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Single-Source and Sole-Source Procurements

Procurement Record (Justification) for Single-Source and Sole-Source Purchases

A “sole-source” procurement, as defined by New York State law, is one in which only one vendor can supply the product or service required.

A “single-source” purchase, as defined by New York State law, is one in which, although two or more vendors/resellers can supply a required product or service, there are material and substantial reasons to prefer one vendor over the others, such as the need to upgrade current equipment with parts or to obtain software from the original manufacturer or to select a consultant for a particular expertise.

It is the Purchasing Department’s responsibility to review and approve of all sole-source and single-source purchases and to ensure that the procurement record includes “material and substantial reasons” for the single-source or sole-source purchase.

The procurement record for all single-source and sole-source purchases must:

  • state clearly the specific elements that differentiate the selected vendor/product in a way that the college requires and in what way no other vendor/product can provide;
  • identify the other vendors/products considered;
  • describe (if single-source procurement) how the vendor was selected from the pool of vendors who also provide the product/service;
  • list the specific reasons for selecting this vendor instead of the others (describe how the product/service uniquely meets the college’s needs and how selecting this vendor is in the best interests of the college); and
  • state the basis upon which the college determined that the vendor’s price is reasonable (as required for all purchases).

All purchases made using a single-source or sole-source procurement method are subject to greater scrutiny, by the state and by the public, because this procurement method is one that could be used to circumvent other procurement methods that can appear to be more open, fair, and transparent. The “justification” for purchases made using the single-source or sole-source procurement method must be beyond reproach and send a clear message to all prospective vendors that the procurement process at the college is an open and transparent process that allows all who show interest to investigate and participate in procurement opportunities.

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