Section 5: Negotiated or Non-Bid Purchases

Section Table of Contents
  1. Purchasing Card Purchases
    1. Key Terms
    2. Receiving A Purchasing Card
    3. Authorized Purchasing Card Use
    4. Purchase of Travel Services
    5. Purchase of Contracted Goods and Services
    6. Unauthorized Purchasing Card Use
    7. Making a Purchase
    8. Purchasing Cardholder Record Keeping
    9. Review and Reconciliation of Expense Report
    10. Expense Reports
    11. Purchasing Card Security
    12. Purchasing Cardholder Separation
    13. Review and Internal Audit
    14. Termination of Purchasing Card Privileges
    15. Purchasing Cardholder Responsibilities
    16. Department Reviewer / Approver Responsibilities
    17. Purchasing Card Program Specialist Responsibilities
    18. County Auditor Responsibilities
    19. Purchasing Card Restrictions
A. Items Less than $50,000

According to Texas Local Government Code, §262.011(d), the Purchasing Agent sets the procedures and is authorized to select and purchase goods and services that are less than $50,000 to meet the needs of departments. The Purchasing Agent is authorized to select the vendor and to complete all actions necessary to execute a contract without specific Commissioners Court approval.

See http://www.co.fannin.tx.us/ips/export/sites/fannin/downloads/purchasing/job_descript.pdf for additional information.

The Bexar County Purchasing Agent has identified that although competition is not required, employees will obtain competitive quotes when deemed necessary. In a cooperative effort to ensure technology compliance, the Purchasing Department will actively include the Bexar County Information Services Department (BCIT) when any acquisition involves information technology (I/T) related products such as: hardware, software, or I/T support services. At the receipt of any request for Purchasing Department participation that may result in an acquisition involving an I/T component, the Purchasing Department, to the best of its ability, will determine if this requirement has any I/T implications. If it so determined, the Purchasing Department will notify BCIS as part of the acquisition process. Although competition is not required, the Purchasing Department recommends cost comparison and use of SMWBEs whenever possible.

Departments are encouraged to utilize a list of SMWBEs by contacting the SMWBE Program Office, Purchasing Department or accessing the vendor list on the County finance system.


B. Items less than $1,000

Purchasing Department staff will review submitted Requisitions for accuracy. This includes verifying the department recommended vendor and the vendor’s pricing and delivery methods. Purchasing Department staff will assist Departments and Offices with product/service and vendor search if necessary. Purchasing Department staff, after verifying all information within the Requisition, will issue the Purchase Order without further competition.


C. Items between $1,000 and $2,499

Purchasing Department staff will verify all information within the submitted requisition for accuracy. The Purchasing Department staff will utilize a “vendor ration” process through the Contract Diversity Management System (CDMS). Vendors will be exported from CDMS based on Commodity or Service into an Excel Spreadsheet. Purchasing Department staff will use the Requisition recommended vendor to include the top two vendors from the exported file to obtain a total of three (3) quotes. The lowest quote will be issued a Purchase Order. The process will continue when another Requisition is submitted for the same commodity or service by soliciting the next two (2) vendors on the exported file thereby providing a vendor rotation process. Commodities or Services that are on contract or Cooperative Agreement will be processed without competition or vendor rotation.


D. Items between $2,500 and $49,999

For items that exceed $2,500 but are less than $50,000, the Purchasing Department will attempt to obtain competition (minimum of three sources) by one of the following methods. The method selected will depend on the complexity of the specifications, and, the criticality of purchase or delivery requirements. SWMBE’s will be asked to participate in the acquisition process in accordance with the Bexar County Administrative Policy 8.0.

  • Request For Quote (written, fax, telephone).
  • Recommended methods for obtaining competition include:
  • Use of other local government contracts or cooperative agreements
  • Use of Invitation For Bids/Request For Proposals
  • Posting notification on Internet based Purchasing Notification System Texas E-Purchasing Group (TEG).
  • Export vendors from the Contract Diversity Management System (CDMS)

In general, all items above $2,500 are advertised on the TEG system located at http://www.govbids.com/scripts/teg/public/OpenBids/SelectAgency.asp.The Purchasing Department will also send bid information to vendors that are on the automated bidder’s list. Competitive bids are the preferred method used for items that exceed $50,000.

Departments will use a requisition for this type of purchase. The requisition will be processed using the steps identified in Section 4(A) and should include the data elements identified in Section 4(B) of this Manual. In preparing the requisition, the Department will identify and develop specifications for the item in as much detail as possible and will identify suggested vendors from whom the item can be obtained.

The Purchasing Department will use the detail in the requisition to develop the materials to solicit a quote or competitive bid. If a Request for Quote solicitation method is used, Purchasing will document the following information received from the vendor on a request for quote form:

  • vendor name and address;
  • item description (this should be as detailed as possible);
  • required quantity;
  • required delivery date; and
  • terms and conditions of purchase (price, shipping terms, etc.).
If a competitive process is used, the vendor will submit the bid using the prescribed forms. The Purchasing Department will address any deviations to the County bid forms or proposal document terms and conditions with a legal representative from the County District Attorney’s Office. No County employee may award a contract or supplier legal document that contains terms and conditions not previously approved by an authorized legal representative.


E. Emergency Purchases

The purchase of any goods or services needed because of an emergency condition shall comply with the provisions of the Texas Local Government Code, §262.024(a) (1), which allows the Commissioners Court to exempt procurement for an emergency defined as:

  • an item that must be purchased in a case of public calamity if it is necessary to make the purchase promptly to relieve the necessity of the citizens or to preserve the property of the county;
  • an item necessary to preserve or protect the public health or safety of the residents of the county; or
  • an item necessary because of unforeseen damage to public property.
See http://www.lawserver.com/law/state/tx-codes/texas_local-government-code-252-024 for more information on exempted procurements based on an emergency.

Note: Procurements needed to prevent a work stoppage are not an emergency. These are expedited procurements and are covered in Section 5(G) of this Manual.

All emergency exemption orders must be processed through the Purchasing Department. For items less than $50,000, the Purchasing Agent will authorize any action to be taken. For items that exceed $50,000, the Purchasing Agent will submit the order and agenda item for Commissioners Court approval. Exhibit 7 outlines the procedures for processing an emergency purchase during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).


Exhibit 7: Emergency Purchase Procedures (Normal Business Hours)

Step

Responsibility

Output

Contact the Purchasing Department for immediate purchasing assistance. Purchasing Department (335-2211)

Department

Telephone or e-mail

Coordinate funding with Auditor’s Office.

Department and Auditor’s Office

See Exhibit 4 of Manual for requisition information requirements

Provide written justification to Purchasing Department (preferably e-mail) with full details documenting emergency and requirement. Justification shall include:

description of the current situation;

description of good or service required;

absolute latest acquisition time that good/service can be purchased without injury or loss to property and/or life; and

consequences if emergency procurement is not processed within timetable.

Department

Written memorandum or E-mail

Determine proper sourcing method based on justification provided

Purchasing or Department

 

Contact source(s) based on time permitted. Methods followed include:

Immediate danger. Contact vendor.

Time permits. Contact the number of vendors considering the nature of the emergency and consistent with the SMWBE Administrative Policy 8.0.

Purchasing or Department

Documentation of method used and vendor(s) contacted

Process requisition into a Purchase Order.

Purchasing Department

Purchase Order

Send Purchase Order to vendor confirming order, file, and distribute remaining copies.

Purchasing Department

Purchase Order copies

Monitor performance and accept goods and/or services.

Purchasing Department

 

Develop exemption order and submit agenda item for Commissioners Court approval (items exceeding $50,000 only)

Purchasing Department

Exemption Order and Court Agenda Item


For after-hours (Monday through Friday, before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m., nights, holidays and weekends) emergency purchases, the Department should at a minimum contact the Purchasing Department using the after-hours contact numbers. The Department should handle the procurement based on the emergency. On the first working day after the emergency purchase, the Department must enter a purchase requisition into the AFS System and provide written documentation to the Purchasing Agent concerning the details of the emergency purchase.

Failure to promptly notify the Purchasing Department and input a requisition for the emergency could affect the County’s ability to approve the claim for payment. Exhibit 8 outlines the procedures for processing an “after-hours” emergency purchase.


Exhibit 8: After-Hours Emergency Purchase Procedures

Step

Responsibility

Output

Contact the Purchasing Department to notify it of the emergency. Emergency contact numbers include: Cell Phone: (854-7109)

Department

Telephone

Contact source(s) based on time permitted. Methods followed include:

Immediate danger. Contact vendor.

Time permits. Contact the number of vendors considering the nature of the emergency and consistent with the SMWBE Administrative Policy 8.0.

Department

Documentation of method used and vendor(s) contacted

Monitor performance and accept goods and/or services.

Department

 

Coordinate funding and input a requisition explaining the emergency, identifying the emergency goods and or services (This must be accomplished within 24 hours of emergency or first workday after placing call).

Department

See Exhibit 4 of Manual for requisition information requirements

Provide written documentation to Purchasing Department (preferably e-mail) with full details documenting emergency, requirement and steps taken to handle the emergency (This must be accomplished within 24 hours of emergency situation). Documentation shall include:

Name and telephone number of County staff who placed call to vendor;

description of the emergency situation;

description of good or service required;

impacts that required the emergency to be handled immediately;

steps taken to handle the procurement (including vendors contacted/quotes obtained) if emergency procurement is not processed within timetable

Department

Written memorandum or E-mail

Process requisition into a Purchase Order.

Purchasing Department

Purchase Order

Send Purchase Order to vendor, file, and distribute remaining copies.

Purchasing Department

Purchase Order copies

Develop exemption order and submit agenda item for Commissioners Court approval (items exceeding $50,000 only)

Purchasing Department

Exemption Order and Court Agenda Item



F. Expedited Purchases

An expedited purchase is the purchase of any goods or services needed sooner than if obtained through a normal purchasing process - either informal or formal. The normal processing times are informal (request for quotes) – less than 30 days and formal (Invitation for Bid or Request For Proposal) – less than 65 days. Expedited purchases are generally used to prevent work stoppage or loss of the government’s money. Expedited purchases are not emergency purchases and are subject to all applicable bidding requirements. There are two types of expedited purchases: walk-through and work-stoppage.

Walk-through purchases are for items needed within 10 days to avoid a work interruption or loss of service or when there would be a significant added cost of operations. Work-stoppage requisitions are for items needed immediately to prevent work stoppage due to unanticipated requirements. The main difference between the two is in processing times. The Purchasing Department starts the work-stoppage process immediately after telephone notification.

Exhibit 9 outlines the procedures for processing an expedited purchase.


Exhibit 9: Expedited Purchase Procedures

Step

Responsibility

Output

Contact the Purchasing Department for immediate purchasing assistance and any special instructions on processing walk through. Purchasing Department (335-2211)

Department

Telephone or e-mail

Generate a requisition and notify appropriate parties:

Coordinate funding with Auditor’s Office

Coordinate with Auditor’s Office for immediate approval

Input a requisition explaining the situation and identifying the need for expedited goods and or services

Approve requisition online and forward electronically to Auditor’s Office

Contact Purchasing Department with requisition number

Department and Auditor’s Office

See Exhibit 4 of Manual for requisition information requirements

Develop justification/documentation and submit it immediately (at the same time requisition is generated) to Purchasing Department with full details documenting situation and requirement. Justification may be e-mailed or hand carried and shall include:

description of the need for walk-through;

description of good or service required;

absolute latest acquisition time that good/service can be purchased without affecting work; and

consequences if procurement is not processed within normal timetable

Department

Written memorandum or E-mail

Determine proper sourcing method based on justification provided.

Purchasing Department


Contact source(s) based on time permitted.

Purchasing Department

Documentation of method used and vendor(s) contacted

Process requisition into a Purchase Order.

Purchasing Department

Purchase Order

Send Purchase Order to vendor and file and distribute remaining copies.

Purchasing Department

Purchase Order copies

Monitor performance and accept goods and/or services.

Department

 


G. Exempt Purchases (Non-Emergency)

According to the Texas Local Government Code, §262.024, many goods and services can be exempt from the competitive procurement process if the Commissioners Court orders the purchase exempt. The following is a list of these circumstances that are non-emergency exemptions:

  • Personal or professional service;
  • Individual work performed and paid for by the day, as the work progresses, provided that no individual is compensated under this subsection for more than 20 working days in any 3-month period;
  • Land or right-of-way;
  • Sole source items (as specified in 262.024);
  • An item of food;
  • Personal property sold (as specified in 262.024);
  • Any work performed under a contract for community and economic development made by county under Section 381.004; or
  • Lease/maintenance renewals or extensions (as specified in 262.024(b)(1)).
See http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/docs/lg/htm/lg.262.htm#262.024 for more information on exempted procurements.

This section of the Manual will concentrate on the most frequently exempted procurements in Bexar County: services, sole source items and renewals of leases or equipment maintenance agreements.


H. Professional and Personal Services

The Professional Services Procurement Act (Chapter 2254 of the Texas Government Code) applies to acquisition of the following services: accounting; architecture; landscape architecture; land surveying; medicine; optometry; professional engineering; real estate appraisal; or nursing.
Award of a contract for these professional services may not be on the basis of competitive bids but rather on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications, and a fair and reasonable price.

In addition to those services specifically covered by the Professional Services Procurement Act, there are other services that may be considered either professional or personal and therefore exempt from competitive bidding. The Purchasing Agent must rely on court cases and attorney general opinions to determine what services are included.

According to the Model Purchasing Manual for Texas Cities and Counties, “Although attorneys general usually refrain from determining whether a particular service is a professional service, they have issued opinions responding to a number of questions regarding the question of when a purchase qualifies under the personal and professional exemption. These opinions have held that the term professional/personal services may encompass more than the services of physicians, attorneys or others traditionally regarded as professionals. Professional/personal services may include “members of disciplines are requiring special knowledge or attainment and a high order of learning, skill and intelligence.” according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office.”

Some of the areas not mentioned in the Professional Services Procurement Act that state courts and Texas attorneys general have ruled as excused under the professional and personal exemption that are listed in the Model Purchasing Manual for Texas Cities and Counties include:
  • contracts for preparing tax rolls, tax reports, tax statements, inventory and proof rolls;
  • contracts involving the coordination of investigation of crimes;
  • contracts for services of a construction manager;
  • contracts for services of a third-party administrator of insurance benefits;
  • employment of an auditor; and
  • contracts for plat books and abstracts.
When the determination of whether or not a service qualifies for exemption is not clear, the Purchasing Agent will seek guidance from the District Attorney. Those exempt items or services that are competitively bid will be purchased following the steps similar to those shown in Exhibit 15 of this Manual.

Once the request for the exemption has been determined, the exemption order will be developed in parallel with the contract and will be included in the contract document for approval by Commissioners Court. Exhibit 10 outlines the procedures for processing an exempted services purchase handled by the Purchasing Department.


Exhibit 10: Exempted Services Purchase Procedures

Step

Responsibility

Output

Draft and submit memo to Purchasing Agent requesting exemption. Memo should be submitted on department letterhead and signed by the official or department head. The memo should include:

Specific details and a comprehensive explanation of why an exemption should be granted; and

The name of the contractor, a brief description of the services covered by the exemption and the expected maximum cost.

Department

Memo requesting exemption

Identify and document services desired for the contract and submit to the Purchasing Department. Documentation should include:

A scope of work that defines tasks and deliverables that the contractor is expected to perform and the expected timetable for delivery;

Specific qualifications required (if applicable); and

Fee rates such as hourly rates (as applicable)

Department

Documentation for contract development

Input a requisition corresponding to requested exempted contract amounts.

Department

See Exhibit 4 of Manual for requisition information requirements

Evaluate request for exemption

Purchasing Department

 

Negotiate contract price and terms with recommended vendor and develop contract documents.

Purchasing, District Attorney, and Department

 

Distribute draft contract to applicable parties for review (vendor, user department, auditor, district attorney etc.)

Purchasing Department

Draft contract with comments

Work with assigned district attorney to compile draft changes into final document.

Purchasing Department

Final contract document

Obtain necessary signatures on contract document

Purchasing Department

Original and signed contract copies

Prepare and submit agenda item for Commissioners Court approval

Purchasing Department

Agenda item with contract and copies

Approve contract award (with exemption)

Commissioners Court

 

Receive approved contract, prepare originals and copies for distribution with appropriate award documents.

Purchasing Department

 

Receive approved contract, prepare originals and copies for distribution with appropriate award documents.

Purchasing Department

Delivery Order (purchase order)

Send Delivery Order to vendor and file and distribute copies

Purchasing Department

 


I. Sole Source Purchases

Section §262.024 of the Texas Local Government Code lists procurements that may be exempted from competitive bidding requirements as a sole source purchase. A sole source item is defined by §262.024 as an item that can be obtained from only one source including:
  • items for which competition is precluded because of the existence of patents, copyrights, secret processes or monopolies;
  • films, manuscripts, or books;
  • electric power, gas, water and other utility services; and
  • captive replacement parts of components for equipment.
By law, sole source goods and services require a signed statement from the Purchasing Agent as to the existence of only one source, specifically noting which type of listed sole source good or service is being purchased. The statement will be submitted for acceptance by Commissioners Court, and must be reflected in the Court’s meeting minutes.

Exhibit 11 outlines the procedures for processing a sole source purchase.


Exhibit 11: Sole Source Purchase Procedures

Step

Responsibility

Output

Draft and submit memo to Purchasing Agent requesting sole source. Memo should be submitted on department letterhead and signed by the official or department head. The memo should include:

The specific basis for the sole source according to statute (e.g. patents, copyrights, captive parts, films, manuscripts, monopoly, etc.)

Specific details and a comprehensive explanation of why a sole source should be granted;

The name of the contractor, a detailed description of the items covered by the sole source and the expected maximum cost; and

Method and research used to determine that the item was available only from single source.

Department

Memo requesting sole source, Appendix B (3).

See introduction of this section of the Manual for allowable sole source conditions.

Input an “open market” requisition, approve requisition and electronically route for processing.

Department

See Exhibit 4 of Manual for requisition information requirements

Validate the applicability of the sole source by testing the market for suppliers and/or brand equal items. Note: If the Purchasing Department can identify other sources, the sole source exemption may not be granted. If this is the case, the Purchasing Department will notify and will coordinate with the department to procure the item(s) according to the appropriate solicitation method.

Purchasing and Department

 

Approve the sole source exemption request and document the existence of only one source in a memorandum

Purchasing Agent

 

Prepare and submit agenda item (including sole source memorandum from Purchasing Agent) for Commissioners Court notification.

Purchasing and Department

 

Approve sole source exemption and file for record in Court minutes.

Commissioners Court and County Clerk

Approved sole source exemption order

Process requisition into Purchase Order

Purchasing Department

Purchase Order

Send Purchase Order to vendor and file and distribute copies

Purchasing Department

 


J. Renewals of Equipment Leases and Maintenance Agreements

Equipment lease extensions and maintenance agreement renewals are exempt from competition according to Texas Local Government Code §262.024(b)(1) if the Commissioners Court by order grants the exemption and if the following three conditions exist:
  • the lease or agreement has gone through the competitive bidding procedure within the preceding year;
  • the renewal or extension does not exceed one year; and
  • the renewal or extension is the first renewal or extension of the lease or agreement.

K. Brand Name Purchases

Brand Name Purchases will be treated the same as a request for an exemption. The user department must provide the justification for the request. The Purchasing Agent will evaluate such requests on a case-by-case basis and either approve the request or defer the approval to the Commissioners Court.

Exhibit 12 outlines the procedures for processing a brand name purchase request.


Exhibit 12: Brand Name Purchase Procedures

Step

Responsibility

Output

Draft and submit memo to Purchasing Agent requesting brand name purchase. Memo should be submitted on department letterhead and signed by the official or department head. The memo should include:

Specific details and a comprehensive explanation of why a brand name request should be granted; and

Specification of the item

Department

Memo requesting brand name purchase

Input an “open market” requisition, approve requisition and electronically route for processing.

Department

See Exhibit 4 of Manual for requisition information requirements

Approve request for brand name purchase or prepare and submit agenda item for Commissioners Court approval (if request is not approved, the Purchasing Department will coordinate with the user department on the appropriate procurement method)

Purchasing

Agenda item with brand name request

Approve brand name request

Commissioners Court

 

Process requisition into Purchase Order

Purchasing

Purchase Order

Send Purchase Order to vendor and file and distribute copies

Purchasing

 


L. Purchasing Card Purchases

In accordance with Texas Local Government Code §262.011(l), the county Purchasing Agent may have assistants to aid in the performance of the Agent's duties. A person is authorized by the county Purchasing Agent to use a county Purchasing Card while making a county purchase is considered an assistant of the county Purchasing Agent to the extent the person complies with the rules and procedures prescribed for the use of county Purchasing Cards as adopted by the county Purchasing Agent.

Bexar County provides the procurement card (Purchasing Card) to provide immediate access to goods and/or services and can dramatically shorten the process time necessary in the traditional requisition process. Those individuals who have been issued Purchasing Cards (Purchasing Cardholders) may initiate a transaction within the limits of this procedure and receive goods.

Therefore, the Purchasing Agent has designated a Purchasing Card Program Specialist as the Bexar County’s Coordinator for the PCS program and has the sole discretion to determine the assignment, usage and control of the Purchasing Cards. The Purchasing Card Program Specialist shall also maintain all records of Purchasing Card requests, dollar limitations, Purchasing Cardholder transfers and any lost/stolen/destroyed Purchasing Card information.
1. Key Terms

Reviewer/Approver - The County personnel designated by the Department Head/Elected Official who reviews and approves a Purchasing Card transaction and verifies the required documentation.

Purchasing Cardholder – Bexar County personnel authorized to make purchases using the Purchasing Card in accordance with the procedures as set out in this Manual.

Purchasing Card Program Specialist – Located in the County Purchasing Department and is responsible for processing Purchasing Cardholder applications and agreements, issuing Purchasing Cards, providing training to Purchasing Cardholders, assisting Purchasing Cardholders with inquires, monitoring Purchasing Card usage, and revoking Purchasing Cardholder privileges.

Single Purchase Limit – A dollar amount placed on Purchasing Cards as established by the Purchasing Agent and identified in this Manual.

Statement of Account – A monthly summary of all transactions processed by the bank for the Purchasing Card.

Expense Report – An online report provided by the bank detailing Purchasing Cardholder transactions.

Purchasing Card Transaction Log – A manual log of all transactions for a Purchasing Cardholder.

2. Receiving A Purchasing Card
Only Department Heads/Elected Officials may propose personnel to be Purchasing Cardholders. To receive a Purchasing Card the proposed applicant must agree to the following minimum requirements:

2.1 Purchasing Cardholder Eligibility

Prior to receiving a Purchasing Card, the applicant must:
  • Provide evidence of employment by Bexar County;
  • Obtain approval from the Department Head/Elected Official;
  • Identify a Reviewer/Approver (other than the Purchasing Cardholder);
  • Complete a signed Purchasing Cardholder Application;
  • Complete a signed Purchasing Cardholder Agreement;
  • Attend training on Purchasing Card Guidelines; and
  • Agree that the Purchasing Agent may cancel the Purchasing Card privileges at any time without cause.
2.2 Purchasing Cardholder Liability
The Purchasing Card is a corporate charge card, which will not affect the Purchasing Cardholder’s personal credit; however, it is the Purchasing Cardholder’s responsibility to ensure that the Purchasing Card is used within the Purchasing Guidelines as well as those policies and procedures relating to the expenditure of County funds. Failure to comply with the guidelines may result in permanent revocation of the Purchasing Card privileges, and notification of the situation to the Department Head/Elected Official. Further disciplinary action may include termination of employment and/or holding the Purchasing Cardholder personally liable for the transactions.

3. Authorized Purchasing Card Use

The Purchasing Card has the Purchasing Cardholder name embossed on it and shall be used only by the Purchasing Cardholder. No other person is authorized to use the Purchasing Card. The Purchasing Cardholder may make transactions on behalf of their department. Purchases with the Purchasing Card will be allowed provided the Purchasing Cardholder can meet the following general guidelines:

  • The total value of a transaction (including freight) shall not exceed the County’s single purchase limit, currently $1,000.00. This limit must be strictly adhered to. Do not split purchases into multiple transactions to avoid the single purchase limit. In no event may the purchase limit of a single transaction exceed $1,000.00 including freight. If extenuating circumstances occur, the Purchasing Agent or Purchasing Card Program Specialist must be consulted immediately for guidance.
  • The Department Head/Elected Official or individual with budgetary responsibility for the accounts will determine the monthly purchase limit (which is not to exceed $10,000.00) for the Purchasing Cardholder. The Department Head/Elected Official may request any monthly purchase limit below $10,000.00. If no limit is selected, the limit will default to $10,000.00 or an amount set by the Purchasing Card Program Specialist. The monthly purchase limit as noted on the Purchasing Card Application Form should be carefully decided according to the funding source or contract associated with the Purchasing Card.
  • All items purchased shall be available immediately at time of purchase with no back ordering allowed.
  • The Purchasing Cardholder, Reviewer/Approver and Department Heads/Elected Officials must agree not to purchase from restricted businesses and/or commodities.
  • The Purchasing Cardholder shall inform the vendor that the purchase of goods and services are tax-exempt.

4. Purchase of Travel Services

Bexar County provides the procurement card specifically designed for the purchase of travel services (Travel Card). The purpose of the Travel Card is to allow authorized employees to purchase commodities and services (that are restricted under the Purchasing Card) when traveling on official County business.

  • The Department Head/Elected Official must approve the application for a Travel Card. An approved Purchasing Cardholder Application submitted to the Purchasing Card Specialist is used for this purpose. Please indicate your desire to purchase these services on the Purchasing Card Application. Once approved, a Travel Card will be issued.
  • Any purchase of travel services made using the Travel Card must be in accordance with this Manual and the Bexar County Accounting Procedures Manual, Travel Guidelines, Policies and Procedures. Please contact the Bexar County Auditor for the required forms. All other Purchasing Card requirements and approvals apply.
  • Purchase of Contracted Goods and Services
  • The Purchasing Card may be used to purchase goods and services that are under existing agreements to expedite the ordering and payment processes. Please contact the Purchasing Card Specialist for additional information.

5. Purchase of Contracted Goods and Services

The Purchasing Card may be used to purchase goods and services that are under existing agreements to expedite the ordering and payment processes. Please contact the Purchasing Department Card Specialist for additional information.


6. Unauthorized Purchasing Card Use

  • The Purchasing Card shall not be used for the items shown in the Purchasing Card Restrictions, Section 5 of this Manual.
  • Department Heads/Elected Officials may coordinate with the Purchasing Agent or Purchasing Card Program Specialist to enact a more restrictive policy regarding usage of Purchasing Cards in their respective department.
Important: A Purchasing Cardholder who makes unauthorized purchases, carelessly uses the Purchasing Card or fails to turn in the appropriate documentation may be liable (up to and including payroll deduction) for the total dollar amount of the unauthorized purchases, plus any administrative fee charged by the bank in connection with the misuse. Additionally, the Purchasing Cardholder may be subject to disciplinary action, including loss of Purchasing Card privileges and/or termination of employment.


7. Making a Purchase

Purchasing procedures permit a purchase of goods or services if their value is $1,000.00 or less. It is the policy to seek competition when possible, use existing contracts and seek the lowest prices within the parameter of quality and delivery. Accordingly, whenever making a Purchasing Card purchase, the Purchasing Cardholder will check sources of supply as reasonable to the situation to assure the best price and delivery. The Purchasing Department has established price contracts and vendor lists to identify suppliers.

Purchasing Cardholders will perform the following when making a purchase:

  • Review SMWBE databases to see if a SMWBE supplies that particular good or service. The SMWBE databases can be obtained from the SMWBE Program Office or the Purchasing Department;
  • Check the suppliers list for all non-emergency purchases for vendors and prices already established. If not, solicit a number of sources as reasonable to the situation. If vendors furnish standing price quotations or catalog prices on a recurring basis, check that the price listed is current;
  • Select a vendor based on vendor confirmation that the good or service is available, meets the specification and delivery requirements, etc., and perform the following;
  • Confirm that the vendor agrees to accept the Bexar County Purchasing Card; and
  • Direct the vendor to include the following information on the shipping label and packing list:
  • Purchasing Cardholder's name and telephone number;
  • Complete delivery address;
  • The words "Purchasing Card Purchase"; and
  • The vendor's order number.

Important: Delivery should be coordinated to the Purchasing Cardholder ordering the merchandise to ensure that the documents necessary for the record keeping are readily available to the Purchasing Cardholder.


8. Purchasing Cardholder Record Keeping

Whenever a Purchasing Card purchase is made, documentation shall be retained as proof of the purchase. Such documentation will be used to verify the purchases listed on the Purchasing Cardholder's Expense Report of account and must contain specific information for each item purchased.

When the purchase is made over the counter, the Purchasing Cardholder shall retain the invoice and original "customer copy" of the charge receipt. Before signing this slip, the Purchasing Cardholder is responsible for making sure the vendor lists the quantity, fully describes the item(s) on the charge slip and charges no sales tax. The transaction's details should be added to the Purchasing Cardholder's "Purchasing Card Log" (See Appendix (6) for example).

A lost purchase receipt may be replaced with a proof of purchase form (Certification of Occurrence) by contacting the County Auditor. The Certification of Occurrence must be signed by your Department Head/Elected Official and will become part of the required transaction documentation.


9. Review and Reconciliation of Expense Report

9.1 Purchasing Cardholder Review and Reconciliation of Expense Report

On the first business day of each workweek, the Purchasing Cardholder shall download from the bank the list of Purchasing Cardholder's transaction(s) from the previous week (Expense Report). The Purchasing Cardholder shall check each transaction listed against their Purchasing Card Log (Appendix (6)), receipts and any shipping documents to verify charges listed on the Expense Report.

The original sales documents (packing slip, invoice, cash register tape and credit Purchasing Card slips, etc.) for all items listed on the Expense Report must be neatly attached, in purchasing sequence, to the statement. This attachment is critical to enable audit substantiation. If this routine is not adhered to, the Purchasing Card will be revoked. The careful matching of complete support documents to the Purchasing Card Log and then to the statement is vital to the successful use of the Purchasing Card. After this review, the Purchasing Cardholder shall sign the Expense Report, and present the Expense Report to their Reviewer/Approver for approval and signature. Each Department Head/Elected Official may designate one or more Department Reviewer/Approvers for their Purchasing Cardholders.

The Expense Report is used for transaction verification and updates (account codes, descriptions or other pertinent information) necessary to approve the payment. A completed Expense Report, and supporting documentation, will be submitted by the Purchasing Cardholder to the Reviewer/Approver, then to the County Auditor for payment.


9.2 Reviewer / Approver – Review and Reconciliation of Expense Report

The Reviewer/Approver shall check the Expense Report and Purchasing Card Transaction Log and confirm with the Purchasing Cardholder the following items as a minimum:

  • Receipts exist for each purchase;
  • The goods were received or the services performed;
  • Purchases are for official County business;
  • The Purchasing Cardholder has complied with applicable procedures;
  • Reviewing vendor receipts attached to the Expense Report for inappropriate purchases or uses of the Purchasing Card and to ensure that tax has not been charged;
  • Approving reconciliation of charges to Expense Report;
  • Resolving disputes with the vendor or bank not resolved by the Purchasing Cardholder; and
  • The approval from Reviewer/Approver’s indicates the authorized transactions were made accordance with the applicable policies and procedures and are submitted to the County Auditor for payment.

9.3 Approved Expense Reports

The Purchasing Cardholder shall review the Expense Report and secure the Reviewer/Approver online approval within two (2) working days of receipt. An approved Expense Report and appropriate documents shall be forwarded immediately to the County Auditor for payment. Each department will be responsible for keeping copies of all Purchasing Card related information forwarded to the Auditor’s Office for payment. This documentation will also be needed for audit purposes.


9.4 Delinquent or Unapproved Expense Reports

Failure to process the required documentation for Purchasing Card transactions, including the Expense Report at the prescribed date and time, may result in revocation the Purchasing Card privileges as specified in Section 5 of this Manual.


10. Expense Reports

The Purchasing Cardholder will print the Expense Report listing all transactions encumbered by the Purchasing Cardholder. The Expense Report will allow the Reviewer/Approver to track the Purchasing Cardholder's activities and act as a checklist for the Department Head/Elected Official to anticipate which purchases are due from the Purchasing Cardholders. Purchasing Cardholders and Reviewers/Approvers are expected to promptly review and reconcile their account summaries to the Expense Reports and forward them to the Auditor’s Office for payment.

If an item is not satisfactory, received damaged and/or defective, duplicate order, etc., the Purchasing Cardholder should contact the vendor to explain the problem and inquire about return policies. If items purchased by the use of the Purchasing Card are found to be unacceptable, the Purchasing Cardholder is responsible for obtaining replacement or correction of the item as soon as possible. If the vendor has not replaced or corrected the item by the agreed date, then the purchase of that item may be considered in dispute.

If the Purchasing Cardholder is disputing a charge, they shall complete a Dispute Form (See Appendix (7) for example form) within one day of the discovery and forward it with the transaction documentation to the Purchasing Card Program Specialist. The Purchasing Card Program Specialist will contact the bank and the Auditor’s Office regarding the dispute of the charge. If an item has been returned and a credit voucher received, the Purchasing Cardholder shall verify that the credit is posted on the online Expense Report. If purchased items or credits are not listed on the online Expense Report, the Purchasing Cardholder shall retain the appropriate transaction documentation until the next online Expense Report. If the purchase or credit does not appear on the Expense Report within 60 days after the date of purchase, the Purchasing Cardholder shall notify the Purchasing Card Program Specialist for assistance.


11. Purchasing Card Security

The Purchasing Cardholder is responsible for safeguarding the Purchasing Card and account number to the same degree that a Purchasing Cardholder safeguards their personal credit information. The Purchasing Cardholder must not allow anyone to use the Purchasing Card. Any violation will result in the Purchasing Card being withdrawn and additional disciplinary action may be taken.

If the Purchasing Card is lost or stolen, the Purchasing Cardholder will immediately notify the Purchasing Card Program Specialist and the bank at 1-800-890-0669. Representatives are available 24 hours a day.

A new Purchasing Card may be issued by the bank and Purchasing Card Program Specialist after the reported loss or theft. A Purchasing Card that is subsequently found by the Purchasing Cardholder after being reported lost/stolen shall be reported to the Purchasing Card Program Specialist.


12. Purchasing Cardholder Separation

Before separating from Bexar County employment, the Purchasing Cardholder must surrender the Purchasing Card and an up-to-date Purchasing Card Transaction Log and/or Expense Report to their Department Head/Elected Official. The Purchasing Cardholder must discontinue making purchases using the Purchasing Card no later than 15 days before separating from County employment. Transaction processing shall be in accordance with Section 5 of this Manual. The Department Head/Elected Official shall notify the Purchasing Card Program Specialist for destruction of Purchasing Card.

Before transferring to another department in Bexar County, the Purchasing Cardholder must surrender the Purchasing Card and an up-to-date Purchasing Card Transaction Log and/or Expense Report to their Department Head/Elected Official. The Purchasing Cardholder must discontinue making purchases using the Purchasing Card no later than 15 days before transferring to another department within the County. Transaction processing shall be in accordance with Section 5 of this Manual.


13. Review and Internal Audit

The Bexar County Purchasing Card program relies on both internal management controls and management reports designed to ensure the proper use. The Purchasing Department and Auditor’s Office will periodically review and perform an internal audit on Purchasing Card use for compliance with County policies and procedures and state law. The purpose of these reviews and internal audits will be to ensure that the Purchasing Cardholders are adhering to these Policies. Audit steps may include a review of the following:

Transactions to ensure the Purchasing Card is being used for authorized purchases related to County business;

Transactions designated as travel related expenses;
Documentation (receipts, packing slips, pricing, etc.) to support the Purchasing Card transactions;

Purchasing Cardholder account reconciliation (to be performed between the time goods received and the charges are reported on the Expense Report); and Purchasing Cardholder documentation for compliance with this Manual.


14. Termination of Purchasing Card Privileges

The County Purchasing Agent may cancel a Purchasing Card at anytime and without cause. The Purchasing Card Program Specialist is required to close an account if a Purchasing Cardholder: (a) transfers to a different department, (b) moves to a new job in which a Purchasing Card is not required; (c) terminates employment or (d) for any of the following reasons:

  • The Purchasing Card is used for personal or unauthorized purposes.
  • The Purchasing Card is not used during a period of three (3) consecutive months.
  • The Purchasing Card is used to purchase alcoholic beverages or any substance, material, or service that violates policy, law or regulation pertaining to the County. (See Section 5.
  • The Purchasing Cardholder splits a purchase to circumvent the limitations of the Purchasing Card.
  • The Purchasing Cardholder fails to maintain accurate books and records for each transaction, including processing numerous Certificates of Authenticity forms.
  • The Purchasing Card Expense Report is not submitted to the County Auditor for payment in a timely fashion.

15. Purchasing Cardholder Responsibilities

The Purchasing Cardholder must adhere and agree to the following:

  • Keep the Purchasing Card in their possession, not allow anyone else to use the Purchasing Card issued in their name.

  • Ensure the Purchasing Card is used in accordance with policies and procedures for legitimate Bexar County business purposes only.

  • Maintain the Purchasing Card data in a secure location at all times.

  • Adhere to the purchase limits and restrictions of the Purchasing Card and ensure the total transaction amount of any single transaction does not exceed $1,000.00 including freight.

  • Complete the Purchasing Card Transaction Log and Expense Report itemizing commodities and services.

  • Obtain all sales slips, register receipts and Purchasing Card slips to Purchasing Card Transaction Log and Expense Report and provide them to the Reviewer/Approver for approval and allocation of transactions.

  • Notify Reviewer/Approver if the accounting code should be changed.

  • Attempt to resolve disputes or billing errors directly with the vendor and notify the bank if the dispute or billing error is not satisfactorily resolved, also notify the Purchasing Card Program Specialist.

  • Ensure that an appropriate credit for the reported disputed item or billing error appears on a subsequent bank billing statement.

  • Ensure that tax has not been charged.

  • Ensure credits must be placed back on the Purchasing Card that originally made the purchase. Cash payments will not be accepted as a credit payment.

  • Report a lost or stolen Purchasing Card to the bank and Purchasing Card Program Specialist immediately.

  • Notify Reviewer/Approver of a lost or stolen Purchasing Card at the first opportunity during normal business hours.

  • Return the Purchasing Card to the Purchasing Card Program Specialist prior to terminating employment with Bexar County or transferring between departments.

  • Contact the Department Reviewer/Approver and Purchasing Card Program Specialist if a vendor does not accept the Purchasing Card.

  • Report emergency transaction needs to the Reviewer/Approver during normal business hours.

  • Strive to meet or exceed Bexar County's goal with SWMBEs.

  • Retain departmental copies of all Purchasing Card transactions, receipts, payments, logs and records pertaining to the Purchasing Card issued for the department.

  • Validate that the merchandise is received.

16. Department Reviewer / Approver Responsibilities

Each Department Head/Elected Official must designate one or more Reviewer/Approvers for their Purchasing Cardholders. The Reviewer/Approver is to receive training similar to that of the Purchasing Cardholder. Responsibilities include:

  • Reviewing vendor receipts attached to the bank billing statement for inappropriate purchases or uses of the Purchasing Card and to ensure that tax have not been charged.
  • Approving reconciliation of charges to bank billing statement.
  • Resolving disputes with the vendor or bank not resolved by the Purchasing Cardholder.
  • Notifying the Purchasing Card Program Specialist of any unresolved disputes.
  • Notifying the Purchasing Card Program Specialist of lost or stolen Purchasing Cards.
  • Requesting the Purchasing Card Program Specialist cancel a Purchasing Card (e.g. terminated employees, employees transferring to other departments, and loss of Purchasing Card privileges) as approved by the Department Head/Elected Official.
  • Collecting canceled Purchasing Cards and forwarding to the Purchasing Card Program Specialist.
  • Assisting Purchasing Cardholder with declined and emergency transactions.
  • Reporting misuse and abuse of the Purchasing Card.

17. Purchasing Card Program Specialist Responsibilities

The Purchasing Card Program Specialist is located in the Purchasing Department and is responsible for the following:

  • Serves as the Bexar County’s Purchasing Department liaison with the Bank.
  • Processes the Purchasing Cardholder Application and Purchasing Cardholder Agreement.
  • Coordinates Purchasing Cardholder Application financial information with the Auditor’s Office.
  • Submits a completed Purchasing Card Application to Bank and receive the Purchasing Card.
  • Trains Reviewer/Approver before issuing Purchasing Cards to Purchasing Cardholders.
  • Trains Purchasing Cardholders before releasing Purchasing Cards.
  • Assists the Purchasing Cardholder and bank with disputed charges/discrepancies.
  • Secure revoked, cancelled or lost/stolen Purchasing Cards and submit information to the bank.
  • Monitor and assess Purchasing Card transactions for compliance with these Policies.
  • Coordinates Purchasing Cardholder changes, i.e. updates to MCC's, threshold limits, etc.
  • Maintains and updates Purchasing Card Guidelines.
18. County Auditor Responsibilities

The County Auditor’s Office is responsible for the following:

  • Receives and reviews the Expense Report and supporting documentation.
  • Establishes and notifies Purchasing Cardholders of cut-off dates for approvals.
  • Prepares documentation and payment to bank.

19. Purchasing Card Restrictions

Restricted Businesses
X ATM’s
X Attorneys
X Banks, Automated Tellers
X Professional and Consultant / Contracted Service Providers
X Temporary Labor Agencies
X Travel Related Expenses (except with Travel Card)
X Entertainment Providers
X Rental Agencies: equipment, furniture, etc.

Restricted Commodities
X Any Single Purchase Exceeding $1,000.00
X Alcoholic Beverages
X Weapons, Firearms, Ammunition
X Animals
X Cash Advances or Gift Purchasing Cards
X Cellular / Portable Phone(s)
X Computer or Telecommunication Equipment (Exceeding $500.00)
X Consulting Services
X Controlled Assets
X Controlled Prescription Drugs
X Cylinder Gases, Liquid Nitrogen
X Decorations
X Entertainment
X Hazardous Chemicals or Materials
X Organization Memberships, Charitable and Social Services, Associations, Civic, Social, and Fraternal
X Personal Items
X Purchases outside the United States
X Purchases Involving Equipment Trade-In
X Radioactive Materials
X Scientific or Medical Equipment (Exceeding $500.00)
X Stereo Systems (Exceeding $500.00)
X Hotels, Car Rentals, Meals (Except with Travel Card)
X Telephone Services

The items shown above: (i) are intended to guide you in which form to use for processing payments and orders, (ii) are not representative of all restrictions, (iii) may change without notice. It is recommended that you contact the Purchasing Card Program Specialist to ensure the proper expenditure of funds.