Tax-Levy Purchasing and Procurement

Tax-Levy Purchasing and Procurement

The SPH Purchasing Manager is responsible for overseeing the purchase and procurement of all products and services for the School community; for applying best practices for optimizing cost savings while procuring quality products and services; and for assuring property inventory control and inspections, in compliance with all applicable University, City and State rules and regulations. Purchasing is a vital function, integrally supportive of the School and University’s mission as a premier educational and research institution committed to academic excellence and the provision of equal access and opportunity.

The CUNY Central Office Accounts Payable Department supports the Office of Business Services under a shared services model in processing payments to vendors and travel reimbursements to faculty, staff, students, and guests in a timely, accurate, and efficient manner.

New York State and CUNY have very detailed and specific rules and procedures related to the purchase and procurement of goods and services with tax-levy funds. Before embarking on any purchase, it is important that you consult with your Departmental or Unit Administrator and familiarize yourself with the Purchasing Tips.

Purchasing Resources

Purchasing at SPH

Faculty and staff members who require goods or services using NYS tax levy funds (e.g. department budgets or faculty Start-Up funds) should contact the appropriate Department Administrator:

Toya Cox (toya.cox@sph.cuny.edu)
Community Health and Social Science
Environmental Occupational Health Sciences

Himani Sharma (himani.sharma@sph.cuny.edu)
Health Policy and Management
Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Ana Ballet (ana.ballet@sph.cuny.edu)
HR, Public Safety, Academic Affairs (temporary), Recruitment and Admissions (temporary), Facilities (temporary)

Michelle Finn (michelle.finn@sph.cuny.edu)
Information Technology

Jeanette Rodriguez (Jeanette.rodriguez@sph.cuny.edu) and Paulo Lellis (paulo.lellis@sph.cuny.edu)
Dean’s Office

  • SPH Department and Unit Heads are responsible for prudently planning for anticipated purchases and requesting those goods and services necessary for effective operation (Reference budget planning process).
  • Each Department or Unit Head is responsible for determining the source and availability of funds prior to the initiation of any purchase.
  • Faculty and staff wishing to purchase goods and services (“Requestors”) are permitted to engage in preliminary conversations with potential vendors and to obtain product and vendor information from other users in order to assist them in developing specifications and estimate pricing but may not formally enter into negotiations or contracts with potential vendors. Requestors should provide clear, accurate and detailed descriptions of product specifications. Specifications, including such information as dimensions, materials, capacities, performance, and warranties, must be established and written clearly and unambiguously in order to accurately and objectively compare competing products and services and to ensure acquisition of the desired product. Vendors should be advised that all School purchases must be authorized by an official, signed purchase order.
  • Every Department and Unit at SPH has a designated Administrator who has the authority and responsibility to initiate purchases through CUNYFirst.
  • Employees who require access must request that their supervisors submit a CUNYFirst Procurement User Access Request Form to the SPH Office of Business Services and Finance.
  • The purchasing process begins with the creation of an official Purchase Requisition by the Requestor (End User or Department Administrator or designee) in CUNYfirst.
  • Once funding is determined to be available, the Requestor is responsible for creating a Purchase Requisition. A Purchase Requisition must be filled out in advance of all commitments of expenditures.
  • Every Department and Unit has a designated “Department approver” who is responsible for approving the Purchase Requisition.
  • The Office of Business Services and Finance is responsible for confirming that the funds are available within the correct departmental budget codes to cover the cost of the purchase.
  • Instructions on how to process Purchase Requisitions in CUNYfirst are available on CUNY’s website:
    Creating a Requisition
    Manage Requisitions
    Approve Requisitions
    Cancel Requisition
  • Once the Purchase Requisition passes budget check, the procurement process begins. That is, the process of acquiring goods and services by selecting and vetting vendors, establishing payment terms and negotiating contracts in accordance with applicable policies and procedures.
  • The SPH Purchasing Manager is responsible for determining the appropriate procurement procedure to be followed, such as whether NYS or other existing contracts may be used or if bidding is required, identifying vendors who can provide the required goods and services and, once identified, works with the requestor(s) to assure their needs are met.
  • The SPH Purchasing Manager is the only individual at the School authorized to enter into contracts and agreements with vendors, in accordance with applicable policies and procedures.
  • The SPH Purchasing Manager is responsible for creating Purchase Orders.   
  • SPH is supported by CUNY Central Office Shared Services in facilitating the procurement process and serves as the approver for the Purchase Orders issued by the SPH Purchasing Manager.
  • The SPH Purchasing Manager works closely with the CUNY Central Office to assure that Purchase Orders are approved in CUNYFirst and entered into the New York State Financial System (SFS), so that the selected vendor can provide the requested goods and services.
  • The SPH Purchasing Manager is responsible for forwarding a copy of the purchase order to the requestor and the property manager.
  • The Requestor is responsible for checking the purchase order against the purchase requisition for accuracy and consistency with the expected cost and for contacting the Purchasing Manager immediately if cancellation or modification is required.
  • Upon receipt, the Requestor is responsible for inspecting goods and services for any materials defects and for creating a receipt in CUNYfirst and submitting it along with the Vendor’s packing slip and other supporting documentation in order to process payment.
  • Please make sure all invoices or receipts have the following information on them:
    • Purchase Order Number printed on invoice by vendor or written by end user
    • Receipt Number
    • Printed name with initial or signature of end user or responsible person in the department confirming goods or services received
    • Circle amount to be paid or if paying less than the original amount, the amount must be indicated with a brief explanation
    • Date of approval
    • Okay to Pay and Received printed on the invoice

Please scan and submit through CUNYfirst as well as emailing the approved invoice(s) with the above information back to apreceipts@cuny.edu.

Special Procurement Procedures

Computer hardware and software, telephone and other electronic equipment procurement requires engagement with and approval by the SPH Office of Information and Instructional Technology (IT). Faculty and staff seeking to purchase hardward and software should contact IT (helpdesk@sph.cuny.edu) at the earliest possible stage to obtain guidance and approval. Purchase requisitions for computer hardware and software require approval by IT. Software purchases may also require approval by CUNY’s Office of Computing and Information Services (CIS), and the Office of the General Counsel.

All electronic devices purchased with University-related funds (including tax-levy, RF, NTL, and SPH Foundation funds) belong to the School and must be used in accordance with School and University policies. Individual custodians are responsible for keeping track of their devices and for returning them to the School upon separation.

Furniture and large equipment purchases require engagement with and approval by the SPH Facilities Department (Campus Facilities). Faculty and staff seeking to obtain guidance and approval to purchase furniture and large equipment should contact Campus Facilities (facilities@sph.cuny.edu) at the earliest possible stage to seek assistance. Facilities is responsible for preparing furniture and large equipment acquisitions. Purchase requisitions for furnishings require approval by Campus Facilities.

Under certain circumstances, New York State and the University permit food and beverages to be served at business meetings using tax-levy funds. Such meetings must adhere to the following:

  • Must be regarded as an atypical event and NOT as a routine business practice
  • Meeting must be at least 2 hours in duration during normal meal times and would be disrupted by a meal break
  • Every effort should be made to schedule business meetings during customary business hours and not during times where meals are typically taken
  • The number of attendees must exceed the number for whom food was ordered
  • Attendees must sign in to document their participation
  • A justification is required

For more information, please refer to:
CUNY Guidelines for Meals Served on Premises for Business Meetings

Other Purchasing Topics

Newly hired tenure-track faculty may be awarded tax-levy funding to support them in transitioning their research to CUNY and strategically expand research, with the goal of obtaining external grant funding by the end of the start-up funding period. At the start of each fiscal year, the Executive Director for Business Services and Finance will request that each new faculty receiving start-up funds to develop a spending plan, in consultation with the respective Department Chair and Associate Dean for Research. Expenditures should be tied to specific, anticipated tangible scholarly outcomes (e.g. “gather pilot data that will be used to prepare a grant proposal on HIV risk among Latino MSMs”) that will enhance the faculty member’s research career.

Start-up funds can be used for such activities, good, and services as:

  • purchasing books and other documents
  • travel to professional conferences to present scholarly work
  • purchasing equipment, data, and software (which will be CUNY SPH property)
  • hiring part-time College Assistants or Non-Teaching Adjuncts to assist faculty in research

Start-up funds cannot be used in the following manner:

  • cannot be used to pay a faculty member’s summer salary
  • cannot be rolled over to the next fiscal year or used in conjunction with start-up funds awarded for future years

Please note the following:

  • Must be spent and all goods received, services delivered, and receipts submitted before the end of the fiscal year (before June 30).  To assure timely procurement and delivery, Purchase Requisitions must be submitted before mid-March of the current year.
  • Can be supplemented with additional grant funds or resources, but cannot exceed the amount of start-up funds awarded for this year.
  • Must be spent in accordance with NYS and CUNY purchasing rules and guidelines.

The New York State and the University authorize the use of Procurement Cards (P-Cards) for non-travel related expenditures under certain circumstances, in accordance with NYS and University rules and regulations. SPH has a limited number of P-Cards that are managed through the Office of the Dean and the Senior Associate Dean for Administration. For more information about allowable and prohibited purchases and procedures, see CUNY P-Card Compliance. If your Department requires purchases with a P-Card, please contact your Department Administrator. If you purchase items using a P-Card, you must keep a record of hte receipt and purpose and make sure that the reconciliation process is completed in a timely fashion. The Office of Business Services and Finance is responsible for managing access and usage of P-Cards.

Please check back soon for information on returns.

Research Foundation Purchasing

For information on Research Foundation purchasing, please visit this page.