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State Grants ODU Level II Procurement and Information Technology Authority

The State of Virginia has granted Old Dominion University greater operational authority to procure material and information technology, under an agreement reached with approval of ODU's Board of Visitors.

The Level II authority was finalized on Monday, July 20 by the Board of Visitors. Old Dominion joins other schools in the state such as Radford University and James Madison University in achieving Level II status.

A Virginia state law, the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act, passed in April 2008, governs the level of freedom state institutions have around the areas of procurement, information technology and capital projects.

What approval of Level II status means is that ODU is exempt from review and reporting requirements for things like IT purchases, and awarding of some contract for goods and services on campus.

Level II status provides the same level of authority for procurement and IT as is granted to schools with Level III status, including the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

In order to satisfy the state's requirements for meeting Level II status, ODU was required to have been granted decentralized procurement authority from the Department of General Services; be in full compliance with the Virginia Public Procurement Act; adopt the state's "Rules Governing Procurement of Goods, Services, Insurance and Construction"; maintain certification through the Virginia Contracting Officer Certification Program; and establish, adopt and achieve the university's goals for small, women and minority-owned business (SWAM) procurement.

The signoff on the last of those conditions arrived at the school only last Friday, clearing the way for the Board of Visitors to approve Level II status by the two-thirds majority required under state law.

Rick Berry, executive director of ODU's construction and procurement services, said the primary benefit of Level II status is that it shifts responsibility and accountability for the procurement of goods and services to the University, and that all Level II and Level III universities now have the same procurement laws and policies.

Level II status "recognizes the university is qualified and more capable to managed its academic and administrative affairs more efficiently and effectively through the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act," Berry said.

There are other benefits for ODU of achieving Level II status. The school now has the ability to make purchases of up to $50,000 for professional services without approval from the state, the bid bond limits for construction have been increased to $1 million, allowing smaller businesses to compete for procurement; and Level II status makes it easier for the school to purchase recycled material.

This article was posted on: July 21, 2009

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.