor to your RFQ.  The Buyer will log into the system, click on favorites and the SOQA.  Put *and the last few digits to your RFQ in the solicitation ID Field.  Then click browse.  When the procurement appears, click the answer link.  You will be able to see the question and respond in the answer field, hit save.  If the answer is more than what can fit in the answer box, just indicate that there will be an amendment to the RFQ and the vendor can find the questions/answers on an attachment to the amendment. Answer relevant questions, no rule requires you to answer all questions.  Buyers must allow a reasonable time frame between the answer and the closing date.  No questions should be answer via any other process.

 

Quote Closing

 

Quotes close at 2:00 pm (local time) on the announced day.  Once responses have been loaded, after batch run, the Buyer will create an evaluation document (EV) on AdvantageME.  Each bidder’s price, terms, any comments and/or attached files are reviewed.

 

The agency is informed of the quote outcome from the Buyer.  With the agency, if applicable, the responses will be analyzed, tabulated, scored, making sure all criteria and specifications have been met.

 

The Buyer awards the quote by issuing a Purchase Order or Master Agreement once an award has been determined.

 

Evaluation Methodology

 

Evaluations of quotes are to be conducted in such a manner as to not change or deviate any quote information as submitted.  Clarification can be asked but Vendors are not allowed to change any portion of the quotation/specifications.  If award criteria is including in your quotation, Buyer must be led in the scoring process.

 

Alternate Bids

 

Alternate bids that do not significantly vary specifications (as defined in MRSA Title 5, (1825) are considered only if they are in the best interest of the State.  The vendor must furnish complete identification of the quoted product or service and any descriptive literature or data.  If the above information is not included, the alternate may be rejected.  It shall be assumed that if not specified, the item is the same as the one requested.  Acceptance of an alternate quote must be approved by the Director.

 

Tabulation of bids are to be conducted in such a manner as to not change or deviate any bid information as submitted on the bid form.  Any notes or corrections should be documented on separate sheets or may be documented on tab sheets.


Tie Bids

 

Tie bids will be awarded on the basis of in-state preference or other factors deemed, by the Director of the Division of Purchases, to serve the best interest of the State or by drawing of lots, provided that price, quality, availability or other factors are equal. Title 5, Section 1825b 8 M.R.S.A.

 

Bid Rejection

 

The State is able to reject any or all bids, in whole or in part.  It can waive any formality/technicality and accept any item(s) from any bid with the consent of the Director.

 

Master Agreement (MA) Extension

 

Master Agreements may be extended for up to two years at one year increments.  No MA may have total duration over 3 year without the director’s approval.  The buyers are not to extend an MA with any increases and are to negotiate a lower price.  No MA can have a total duration of over three years.  The Buyer must send out invitations to bid before the MA expires. Factors to be considered when extending an MA are as follows:  price, vendor performance, the agency needs, commodity acceptability, current market indicators, and available competition.  All extensions must be approved by the Director of the Division.

Guidelines for Processing Dues/Subscription Payments

 

 

 


RFP/Service Contracts

 

RFP

 

All contracts for services issued under the review of the Contract Review Committee which do not qualify as sole source that are $10,000 and over must be competitively bid using the Request for Proposal.

 

 

The Division of Purchases is responsible for ensuring the purchase of services within Maine State Government complies with state procurement law.  The law requires that procurement of both goods and services be done through competitive bidding [5 M.R.S.A. §1825-B (1)].   Statute provides the conditions under which competitively awarded agreements may be renewed and/or amended.  It also provides for very limited circumstances under which awards may be made on a non-competitive basis.

 

New contracts for services will be scrutinized carefully to determine if a true sole source.  Renewal agreements will be reviewed to confirm that a current RFP supports them or they are excluded by statute.

 

All contracts for services under $10,000 which do not qualify as sole source require departments to get quotes, the award should be made to the low bidder and submit a BP54 EO contract form or a BP18r contract form to the Division of Purchases for approval.


Purchase a Service

 

 

Temporary Staff Agreement

 

Temporary service contracts are utilized to fulfill a short term need for service.  Engagements over 1,040-hours are not typically allowed but may be allowed by the Director of Division of Purchases or designated staff on a case by case basis.   The Director on occasion may route a request for temporary service contract to the Bureau of Human Resources, Employee’s Relations for review and comment.  

 

Contracts for temporary staffing utilize the same process as above with the exception as follows:  

 

 

OIT Agreements

 

Agreements that are primarily technology based or have technology components must be approved by the Division of Purchases and the CIO’s office. Each department has an assigned OIT representative that can assist with agreement development. OIT Agreements are routed through the Division of Purchases for approval. Once they are initially approved by Purchases they are routed to the CIO’s office for technical approval and returned to Purchases for finalization on AdvantageME.

 

Cooperative Agreements

 

A new Executive Order and procedure that involves the processing of cooperative agreements between the State of Maine and the University of Maine System or Maine Community College System.  The Executive Order does not pertain to any other type of contract or agreement.

 

On November 22nd, the Governor’s Office released Executive Order 26 FY11/12.  That Executive Order stated that cooperative agreements with the University or Community College Systems should not be waived from competitive requirements without the prior written approval of the Governor’s Office.

 

In order to comply with this Executive Order, the Governor’s Office and the Division of Purchases have developed a new form and procedure for the processing of cooperative agreements.  The new form, called the “GOVCOOP” form, which the Department must submit directly to the Governor’s Office prior to drafting a cooperative agreement with the University or Community College Systems.  The Governor’s Office will provide its written approval to the Department on the GOVCOOP form, in order for a cooperative agreement to then be finalized by the Division of Purchases.  The new GOVCOOP form can be found on the Division of Purchases’ website at this address:

http://www.maine.gov/purchases/info/forms/govcoop.doc.

 

Once completed, a GOVCOOP form must be emailed to the Governor’s Office via Michael Cianchette (michael.cianchette@maine.gov) and cc’d to your Department’s senior policy advisor in the Governor’s Office.

 

Conferences and Meetings

 

When scheduling conferences and meetings, agencies should include Maine State Armories when considering possible event locations if an Armory is located within 10 miles from where the majority of meeting participants will be coming from.  Dan Nadeau is your contact at the Maine Armory Rental Program.  When assessing the feasibility of an Armory as a venue, you should consider the total meeting cost, such as catering, lighting, audio/visual, and other necessary services.  This consideration is required by Executive Order 15 FY 11/12, An Order Directing State Agencies to Give Priority to Maine State Armories when Renting Meeting Space, but the Executive Order does not cover meetings where State or Federal law requires other locations.  The purpose of the program is to provide rental space at designated Maine State Armories.  Revenue generated will help offset operating costs of these state-owned facilities.  Maine Armories are strategically located through the State, including locations in:


·         Augusta

·         Belfast

·         Brewer

·         Calais

·         Caribou

·         Gardiner

·         Houlton

·         Lewiston

·         Norway

·         Portland

·         Sanford

·         Skowhegan

·         Waterville

·         Westbrook


Procedure:

  1. Request a written quote from the Maine Armory Rental Program.  If necessary to hire vendors for food or other services, please contact Dan for approved vendors and include those costs in the total quote.  Obtain at least two (2) additional quotes from facilities in the area, including all meeting costs in calculating the quote.

 

  1. If the Armory is the lowest-cost option but use of such Armory would be detrimental to the needs of the agency, please submit a written request for a waiver from Armory use to the Division of Purchases explaining in detail why a waiver should be granted to allow the use of non-armory facilities. 

 

  1. If the Division of Purchases grants a waiver, obtain a third quote from an area facility.  If the quotes come in under $5,000, execute a contract form BP18.  For amounts between $5,000 and $10,000, execute a contract form BP54.

 

  1. If the quotes exceed $10,000, then an RFP must be drafted and submitted to the Division of Purchases for approval.  In the unlikely event that only one facility can meet your needs, please complete a BP37SS detailing your reason for requesting a sole source procurement.  Please plan accordingly in case time is needed to complete an RFP process.

 

Maine Armory Rental Program:

http://www.me.ngb.army.mil/rentals/

BP37SS Sole Source Authorization Form: http://www.maine.gov/purchases/info/forms/BP37SS_Sole_Source_Authorization_Form.doc

An Order Directing State Agencies to Give Priority to Maine State Armories when Renting Meeting Space: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Gov_Executive_Orders&id=227692&v=article2011

 

Sole Source Contracts

 

Sole-source justification will be required from any agency requesting such an approval. A Sole Source Authorization Form (BP37SS) must be submitted when making a sole source.  The sole source requirements are:

 


Competitive Contracts

 

Competitive contracts will require justification from any agency requesting such an approval. A Competitive Award Authorization Form (BP37CA) must be submitted when making a competitive contract.

 

Contract Renewals

 

A contract renewal is an original contracts resulting directly from a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP).  The State’s standard is a one (1) year initial contract, which may be renewed for as many as 3 additional years.  The scope of any renewals must have been anticipated in the original RFP.  Additions to the scope must be treated as separate procurements, subject to competitive bidding or, rarely, appropriate sole source justification. Incumbency will not justify sole source.

If a contract has an initial 2 year time frame, it can be extended for one additional 2 year time period.

 

An RFP can establish a potential contracting relationship of longer than four years ONLY if:

 

 

No extensions beyond the time frames identified in the original RFP will be granted without the express written consent of the State Purchases Review Committee.  Such written consent will be requested solely at the discretion of the State Purchasing Agent or his/her designee. 

 

Contract Amendments

 

Fixed Cost Contracts cannot be amended to add funds to complete the originally contracted work. Vendors must complete all contracted work for the agreed-upon cost. Increases in scope, up to $10,000.00, may be added at the discretion of the Contract Administrator or his/her designee.  Increases in scope over $10,000.00 must be treated as separate procurements, subject to competitive bidding or, rarely, appropriate sole source justification.

 

Fixed Cost Contracts may be amended to add time to complete the original work in situations when unforeseen forces beyond the vendor’s control have made it impossible to complete the work within the original timeframe.  The Contract Administrator must exercise his/her discretion regarding such amendments.  Fixed Cost Contracts may be amended to revise the scope of work within the existing dollar value at the discretion of the Contract Administrator.

 

All contract amendments are subject to review and approval by the State Purchases Review Committee or its designee before they can be considered valid, enforceable documents. 

 

Fee for Service Contracts may be amended to add funds to purchase additional units of service within the parameters of the original contract.  For example, if the original contract is to provide a specific service in a specific geographic area, the contract may be amended if additional services are found to be needed in that area.  The contract may not be amended to add funds to provide services in a different geographic area.

 

Fee-for-Service Contracts may be amended to refine the scope of the originally purchased service, may not be amended to add new services.  Any new services must be treated as separate procurements, subject to competitive bidding or, rarely, appropriate sole source justification.  They may be amended to add time to complete the original work in situations when unforeseen forces beyond the vendor’s control have made it impossible to complete the work within the original timeframe.  The Contract Administrator must exercise his/her discretion regarding such amendments.

 

All contract amendments are subject to review and approval by the State Purchases Review Committee or its designee before they can be considered valid, enforceable documents. 

 

AdvantageME

 

Paperless Modifications

Paperless Modifications simply require an email notification be sent to the following email address (DAFS.Purchases@maine.gov). On the subject line of your email please enter the word "Paperless Modification and the CT Number.  The reason for the modification should be explained in the email.

 

Scanning/Fortis

 

Once the agreements are finalized by the State Purchases Review Committee they are electronically scanned and archived in Fortis.

 

Types of Contract Documents

 

Supplemental Documents

BP37CA - Competitive Award Authorization Form (MS-Word)
This form must accompany contracts being proposed for approval that are the direct result of a competitive RFP or a subsequent renewal that was anticipated in the RFP.  If the renewals allowable under the original RFP have been exhausted, another competitive RFP must be conducted.

BP37SS - Sole Source Authorization Form (MS-Word)
This form must accompany contracts being proposed for approval that are not the direct result of a competitive RFP or a subsequent renewal that was anticipated in the RFP.  This form must also accompany ALL amendments. If the proposed contract is the direct result of a competitive RFP or an anticipated renewal, please complete the Competitive Award Authorization Form (above).

BP37PA - Participating Addendum Authorization Form (MS-Word)
This form must accompany contracts being proposed for approval that are the result of participation (a.k.a. “piggybacking”) under pre-existing, competitively awarded contracts.  Pre-existing contracts can be in the form of multi-state cooperative agreements, or contracts that were competitively awarded by individual states or public entities.  The information requested below should explain the general departmental need for the contracted service or commodity, describe the process undertaken to identify existing contracts, and explain the method of achieving the best contract in terms of price and quality of service/commodity.

BP37AM Form (MS-Word)
This form must accompany amendments being proposed for approval to existing contracts.

Governor’s Office Cooperative Agreement (GOVCOOP) Form (MS-Word)
This form, once completed, must be sent directly to the Governor’s Office and the requesting Department’s senior policy advisor in order to receive approval prior to establishing a cooperative agreement with the University of Maine System or the Community College System.  If approval from the Governor’s Office is received, then the signed form should then be provided to the Division of Purchases, along with a copy of the proposed cooperative agreement, for final review and approval.

Information Sheet for Contracted Positions (Excel)
This form must be submitted with any temp. service contract or temp. service contract amendments.

Debarment Form (MS-Word)
This form is required when awards are made using federal funds such as 013 and 015 and the dollar value exceeds $25,000.00.

 

CONTRACT DOCUMENTS

BP18R $5,000.00 Contract (MS-Word)
this form is for contracts $5,000.00 and under.

BP54 Agreement to purchases Services – EO Compliance (MS-Word)
This document is used for contracts of any dollar amount, and it incorporates language stating that the contract is consistent with Executive Order 17 FY08/09 and complies with its requirements. Contracts presented on this form DO NOT need to be accompanied by a signed Executive Order Compliance Form; however, must be accompanied by one completed BP37CA or BP37SS as appropriate.


BP54-EO-IT Agreement to purchases Services – EO Compliance - Information Technology Contracts (MS-Word)
This document is used for all Information Technology contracts of any dollar amount, and it incorporates language stating that the contract is consistent with the Executive Order 17 FY08/09, and that it complies with its requirements. Contracts presented on this form DO NOT need to be accompanied by a signed Executive Order Compliance Form; however, must be accompanied by one completed BP37CA or BP37SS as appropriate. Additionally, if the contract includes ARRA funding, you must attach one ARRA BP54 EO IT Additional Ts and Cs.
INSTRUCTIONS for Rider B-IT (MS-Word)

Amendment EO Form (MS-Word)
This form should be used to make a change or modification to any BP54 contract document.

Procurement Card Program Policy

 [NOTE: The pages below are taken from the “State of Maine Procurement Card Policy” document, which is posted on the “Procurement Cards” portion of the Division of Purchases’ website.  The most recent version of the Procurement Card Policy can always be found on that website, and it is recommended that the reader of this Division of Purchases Policy and Operations Manual check the website to ensure that the pages below match that which has been posted online.  If there is any discrepancy between the two, the online version should be considered accurate.]

 

The State of Maine Procurement Card (PCard) and Travel Card Program is managed by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of General Services, Division of Purchases. This policy document refers only to the State’s PCard and Travel Card program, currently provided through the vendor US Bank. The program provides a simple and easy-to-use payment method that increases the efficiency and reduces the cost of State Government.  State employees are entrusted and empowered with the ability to make small dollar purchases on behalf of their departments. Though the procurement card eliminates many time-consuming processes for these small dollar purchases, it is not intended to avoid or bypass appropriate purchasing guidelines. Cardholders are expected to make sound business decisions in the best interest of the State and always comply with State policies and procedures.  The requirements detailed in this policy must be adhered to at all times, and this policy is subject to change at any time.  Please refer to the Division of Purchases’ website for the most up-to-date copy.  Failing to abide by this PCard policy is considered a violation of the State of Maine’s purchasing policy.

 

PLEASE NOTE: PERSONAL CHARGES ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.


Definitions  

Agency Procurement Card Coordinator - Each Agency currently participating in the Procurement Card Program has an employee or a group of employees responsible for administering the Procurement Card Program for their particular Agency and acts as the main contact between the Agency and the State Procurement Card Administrator (PCA).  

Billing Cycle - A two-week long billing period for the State’s PCard program.  A statement for the State’s PCard activity is received and paid every two weeks.  

Cardholder - A person whose name is on a Procurement Card and who is given authority to make purchases within preset limits on behalf of the State of Maine.

Cardholder Agreement - The agreement signed by the person whose name appears on the Procurement Card. This agreement outlines the policies regarding using a Procurement Card and must be signed by all persons receiving a Procurement Card. This signed agreement will be imaged and retained by the Division of Purchases.  

Cut-Off Date - The last day in which charges can be approved and costs redistributed prior to payment being made to the e-Business partner.  

Default Account - A Department-specific AdvantageME account code assigned to an individual Cardholder's Procurement Card. Only one Default Account can be assigned to any one Procurement Card and all charges made with the Procurement Card will be initially posted into that Default Account with the option of redistributing to other cost center numbers in the reconciliation process.  

e-Business Partner - The merchant from whom a purchase is made using the PCard.  

MCC - Merchant Category Code assigned to a merchant by VISA and/or MasterCard, which identifies the primary goods or services provided by the merchant.  

MCCG - A grouping of merchants by MCC.  

Monthly Spending Limit - A dollar limitation of purchasing authority assigned to the Cardholder for the total of all charges made during each monthly billing cycle. Typically, this amount will not exceed $25,000. Departments may establish lower limits on a Cardholder basis.  

Procurement Card (or PCard) - A credit card issued to an employee of the State of Maine for the purpose of making authorized purchases on the State's behalf. The State will issue payment for charges made with the Procurement Card.  

Procurement Card Administrator (PCA) - The Division of Purchases’ employee responsible for administering the Procurement Card Program for the State and acting as the main contact between the State and the State’s banking partner (currently US Bank).  

Receipt/Documentation - A merchant-produced or non-State document that records the relevant details for each item purchased including quantities, amounts, a description of what was purchased, the total charge amount and the merchant's name and address (e.g. sales receipt, original invoice, packing slip, credit receipt, etc.).

Stacking - A prohibited practice wherein a Cardholder splits the cost of a purchase that is over the Cardholder’s Transaction Limit into two or more charges that are within the Cardholder’s Transaction Limit.  This may occur on one day, or over a few days.  STACKING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED, and will result in the Cardholder’s loss of PCard privileges.  

Transaction - A charge or credit associated with an e-Business partner account.

Transaction/Charge Limit - A dollar limitation of purchasing authority assigned to the Cardholder for each total charge made with the Procurement card. Except in rare circumstances, this amount must not exceed $5,000.00. Departments may establish lower limits on a per Cardholder basis. A single transaction/charge may include multiple items but cannot exceed the designated Transaction Limit.  

Travel Card - A credit card issued to an employee of the State of Maine for the purpose of making authorized, travel-related purchases on the State's behalf. The State will issue payment for charges made with the Travel Card. Travel Card purchases are to be made centrally within a state office for airline or hotel reservations (among other, limited travel-related costs); the Travel Cards are not meant to ever leave the office with a specific traveler. For the purposes of this policy document, the term “Travel Card” shall refer only to the Travel Cards provided by the vendor US Bank, for the program administered by the State of Maine Division of Purchases.  An alternate travel card program also exists through the vendor JP Morgan Chase, and that program is administered under separate policies by the Office of the State Controller.  

 

NOTE: Throughout this policy document, the terms “Procurement Card” and “Travel Card” are repeatedly used. The rules, policies, and procedures surrounding both PCards and Travel Cards are exactly same, therefore the use of the term “Procurement Card” or “PCard” shall be understood to also mean “Travel Card”.  The only differences between these two card types are detailed below in the section entitled “Travel Cards”.  

Cardholder Responsibilities 

  1. Completion of web-based training (WBT) and Policy training and signing the Cardholder Agreement PRIOR to issuance of a Procurement Card.
  2. Keeping their Procurement Card and Card Account Number confidential.
  3. Using the Delegation Form when it is necessary for someone other than the Cardholder to use the card (the form is located at the Division of Purchases’ website under “Procurement Cards”).
  4. USING THE PROCUREMENT CARD ONLY FOR STATE BUSINESS.
  5. Not using the Procurement Card to purchase FROM ANOTHER VENDOR items that are (a) carried in the Central Warehouse or (b) available through an established statewide Master Agreement.  A list of statewide Master Agreements can be found at:  http://www.maine.gov/purchases/contracts/index.shtml, under “Contract Listings.”  Please note: this includes the purchase of Office Supplies, which must NOT be purchased from any source other than the State’s Master Agreement for Office Supplies, currently held by WB Mason. 
  6. Understanding that intentional misuse or abuse of the Procurement Card will result in the immediate revocation of charging privileges and possible disciplinary and criminal prosecution.
  7. Not splitting (otherwise known as “stacking” – see definition above) transactions to avoid maximum per transaction dollar limits.
  8. Obtaining receipts for each transaction and turning those receipts in to the departmental person responsible for approving the charges in the Access Online system.
  9. Entering a description of the items purchased in the Access Online system.  Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the loss of Procurement Card privileges.

10.Reporting a lost or stolen Procurement Card immediately to your

APCC and US Bank at 1-800-344-5696.

11.Not accepting cash in lieu of a credit to the Procurement Card

account when returns are made.

12.Being accountable for all charges made with their Procurement

Cards and responsible for checking all transactions against the corresponding support documentation to verify their accuracy and propriety. This check should be done regularly using the Access On-line transaction review system.

 

How Does the Procurement Card Work?  

The Procurement Card is a special MasterCard credit card. It works similarly to your personal credit cards, except the charges are billed directly to the State with the initial payment made by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, then billed back bi-monthly to the appropriate Departments.  Procurement Cards are for business use only!  

The Procurement Card will display the Cardholder's name along with the words: STATE OF MAINE.  

A statement of activity can be printed from the Access Online System at your convenience.  This statement will assist in keeping track of all purchases made using the PCard and to ensure all receipts and packing slips are sent to the person in your department responsible for approving the electronic charges.  Should it be necessary to return any supplies or resolve billing disputes, this information is also needed to document State expenditures and also available for review by internal and external auditors.  

More information related to retention of receipts may be found under “Receipts/Documentation”.  

Improper use of the Procurement Card will result in consequences ranging from suspension of card to termination of employment and criminal prosecution.  

Travel Cards  

As mentioned above, the terms “Procurement Card” and “Travel Card” are repeatedly used throughout this policy document. The rules, policies, and procedures surrounding both PCards and Travel Cards are exactly same, therefore the use of the term “Procurement Card” or “PCard” shall be understood to also mean “Travel Card”. The only differences between these two card types are defined within this subsection of the State of Maine Procurement Card Policy.  

The main difference between PCards and Travel Cards is the purpose for which each card is used. As detailed within this policy, a Procurement Card is meant for multiple, business-related purposes throughout State Government, in order to make purchasing more efficient (particularly for small dollar purchases). A standard Procurement Card is not meant for making any travel-related purchases, such as airline or hotel reservations. In order to make travel-related purchases under this program, a State agency must acquire a Travel Card, provided by the State’s vendor US Bank.  

The second most important difference between PCards and Travel Cards are that Travel Cards are not permitted to leave the office with individual employees or travelers. The use of Travel Cards is confined to a State facility, where one or two central cardholders will perform travel-related bookings and charges online or via telephone on behalf of that agency’s travelers. Under no circumstances are State of Maine Travel Cards under this program with US Bank to be used for any food, drink, or incidental purchases, whether those charges relate to travel or not.    

Obtaining a Procurement Card  

Any employee for whom a Procurement Card is going to be requested must first complete the Purchasing Card Application and sign the one-page State of Maine Cardholder Agreement, both of which are located at the Division of Purchases’ website under the “Procurement Cards” page.  In addition to completing both of the aforementioned documents, applicants are expected to complete a series of web-based training (WBT) courses.  The details for how to take these courses (and which courses to take) are also found on the Division of Purchases’ website under the “Procurement Cards” page.  Upon completing the online training, the WBT system will provide the trainee with a certificate of completion.  This certificate, in addition to the aforementioned application and Cardholder Agreement, make up the complete “application package” to receive a State of Maine PCard.  

After an application package has been approved by all parties listed on the application form, the package should then be forwarded to the PCA.  Once the application package has been processed, the individual will be assigned a unique identification and will be sent an e-mail notification with details for receipt and activation of the PCard.  After all documentation is provided, the PCA will order a PCard for the applicant, and the PCard will be mailed directly to the address provided on the new Cardholder’s application form.

It is important to note that regardless of whether or not a department approves the charges the employee(s) have made, the invoice will be paid. Those charges that have not been approved will be flagged and subject to audit review and possible suspension of privileges.  

As mentioned above, prospective Cardholders MUST complete the necessary WBT courses to receive a certificate of completion, and also sign the State of Maine Cardholder Agreement to acknowledge that they have read and understood the Procurement Card Policy before receiving their Procurement Card.

Procurement Cards are not transferable!  If you leave State employment or take a job at another State agency, you must return your card to your APCC stating your last day in current position.  If you need a PCard in your new position, you can request it through your new department. 

 

Maximum Spending Limits on Procurement Cards  

The following limits are the maximum amounts assigned and allowable for a Procurement Card. Departments are welcome to request cards with lower Single Transaction and Monthly Transaction Limits.  

Maximum Single Transaction Limit:                $5,000.00
            Maximum Monthly Transaction Limit:                        $25,000.00

 

Cardholder Transfer within the Same Department  

Cardholders who transfer to a new position within the same department and require the use of a Procurement Card as part of their new duties should continue to use the same card. Cardholders who transfer within the same Department should then provide their APCC with their new default account coding, if applicable.

Cardholder Separation from the State  

Prior to separation from State service, Cardholders must surrender their Procurement Card to their APCC and send any outstanding documentation for charges to the person in your department responsible for approving your charges.

 

Non-Allowable Items  

Your Procurement Card CANNOT be used for the purchase of certain established items; see “Non-Allowable List” located at the Division of Purchases website under the “Procurement Cards” page.

 

Unauthorized and/or Inappropriate Card Use  

The Procurement Card MUST never be used to purchase items for personal use or for non-State purposes, even if the Cardholder intends to reimburse the State.  

Charges for an item CANNOT BE SPLIT (otherwise known as “stacking”) into separate payments to exceed a card's single transaction dollar limit.   It is also inappropriate for the Cardholder to pay for part of the cost of an item with his or her PCard, and then have the Cardholder use an alterative payment method (or seek reimbursement) for the remaining balance.  

A Cardholder who makes an unauthorized purchase with a Procurement Card, or uses the Procurement Card in an inappropriate manner, will be subject to loss of any authority to retain or use the Procurement Card; disciplinary action up to and including termination; and possible criminal prosecution and restitution.

Consequences of Unauthorized and/or Inappropriate Card Use  

The Procurement Card must never be used to purchase items for personal use or for non-State purposes. A Cardholder who makes an unauthorized purchase with the PCard, or uses the card in an inappropriate manner will be subject to disciplinary action including possible card cancellation, termination of employment with the State of Maine, and criminal prosecution.  

  1. If the charge is found to be inappropriate (i.e. should have been purchased from an established contract) and it is the first offense:  Written warning to the Cardholder; additional training will be offered.
  2. Habitual inappropriate use of the card:  Suspension of the card; user, their Approver and the APCC will be notified by e-mail. To reinstate privileges, a memo from a user's Approver and APCC giving adequate justification will be required. Upon receipt and approval of that justification, the Business Office will establish a time for the user to attend Procurement Card training again.
  3. Suspected Fraudulent Purchase:  Suspension of the card; user, their Approver and the APCC will be notified by e-mail. Internal Audit will be notified immediately. Possible criminal prosecution and termination of employment.

Purchase Process  

The Procurement Card may be used to purchase goods in person at the supplier site, over the phone, over secure Internet sites, or by mail. When placing your order in person you will simply give the supplier your Procurement Card as you would any credit card.    

If you are ordering over the phone you should provide your:  

Confirm that the total order, including tax and freight does not exceed $5,000, or the maximum amount allowable per transaction on your card.  

NEVER give your PCard number to someone when the call was not initiated by you!!!  Beware of scams!!!  Please report any suspicious activity to your APCC or the PCA.

 

Merchandise Returns and Exchanges  

When necessary, items should be returned according to vendor specifications. The Cardholder is responsible for ensuring that proper credit is posted for any returned items.

 If merchandise is returned in person, the Cardholder is responsible for obtaining a credit receipt from the merchant and retaining that receipt with other receipts to document the purchase and return. These receipts will then be imaged.  

Receiving cash or checks to resolve a credit is prohibited.  

No exchanges are allowed – the item must be returned for credit and the replacement item purchased separately.

 

Receipts/Documentation  

Whether a purchase is made in person or via telephone, internet, fax, or mail, the Cardholder is responsible for obtaining purchase documentation from the merchant, such as:  

These documents MUST be given to the person in your department who is responsible for approving the electronic charges sent from US Bank.  If your 16-digit account number is printed on the receipt it must be blacked out before being given to the department Approver.  

When charges are approved and reconciled, the document number should be written on the receipt and sent to the administrative person in your department who is responsible for approving your transactions.  

If a Cardholder does not submit the required documentation in the monthly requested time allocation, they will receive a written warning for the first offense.  Habitual failure to submit documentation will result in the suspension of the card; user, their Approver and the Agency Procurement Card Coordinator will be notified by e-mail. To reinstate privileges, a memo from a user's Approver and Agency Procurement Card Coordinator giving adequate justification will be required and all PCard supporting documentation submitted to bring the Cardholder’s reconciliation's up to date. Upon receipt and approval of that justification, the PCA will establish a time for the user to attend Procurement Card training again.  

Documentation MUST be sent to the administrative person in your department who is responsible for making payments of your transactions to support ALL PCard transactions!!! 

No Exceptions!!!  

Payment of Receivable (RE) Processing Credit Card Payments  

1.      The Agency Procurement Card Coordinator will establish procedures to ensure prompt payment of Procurement Card purchases.

2.      Upon receipt of the documentation of a Procurement Card purchase, the Cardholder’s Approver will review the documentation to ensure that it is acceptable under this Policy and that it will permit proper recording of expenditures by account, character, and object. 

3.      The Division of Financial and Personnel Services will submit a receivable (RE) to the Agency for payment of Procurement Card charges.  The Agency must process and make payment within 5 days of receipt of the RE.

4.      Each Cardholder is responsible for ensuring that the Agency or State of Maine receives any item purchased with the Procurement Card and for obtaining receipts and other documentation of transactions made with the Card.

 

Disputing a Charge  

Once a Cardholder notes a discrepancy or error of transaction; the Cardholder must try to resolve the issue with the supplier and if it cannot be resolved, the Cardholder should then begin dispute process online through Access Online or by calling US Bank Customer Service.  

Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Procurement Cards  

Cardholders are required to immediately report any lost or stolen Procurement Card to US Bank toll-free at 1-800-344-5696 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year). The Cardholder MUST also immediately notify his or her APCC at the first opportunity.

Procurement Card Audit Procedures for Approvers  

PCard receipts are to be reviewed for the following concerns:

Lost/Unobtainable Receipt  

If a particular Cardholder appears to be losing or not providing receipts on a recurring basis, the Approver and APCC should send a written warning to the Cardholder that continued lost or unobtainable receipts will result in a 30 to 60 day suspension of card use and/or possibly a permanent suspension. 

Periodic Auditing  

The PCA may periodically run transactions reports for all Departments for review of inappropriate use of cards.  If inappropriate use is determined the Department Approver, the APCC and the Cardholder shall be notified in writing of suspected misuse and will be required to provide explanation of charge(s).  If it is then determined by the PCA that the charge was inappropriate, a warning will be forwarded to the appropriate Department Approver, the APCC, the Cardholder and the Cardholder’s Supervisor.  If it is determined that this is habitual misuse, then permanent suspension could occur.  

All Department Approvers are to run transaction reports monthly of their Cardholders in Access Online to review to ensure that inappropriate use is not occurring.  

Penalty Structure  

Despite the layout of the penalty structure below, the Director of the Division of Purchases, or designee, reserves the right to apply any appropriate penalty within his or her authority, including the permanent suspension of cardholder privileges.  

 Inappropriate Use of Card:  

Splitting (stacking) transaction to avoid single transaction limit of $5,000:  

Making personal purchase or purchase which is inappropriate on State funding with card: 

o    Personal purchases are strictly forbidden; any Cardholder that has made a personal purchase will reimburse the State for the purchase and provide documentation proving reimbursement within two weeks

o    Possible warning letter

o    Potential suspension of privileges

Possible fraudulent use: 

o    PCA immediately to suspend the card

o    PCA, Department Approver and APCC will meet to discuss concerns User is notified in writing by PCA

o    PCA contacts Internal Audit

o    PCA, Department Approver and APCC provide and maintain documentation of all activities relating to fraudulent use

In all cases of inappropriate card use, personal purchases, splitting transactions, etc, Department Approver, APCC and the PCA will document circumstances in detail.  This provides a continuous history of Cardholder activity.  

Department Approvers will keep statistics on results of monthly audit activities.  Spreadsheets and any notes are maintained and are attached to the spreadsheet when review is completed each month.