Responsible Executive(s):

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer, and the General Counsel

Responsible Office(s):

Business Services

Controller’s Office


Director of Business Services; Controller

Effective Date:

September 1, 2017

I. Policy Overview

Middlebury believes that the strategic stewardship of Institution resources is best accomplished by dedicated employees empowered to make prudent spending and buying decisions in their specific areas of responsibility within the constraints of rigorous institutional financial controls.

This philosophy translates to an approach to procurement that supports cost-effective acquisition of goods and services essential to the Institution’s mission by faculty, administrators, and staff in an environment of consistent and prudent fiscal controls and diligent administrative oversight.

II. Who is Affected By This Policy

All employees of the institution known as the President and Fellows of Middlebury College, in all schools and programs, whenever entering into or negotiating contracts for goods or services for the institution.

III. Policy

a. Competitive Bids 

Competing bids should be obtained for all purchases of goods or services, irrespective of funding source, according to the parameters and requirements outlined below.

i. Competitive Bid Requirements:

Up to and Including $10,000 No Quotes Required; Department heads and others authorized to purchase for their departments or for the Institution’s general use may use their discretion to secure the most cost-effective goods and services for the Institution’s operations.

$10,001–$25,000 Minimum 2 (Verbal) Quotes; Quotes may be confirmed in writing, by telephone, or by e-mail and may be informal or in response to a formal request for quotation (excepting service contracts, which must be bid in written form). The requisitioner will solicit bids directly. Minimum records of bids solicited, received, and retained for audit by the Controller’s Office should include: Supplier Name, Person Offering Quote, Date, Quote Price, Quoted Service, and Commodity Quoted.

Greater than $25,000 All purchases over $25,000 require 3 quotes (from responsible vendors) the quotes must be submitted in writing.

Construction/Maintenance/Renovation Projects All projects related to construction and/or renovation on any Middlebury campus must be reviewed, authorized, and managed Facilities Management. All projects where total construction costs equal or exceed $100,000 require 3 quotes from qualified General Contractors identified by Facilities Management. Where Federal funds are used to subsidize a project in whole or in part quotes, must be obtained when the project cost exceeds $2,500.

Value of contracts/bids can affect the signing authority (please see Contracting Policy)

When architectural and/or design fees for a project will exceed a $100,000 threshold, similar bid requirements should be observed for this aspect of the project, except in cases where a formal design competition has been held or a single architect has been identified by the Board of Trustees and/or a major donor with the approval of the Board.

Solicitations for bids should provide all requirements that the bidder must fulfill to have a bid fairly evaluated by the Institution including clear and accurate descriptions of any technical requirements. Information provided in the bid solicitation should include (but not be limited to) quantity, description, delivery requirements, special conditions, drawings, specifications, post delivery service requirements, and due dates/times for bid submission.

In the evaluation of quotes, consideration will be given but not necessarily limited to: price; bidder’s previous record of performance; bidder’s availability under Institution scheduling requirements; quality and conformance to specification; delivery schedules; life cycle projections; and warranties.

b. Sole Source Procurement

In certain special circumstances, one supplier of goods or services (a ‘Sole Source’) may offer a unique product or a singular service capability not otherwise available in the competitive marketplace via a competitive bidding process.

i. Sole Source Procurements Requirements:

Where Sole Source Procurement is initiated at the departmental level, written documentation to justify a waiver of the competitive bidding policy is required to establish the basis for awarding the purchase to a sole source and substantiate that the non-competitive price was fair and reasonable under the special circumstances.

At a minimum, a single source purchase which would otherwise require formal or informal bids by virtue of the dollar value (>$10,000) should be justified on the Institution’s Sole Source Purchase Justification Form. The purchase should be effected using either the Verbal Quote process above; the standard Requisition & Purchase Order forms; or a purchase via the Middlebury VISA Procurement Card. A copy of the Sole Source Justification Form should be mailed or faxed to the Office of Business Services procurement staff at the time the purchase is finalized.

c. Legal and Ethical Conduct

It is the policy of Middlebury to comply with all laws governing its operation, to conduct its affairs in keeping with the highest moral, legal and ethical standards, and to assure that its employees do not seek to realize personal profits from their positions with the Institution. (Additional information can be found at “Miscellaneous Policies: Code of Conduct for Employees”)

i. Conflict of Interest

Conflict of interest is defined as a situation in which an employee engages in personal activity which potentially injures or takes advantage of the Institution with the objective of realizing personal profit. Examples of conflict of interest situations include a Institution employee working for the Institution as an outside vendor, use of information considered confidential or privileged by the Institution for the benefit of a person or entity outside the Institution, use of Institution discounts for personal benefit or soliciting for oneself or a third party anything of value from any person or entity in return for contracting business or services on behalf of the Institution.

In order to avoid such conflict of interest, any business enterprise in which a Middlebury employee has either a significant interest or a close familial relationship must be approved in advance by the Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration and Treasurer in order to solicit business with the Institution. Additionally, if an employee is in a position to directly or indirectly influence the award of Institution business to such firm, his or her relationship or interest must be disclosed in advance to the Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration and Treasurer before any award of business by the Institution to that firm.

While an employee’s involvement with or interest in a firm may not, after review, result in the disqualification of a firm, full disclosure of any potential conflict of interest is essential to prevent such involvement from becoming a real, undisclosed violation of this policy.

ii. Acceptance of Gifts

Middlebury employees are prohibited from accepting gifts, travel and accommodations or entertainment at country clubs or resorts provided by vendors with whom the Institution transacts business or who are soliciting Institution business, with the sole exception of de-minimis gifts of an advertising nature which are distributed to all potential or established customers.

iii. Entertainment

Middlebury employees should not accept purely social entertainment offered or sponsored by suppliers. However, entertainment shall not be construed to encompass an occasional business meal or function where Middlebury stands to benefit from or improve the terms of the supplier relationship.

d. Emphasis on Local, Minority-Owned and Environmentally Committed Vendors:

Middlebury has traditionally emphasized placing Institution business with local firms. Reflecting the Institution’s commitment to comprehensive environmental stewardship, Middlebury similarly emphasizes sourcing from firms whose services and products:

(1) further Middlebury’s stewardship goals

(2) Demonstrate superior long term sustainability, energy efficiency, and pollution minimization in product production and usage life cycles.

In addition, Middlebury has an articulated commitment to institutional diversity across lines of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation. The Institution therefore encourages the placing of its business with firms and individuals representative, especially in terms of ownership or management, of these goals of institutional diversity.

Preferential sourcing from local suppliers for Institution needs should be driven by more than geographic proximity. Where local vendors are unable to offer superior pricing to the Institution, other qualitative factors such as product quality, delivery, service, after­ sale support, and terms should be considered to determine if local sourcing provides equal or superior overall competitiveness with large chain and industrial vendors.

Institution business, moreover, should be viewed by local vendors as something to be earned and not an entitlement. Personnel making purchasing decisions for the Institution should monitor local vendor relationships closely to assure that preferential, long-term relationships remain demonstrably competitive.

With respect to purchasing decisions where heavy emphasis is given to environmental impact factors over pure pricing, departments and individuals need to also• keep in view their fiscal stewardship obligations to parents, alumni, and donors in making the Middlebury educational experience accessible and affordable.

Enterprise Risk Management
Old Chapel
Middlebury, VT 05753