Law Updates Competitive Bidding Requirements for Universities


Form Available Online

Download the new Exclusive Acquisition Justification form (PDF) form.

In approving Senate Bill 20 this year, the Legislature reaffirmed the requirement that Texas universities use competitive bidding for purchases unless a transaction qualifies as a sole source or emergency purchase. The new law introduced several regulations to ensure that the competitive process is followed, including a requirement that administrators certify that the University has followed competitive bidding procedures and disclosed on the UT Dallas website all items that have been procured without a competitive process. The law provides for criminal charges in the event of a violation. In addition, all procurement orders will continue to be subject to the Texas Open Records Act and possible review by internal, state and federal auditors.

The law also requires the University to follow new public procurement transparency guidelines and maintain evidence to justify any awards that are made without a competitive process. As there may be several reasons why a purchase provider may be considered a “sole source,” UT Dallas and other UT institutions have adopted the term “exclusive acquisition” to better describe any purchases that relate to sole source, proprietary, best value, emergency and professional services.

The new Exclusive Acquisition Justification (EAJ) form, required for purchases of $15,000 or more, is designed to provide business reasons why an order should be placed as an exception to the normal competitive bidding rules. When the purchase includes a multi-year agreement, the total cost of acquisition for all of the years must be used. The new form requires signatures of the requesting school or department’s head, dean or business officer. The form will then be approved or disapproved by various levels of Procurement Management staff, depending on the total dollar value. All requests for $1 million or more also will require approval of the vice president of budget and finance. This form also provides the necessary affirmation by the requester regarding accuracy/conflict of interest. Please note that the form requires an estimation of the entire contractual period, including renewal options.

You will find the newest form at the Procurement Management website. The new form replaces the Sole Source or Emergency Purchase Justification (For Noncompetitive Purchases over $10,000. Procurement Management asks that employees discontinue use of the “Sole Source” form, which will be removed from the website. Contact Procurement Management at 972-883-2300 for help with the form.