What is Contracting?
Contracting occurs whenever the University executes an agreement or contract with an entity outside to the University. That includes not only companies but the ASI, CPSU Foundation, City or County of San Luis Obispo, and other state agencies.
What is a Contract?
This includes things as simple as a city park use application to as complex as the construction of a major facility on campus. Anytime the University is one of the contracting entities, the only person who can sign the contract for the University is a "Contracting Officer." Examples of contracts and agreements are purchase orders, license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, purchase contracts, leases, permits, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), use agreements, release agreements, and standard agreements. Campus Administrative Policy 372 states that "[a]ll agreements between the University and another person, firm or organization, which involve receiving money, property, the use of tangible or intangible property, in exchange for University property or contingent on some performance by the University, shall require the review, approval and execution of appropriate contractual instruments by a duly authorized University contracting officer."
Contracting authority at Cal Poly is derived from a CSU Trustees delegation to the Chancellor who delegates authority to each campus President who in turn delegates within the campus. Campus Administrative Policy 371 states that "[o]nly a duly authorized contracting and procurement officer of the University may bind the University contractually with outside entities, agencies, and organizations."
The primary Contracting Officer for the University is Dru Zachmeyer, the Assistant Vice President of Strategic Business Services. Besides the procurement authority delegated to the Staff within the department, there are six (6) other Contracting Officers for the University including the President, Provost, VP AFD, AVP Finance, AVP Administration, and the Executive Assistant to the President.
Why Restrict Who Can Sign Contracts?
The State, when establishing the CSU, wanted to put controls in place to protect the CSU system and ultimately, the State itself. Cal Poly respects that requirement and limits contracting authority to reduce risks.
What is Required in a Contract?
In its simplest form, a contract is established when you have at least two competent parties and an offer and acceptance (i.e. a meeting of the minds). The CSU sets standards that are to be used when contracting and our standard agreement forms incorporate those requirements. Many of the requirements are statutory and many are just good business practice based on common law.
Where to Go for Help with Contracts?
Contact Dru Zachmeyer, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Business Services for help and advice. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at 805-756-6473. Remember, never sign a contract that binds the University without a countersignature by a Contracting Officer.