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ECU Basic Purchasing Procedures

Revised July 23, 2009

I. The University's Materials Management Department has the exclusive responsibility for making all purchase contracts entered into for the University (rental or purchase of real property excepted). This authority covers all supplies, materials, printing, equipment and service.

Note: In accord with the above exclusive responsibility, the following applies to Outside Charge Accounts. 

No department or individual employee of East Carolina University is authorized to open or allowed to establish any type of charge account that obligates University funds or obtain any type of credit card for purchasing goods or services without prior approval by the Department of Materials Management. 

Approval may be requested by sending an email to the Associate Director of Materials Management specifying the type of account being sought, a justification and business need, and the funding source.  Any requests utilizing Foundation funds require approval by the Financial Director of Institutional Trust Funds/Foundations in addition to Materials Management.

Materials Management reserves the right to deny an outside charge account as deemed in the best interest of the University and in accordance with State guidelines.    

II. Competition Not Required/Small Purchases: $5,000.00 or less. Departments should monitor these procurements to guard against abuse and ensure that the dollar value received is commensurate with the dollar amount expended. In addition, it will be at the discretion of the Materials Management department to obtain quotes if deemed in the best interest of the University. Even though competition is not required, a purchase order should be obtained prior to placing the order, and receipt of goods or services.  The ECU ProCard is an approved purchasing method for authorized expenditures up to the cardholder’s single transaction limit.

NOTE:  In accordance with Section IV-1 of the NC Agency Purchasing Manual, departments shall not divide orders in order to keep them under the $5,000.00 small purchase threshold, and thereby avoid the Rules requiring the applicable method for competition.

III.Informal Bids: $5,000.01 to $25,000.00. Bid by Materials Management via State of North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System (IPS) on the internet. Takes two (2) to three (3) weeks after receipt of approved requisition by Materials Management. Even in case of a waiver of competition a written request for quote will be sent to the sole source vendor in order to document firm pricing and terms & conditions.

IV.Formal Bids: $25,000.00-$500,000.00. Bid by Materials Management via State of North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System (IPS) on the internet. Takes approximately 20 days after receipt of approved requisition by Materials Management.

 V.Purchase and Contract Bids: $500,000.00 and above. Must be bid and awarded by the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract. Takes 30- 60 days.

VI.Informal Bids for construction or repair work: Not to exceed $300,000.00. Any construction or repair work in excess of $300,000.00 must be requested by Facilities Services through the Office of State Construction.  All requests for repairs / alterations to a facility must involve ECU Facilities Services.

VII.Standing Order Charge Cards are to be used only by the individual to whom they are issued or their designee which shall be a University employee (includes student assistants), and may be used for identification purposes at primarily local vendors with whom the University has pre-established blanket orders on file. The card holder is responsible for all charges made against their card. Dollar limitations and terms and conditions of the orders shall be adhered to unless exceptions are made by the Materials Management Department.

VIII.Printing: The purchasing procedures for printing are the same as other commodities/services.  It is critical for departments to allow sufficient time for Materials Management's bidding requirements and printer delivery times to ensure printing is performed in a timely manner.

Any work provided by University Printing and Graphics does not require bidding or Materials Management's approval, and we recommend their use for your printing needs. If University Printing and Graphics cannot meet printing requirements, the University is encouraged to use the Department of Corrections if they can satisfy the requirement and the price is competitive. Bid procedures for printing also do not apply to the Department of Corrections.

 IX.State Term Contracts:  The University is required to purchase needed items provided by State Term Contracts from contract vendors. It may be permissible to purchase comparable items from a non-contract source if substantial price savings is documented.  Prior approval should be obtained from Materials Management. N.C. State Term Contracts are accessible via the internet and can be viewed at  For assistance using the contracts, contact Materials Management at 328-6434.

X. ECU ProCard:  Procurement Cards are issued to permanent ECU faculty or staff and are to be used only by the named cardholder. The purchasing card is essentially a corporate VISA card for business use only that allows rapid purchase of low dollar goods and services. Liability rests with the University instead of the individual cardholder. Individuals with approval by their Dean or Department Head may apply for a card and are required to attend a ProCard training session and sign a card use agreement. All state purchasing rules and regulations and University policies apply to ProCard transactions.

XI.HUB Vendors:  A vendor may be classified as a HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) vendor if their business is minority-owned, female-owned, a disabled business enterprise, or a non-profit workshop for the blind or severely disabled.  Departments are encouraged to solicit competition from small and historically underutilized businesses when making any purchase.

If questions arise on proper procedure, the Materials Management Department is available for clarification and assistance.


With increased purchasing flexibility comes increased personal responsibility for ethical behavior, integrity and good stewardship. Employees involved in Purchasing should adhere to the following:

  • Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of the University.
  • Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  • Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Respect each supplier's pricing confidentiality when obtaining quotations.
  • Grant all competitive suppliers equal consideration insofar as state or federal statute and University policy permit.
  • Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
  • Demand honesty in sales representation.
  • Receive consent of originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purchasing purposes.
  • Make every reasonable effort to negotiate an equitable and mutually agreeable settlement with a supplier; and submit any major controversies to Materials Management for resolution.
  • Accord a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions.
  • Foster fair, ethical and legal business practices.