Subject: Sunsetting of Enhanced Procurement Approval Requirements
To: Staff and faculty
July 8, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

In June 2020, our campus implemented a series of cost-savings measures through elevated approval requirements on many categories of procurement purchases.

These restrictions limited some non-essential purchases and required deans or division heads to approve others, to ensure spending focused on mission-critical research, teaching and public service.

Over the past year, UC Merced has created new systems and moved to strategic measures to align budgets with available funds while ensuring that our limited resources are allocated as effectively as possible. Specifically, we implemented the Oracle and Concur platforms, which allow for greater transactional control and visibility while enabling strategic planning and budgeting efforts.

We know these caused some short-term challenges across campus and we apologize for those. However, these systems have moved the campus forward on many fronts and will continue to support our goals as we more fully utilize their capabilities.

We have also transitioned to a strategic approach to budget management for operational expenses as well as allocation of available resources for personnel needs.

Because of these changes, we are eliminating several of the controls we implemented last year.

Effective today:
  • All purchases and contracts of $5,000 or more will no longer require division-head or dean approval prior to purchase. Required department level approvals will be managed through the Fiscal Approval workflow step in Oracle which deans and division heads can assign and update at their discretion.
  • All professional services and consulting agreements of any value will no longer require division-level or dean approval prior to purchase. These approvals will also be managed through the Oracle Fiscal Approver role assigned by the dean or division head.
  • Make every effort to adopt digital means of communicating and storing documents. If printing is necessary, use a shared printing/multi-functional device where possible. However, purchasing of desktop printers and supplies is no longer limited but is strongly discouraged.
  • Catering and events should be limited. However, they are no longer prohibited as long as they comply with campus COVID-related rules. The use of internal catering is strongly encouraged. Further guidelines to ensure compliance with contracting-out requirements will be forthcoming.
  • Limit purchases of bottled water and water coolers, but these are no longer prohibited.
  • All purchases of print and marketing materials will no longer require approval by the division head or dean. Materials prepared for external distribution still require review by External Relations for branding and appropriateness; ER can also advise on less expensive digital options.

While restrictions are being lifted, departments must implement appropriate controls on spending to keep it within budget and ensure funds are prioritized and aligned with our mission. Departments should fully use existing resources before considering purchases or vendors and assign appropriate approval authorities for all Oracle and Concur workflow steps.

We appreciate your partnership in helping UC Merced return to a fiscally responsible path.

Kurt Schnier
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
Josh Dubroff
Chief Procurement Officer