Conflict Of Interest (COI)
A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a faculty or staff member may have the opportunity to influence university administrative, business, or academic decisions in ways that could lead to personal gain, give improper advantage to self or others, or interfere with objective preservation, generation, or public dissemination of knowledge.
Departments must ensure approval by the Chancellor or designee of any documented COI.
Any attempt to acquire personal gain through public employment by conduct inconsistent with the proper discharge of the employee’s duties is a breach of public trust. It is a breach of ethical standards for any employee to: participate directly or indirectly in any matter pertaining to any contract, subcontract, or purchase order in which the employee or any member of his/her immediate family has a financial interest. Immediate family is defined as spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. Direct or indirect participation includes involvement through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, preparation of any part of a procurement request (requisition or request for bid), influencing the content of any specification, rendering of advice, investigation, auditing, or in any other advisory capacity.
Any employee who benefits, in any way, from a State contract with a business in which the employee has a financial interest shall report such benefit to the Director of the Department of Finance and Administration.
Pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated §19-11-709, it shall be a breach of ethical standards for any former employee, unless the former employee’s last annual salary did not exceed $15,000 to engage in selling or attempting to sell commodities or services, including technical or professional consulting services, to the state for one (1) year following the date employment ceased.
Any employee or non-employee who knowingly violates any of the ethical standards described shall be guilty of a felony, and upon conviction, shall be fined in a sum not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or shall be imprisoned in a penitentiary for no less than one (1) or no more than five (5) years, or shall be fined and imprisoned as outlined above.
Gifts, Gift Cards, Awards, and Prizes
Expenditures of this type fall under Board Policy 260.1 for “Official Functions” designations and associated expenditures. The procurement policy is to allow such expenditures under this Board of Trustees policy using the following procedures:
- P-cards should be used for the purchase of gift cards or prizes. You must complete the gift card request process and follow the instructions provided in the gift card procedures below.
- Purchase order, expense reports for personal reimbursements, or supplier invoice requests (SINVR) are not permitted for these types of purchases without prior approval from Procurement Services.
- Cash Prizes (outside of Gift Cards) are not recommended or preferred.
Expenditures for official functions for gift cards, awards, and prizes are not the same as gifts. Gifts to individuals are not allowed by Procurement Services, with the exception of “Promotional Items” as stated in the OSP Promotional Items Policy and gifts in lieu of payment for services or awards that fall under one of the categories below:
- Research incentive
- Student award (i.e.: placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, in Poetry contest)
- Drawing at an Athletic or Student Event (i.e., drawing a seat or ticket number)
- University-sponsored award and recognition as defined and approved by the Chancellor.
Expenditures for official functions (gift cards/awards/prizes) are not the same as gifts. Gifts to individuals are not allowed by the Procurement Department, with the exception of “Promotional Items” as stated in OSP Promotional Items Policy, and gifts in lieu of payment for speaking engagements. Gifts for employees are not allowed.
Gifts to employees are not allowed. In most instances, employees will not qualify for a gift card, unless the employee has been picked as part of a research incentive or random drawing event such as an athletic event. If that is the case, the employee will be taxed on the gift card value through Payroll.
The following items may be purchased with state-appropriated funds (OSP State Procurement memorandum):
- Plaques for student achievements.
- Plaques for board or commission members upon the termination of service on a board or commission.
- Promotional items are specifically authorized by language in a state or federal grant.
- Items purchased, the cost of which is reimbursed by students or student organizations.
Employees who qualify for a gift card will be taxed through Payroll regardless of the dollar amount, other recipients will receive a 1099-MISC form IF the total amount of payments for the individual reaches a dollar amount of $600. If the total dollar amount a non-employee receives is less than $600, it is the responsibility of the individual to report these earnings.
Please note: If you have a winner of a prize or award that is not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, the award or prize must be made through Payroll or Accounts Payable in order to withhold the appropriate amount of federal tax. You will work with the team in Human Resources that works with Nonresident Aliens for U.S. Tax Purposes. You cannot give a gift card for a prize or award to a foreign national because of the required federal tax withholding.
Gift cards, shopping cards, and gift certificates are considered cash equivalents, therefore it is important that organizational units handle and account for these cards appropriately.
Prizes are treated similarly to gift cards, in that they must be pre-approved for purchase and you must keep records of recipients. Here are some guidelines on classifying purchases of items to be given away:
Are you purchasing something for a recipient who has already been determined?
If so, this is a gift. Gifts are allowable in the following cases:
- Items given to a speaker at an event in lieu of speaking fees
- Plaques given to students in commemoration of their achievements
- Plaques given to board or committee members upon termination of service on a board or committee
If you believe you have an allowable reason for purchasing a gift that is not listed above, please contact Procurement Services before you make the purchase.
Will the item you are purchasing be given out at an event indiscriminately, to anyone who wants it?
If so, this is a “giveaway” item and does not require prior approval unless it bears the marks and logos of the university, department, or organization. If you are purchasing “giveaway” items for an event that you’re hosting then the cost of the items should be included on the Official Function Form.
Will the item you’re purchasing be given out to individuals randomly chosen at an Official Function?
If so, this is a prize. Prizes may be raffled out to attendees of an event, or distributed to participants in a study or similar project. Prizes must be pre-approved by procurement services, and you must record the recipients and submit that information on the Disbursement List form.
Gift Card and Prize Approval and Purchase Process:
Gift cards and prizes may be purchased with the following procedure:
- Prior to purchase, written approval must be obtained from the Director of Procurement Services or designee. Requests for approval to purchase gift cards, shopping cards, gift certificates, prizes, etc., should include:
- Merchant of gift cards, or prize description
- Number of cards, certificates, or prizes needed
- Amount of the cards or certificates, or prize value
- Their purpose and the event associated with the purchase (if applicable)
- Who will be receiving the cards, certificates, or prizes (faculty, staff, students, etc.)
- Method of procurement (requisition or P-Card) and type of funds that will be used to purchase the gift cards or prizes.
- Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and evaluated on the appropriateness of the request in support of the university/departmental mission. If the request is approved, a Procurement representative will email written approval to attach to the Workday requisition or P-card verification.
- Gift cards are then purchased by the department and must be kept in a secure location until they are dispersed.
- When gift cards are distributed, each recipient is to sign the Gift Card disbursement log. A new log should be provided for each individual purchase. All information must be filled out on this form including:
- Description of prize or last 4 digits of gift card number;
- Dollar value of card/prize;
- Employee or Student ID (if applicable);
- Printed name and signature of the recipient;
- If the gift card/ prize was dispersed digitally or a signature is not obtained, the department must collect the recipient’s acknowledgment of the gift card receipt (signature, e-signature, email, etc.) The memo must include the recipient’s name, the title of the event, and the date of gift card relinquishment.
- All documentation must be attached to the supporting Workday process. The following documentation must be included:
- Written approval to purchase gift cards;
- Receipts from vendor where gift cards were purchased;
- Disbursement log, or proof of disbursement;
- If your study will be confidential and anonymous for research purposes a letter from the PI will be required stating such. The number of cards and dollar amounts of all cards given out will still be required by the Procurement Office. The researcher will need to keep all confidential files for their own records.
- In the rare event that all cards purchased were not able to be disbursed, the number of cards, last four digits of card numbers, and an explanation of where the cards are being stored must be provided with your documentation and reported, in writing to the dean’s office and Procurement.
- Failure to comply with any of these steps will result in immediate suspension of the cardholder’s P-card and must be reimbursed.
Methods of Procurement
Minority and Women-Owned Business Policy
It is the policy of the State of Arkansas to support equal opportunity as well as economic development in every sector. In accordance with the Minority and Women-Owned Business Economic Development Act, UA Little Rock shall support, to the fullest extent possible, the participation of companies owned and controlled by minority persons and women in state-funded and state-directed public construction programs and in the purchase of goods and services to meet an annual goal of fifteen percent (15%) of the total expended:
- Ten percent (10%) for minority business enterprises with two percent (2%) allocated for service-disabled veteran-owned minority business enterprises, eight percent (8%) for all other minority business enterprises, and five percent (5%) for women-owned business enterprises
Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 19-11-229, 19-11-230, and 22-9-203 the State of Arkansas encourages all small, minority, and women-owned business enterprises to submit competitive sealed bids and proposals for university projects, including capital improvement projects. Encouragement is also made to all general contractors that subcontract portions of their work as consideration is given to the identified groups.
All employees of the university are encouraged to assist in this very important program by utilizing the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Minority and Women-Owned Business Directory to research businesses by name, description, etc. and to help facilitate your bid requests (including competitive quote bids). If you are aware of any minority firms that can provide goods or services to the university, please contact Procurement Services.
NOTE: Purchases of up to $40,000 can be made without competitive solicitation if using an AEDC certified minority business or AEDC certified women-owned business enterprise.
Minority-Owned Business is defined by Arkansas Code Annotated § 15-4-303 as a business that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one (1) or more minority persons who are lawful permanent residents of the State of Arkansas:
- African American
- Hispanic American
- American Indian
- Pacific Islander American
- Asian American
- A Service-Disabled Veteran as designated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Women-Owned Business is defined by Act 1080 of the 91st General Assembly Regular Session 2017 as a business that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one (1) or more women who are lawful permanent residents of the State of Arkansas.
The AEDC conducts a certification process for minority-owned and women-owned businesses. If certified, the Prospective Contractor’s Certification Number should be included with quotes or on the bid signature page.
The AEDC encourages the employment of small business and minority business enterprises pursuant to the provisions of Part 19 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
Events that fit one or more of the categories listed below fall within the Official Functions designation as outlined in Board Policy 260.1:
- Meetings of institutional departments, committees, and advisory groups
- Official faculty and staff functions
- Student functions
- Official Board functions
- Miscellaneous functions in support of the University’s mission not obviously fitting one of these categories
When asking for reimbursement for meals that fall under the Official Function Policy 260.1, an itemized meal receipt is always required. Any gratuity, regardless of the description, shall not exceed 20% of the total bill without authorization and approval by the Agency Procurement Officer, Cost Center Manager, Associate Vice Chancellor, or Travel Administrator. When requesting approval for an exception to the gratuity policy, the rationale for the increased amount must be included for consideration.
Special meeting forms are required for official functions not held on the UA Little Rock main campus when purchasing food.
Sodexo waivers are required for official functions held on the UA Little Rock main campus.
UA Little Rock employees are prohibited from taking advantage of the university’s procurement process (Purchase Order, P-Card, reimbursement, or charging of any kind to university accounts) to procure goods or services for personal use or consumption. In addition, under no circumstances should the university’s Tax I.D. number be used to set up an account for personal purchases.
Items falling in this category include, but are not limited to:
- Aspirin, etc. for general day-to-day use
- Coffee makers and supplies
- Coffee service
- Cooking appliances
- Flowers (except for official university functions)
- Refrigerator Units
- Supplies and food for office parties or non-student break areas
Under state law 19-4-1206, no payment should be made for goods or services prior to receipt of the goods or performance of the service.
All types of purchases from university accounts are subject to regulations and procedures as stipulated in Arkansas statutes. Procurement Services is the sole purchasing authority for the university. Purchases not authorized by this authority are not legal obligations of the university. Any individual making a purchase without proper authority first being given is assuming a personal obligation to the supplier for which he/she may be held personally liable.
Ratification of Non-Compliant Purchase
Any purchase for goods or services made without adhering to state procurement laws and regulations is an illegal purchase. When it is apparent that something was procured incorrectly the buyer will request a justification memo to include the following information:
- Explain why procurement procedures were not followed.
- List what was purchased, including total cost and supplier name.
- List the steps being put in place to prevent a recurring offense.
Once the request is submitted to procurement services it will be reviewed and approved, if and only if, it meets the following two criteria:
- The person who completed the purchase did not act fraudulently or in bad faith, and
- Doing so is in the best interest of the university.
If the request is approved the purchase will be ratified and affirmed allowing payment of invoices through the Workday requisition type Check with Order – Bill Only. The approval and invoice must be attached to the requisition. If the request is not approved the person responsible for the purchase will be held accountable for payment.
State law requires that all procurement records, including purchase orders, contracts, and all backup documentation be kept on file for a minimum of five years. Files for all purchase orders and contracts executed and administered by Procurement Services will be maintained by Procurement Services for the required period.
The role of Procurement Services is to provide administrative support to the campus for authorizing the purchase of goods and services in accordance with the State of Arkansas Procurement Law and Procedures (Arkansas Code of 1987, Title 19, Chapter 11). Our main objective is to offer the highest level of customer service to the campus community and to support the educational mission of UA Little Rock while maintaining compliance at all times with state and federal laws, university policies, and ethical guidelines.
To achieve this, Procurement Services is charged with the responsibility for the following:
- Authorize procurement of goods and services needed for official business or are necessary for the efficient maintenance and operation of the university
- Assist requestors with supplier selection and methods of solicitation for obtaining best prices
- Creating, evaluating, and processing competitive quote and formal bids
- Provide purchasing support concerning requisitions, purchase orders, and payments to suppliers
- Ensure compliance with all purchasing laws, policies, and regulations of the State of Arkansas and the UA System
- Administer the P-Card program and provide P-Card training
- Administer travel programs and procedures and provide travel training
To attain compliance with these procurement procedures it is essential that there exists a high degree of cooperation between end-user departments and Procurement Services. The following are cited as representative of the types of responsibilities of end-user departments to assure the most efficient service from procurement services:
- Anticipate requirements for goods and services and to communicate such requirements to Procurement Services far enough in advance to allow for appropriate procurement methods and processes to be completed.
- Seasonal constraints (e.g. annual model change-overs by automobile manufacturers, seasonal workloads of service providers, etc.) must also be considered when applicable.
- Provide accurate and complete information for purchasing requests.
- Inform Procurement Services of unusual projects, scheduled maintenance, etc. that will require assistance from Procurement staff members.
- Notify Procurement Services of any and all instances of non-performance or delays in deliveries. Reports should be detailed, comprehensive, and accurate in order to support any legal or debarment actions which may follow.
UA Little Rock is not exempt from paying sales or use tax except on those items that are specifically exempt by law. If an out-of-state supplier is not set up to collect Arkansas sales tax, this amount will be accrued and remitted to the State of Arkansas, Department of Finance & Administration.
Any contracts, lease agreements, maintenance agreements, and other purchasing documents are secondary to a purchase order and may only be signed by those individuals listed under UA Little Rock Policy 217.1 Signatory Authority. No other individual may sign on behalf of the university.
Regardless of dollar value, university property may not be traded, sold, salvaged, destroyed, transferred to other state agencies, or cannibalized without the prior approval of Marketing & Redistribution (M&R).
The Marketing and Redistribution form must be submitted to the Surplus Manager for each item to be traded, sold, salvaged, destroyed, transferred to other state agencies, or cannibalized. Include the manufacturer, model, description, serial number, and Inventory Tag Number (if one exists). Requests for a donation of surplus property must receive the permission of the Office of State Procurement.
Note: Equipment purchased using a grant may have additional requirements. Please contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for assistance.
Types of Procurement
Year-End (End of Fiscal Year)
The end of a fiscal year (FY) is on June 30th of each year, thus the expenditure of funds for each fiscal year must be made on or before this date. In addition, the items or services must have been received on or before this date to be eligible for payment out of the current fiscal year funds.
Notifications are sent out each year, reminding employees of deadlines for purchase requisitions and P-Card purchases. These deadlines involve cutting off spending by a particular date in order to ensure proper fiscal year processing and receipt of goods.
Planning ahead by all areas is essential in order for Procurement Services to meet departmental requirements.
Full details pertaining to year-end spending can be found HERE.