Regent Policy Documents

SECTION 13: CONTRACTS

13-1 GENERAL CONTRACT SIGNATURE AUTHORITY, APPROVAL, AND REPORTING

(Formerly 72-2)

Scope

This policy addresses official authorization to sign contracts on behalf of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

The policy applies to all contracts that bind the Board of Regents and UW System institutions.  These include, but are not limited to, grants, memorandums of understanding, certifications, releases, purchase orders, leases of personal property (not real property), and royalty agreements.

The policy does not apply to real property and/or construction-related contracts.  Signature authority for those contracts is covered under Regent Policy Document 13-2, Real Property and Construction Contract Signature Authority and Approval.

The policy does not apply to University trust accounts, which are subject to the terms and conditions of individual trust documents.  Signature authority for these documents rests with the Trust Officer, Assistant Trust Officer, and Secretary of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that individuals signing contracts that bind the Board of Regents of the UW System and UW System institutions are duly authorized to sign on behalf of, commit, and represent the Board of Regents.

Policy Statement

Through this policy, the Board of Regents recognizes that the efficient operation of the UW System depends on the UW System’s and UW institutions’ ability to conduct business transactions in an efficient manner.  Therefore, the Board of Regents need not directly approve all contracts, but rather, delegates contracting authority for most contracts to designated university officials.    

Individuals authorized to sign contracts under this policy are expected to have the necessary information and expertise to fully understand the implications of making such commitments.  In addition, persons with this authority are expected to perform appropriate due diligence activities to ensure that any attendant liabilities are identified and can be effectively managed.

Delegation of Authority

The Board of Regents authorizes the Secretary of the Board of Regents and the President of the University of Wisconsin System to sign contracts that bind the Board of Regents and/or UW System institutions.

The Board of Regents further authorizes the President of the University of Wisconsin System to: (1) delegate contract signature authority to other UW System Administration officials deemed to have the requisite knowledge, judgment, and operational need to exercise such authority; and (2) delegate to the Chancellors of UW System institutions the authority to sign contracts related to programs or operations of their institutions.  Chancellors may further delegate contract signature authority to other UW System institution employees deemed to have the requisite knowledge, judgment, and operational need to exercise such authority.

The President’s delegations must be made in writing and filed in the Office of the President of the University of Wisconsin System.

Chancellors’ delegations must be made in writing, filed in the Office of the Chancellor, and reviewed periodically by an institution’s internal auditor to ensure that named individuals are current employees and are exercising their signature authority appropriately.  Individuals should be delegated signature authority only for the specific documents, or types of documents, needed to allow them to efficiently and effectively perform the responsibilities of their position.

Items Requiring Formal Approval by the Board of Regents

Grants from and contracts with private, profit-making organizations with a value of more than $500,000 require formal approval by the Board of Regents prior to execution.  Any contract with a value of less than $500,000 that, in the judgment of the President of the UW System, warrants direct Board approval shall also be approved by the Board prior to execution.  An institution’s Chief Business Officer should contact the UW System Office of the Vice President for Finance to request that such contracts be presented for approval at the next meeting of the Board’s Business, Finance, and Audit Committee.  Requests must be made well in advance of the desired effective date of a contract. 

Reporting Requirements

A summary of extramural gifts, grants, and contracts will be reported quarterly to the Vice President for Finance for presentation to the Business, Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Regents.  Other contracts and/or agreements need not be reported to the Board or the Vice President for Finance under this policy.

Oversight, Roles, and Responsibilities

Delegation of signature authority allows considerable operational efficiency but requires appropriate oversight and on-going diligence to ensure that the interests of the University are best served. 

In addition to oversight by the Chancellor’s Office and Chief Business Officer, compliance with this policy and sound business practices will be assessed through periodic review by the UW System Office of Operations Review and Audit, as well as individual institution-based Internal Audit staff. 

Related RPDs and Applicable Laws

Regent Policy Document 13-2, Authorization to Sign Real Property and Construction Contracts
Section 36.11(55), Wis. Stats., Review of System Contracts with Research Companies
Section 946.13, Wis. Stats., Private interest in public contract prohibited
Section 16.71(1m), Wis. Stats., Purchasing; powers
Section 16.71(4), Wis. Stats., Purchasing; powers

History:  RPD 13-1 renumbered and created by Res. 10014 (2/10/2012) replaces: (1) RPD 13-3 (formerly 93-1) created by Res. 8875 (6/10/2004) which amended Res. 8074 (2/10/2000), which rescinded Res. 7844 (2/5/1999), which rescinded Res. 7548 (9/5/1997), which rescinded 6314 (2/5/1993), which rescinded 6042 and RPD 92-2 (3/6/1992), which rescinded Res. 5945 and RPD 91-10 (11/8/1991), which rescinded Res. 2791 (4/8/1983) and RPD 83-2, which rescinded Res. 965 (3/7/1975) and RPD 75-2, which rescinded Res. 92 and RPD 72-2(a) (2/11/1972); and (2) RPD 13-4 (formerly 96-5) created by Res. 8876 (6/10/2004) which amended Res. 7308 (10/11/1996).


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The Regent Policy Documents were adopted and are maintained pursuant to the policy-making authority vested in the Board of Regents by Wis. Stats. § 36. The Regent Policy Documents manifest significant policies approved by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. This document is a ready reference for those charged with carrying out these policies. Unless noted otherwise, associated documents and reports may be obtained from the Office of the Secretary of the Board of Regents, 1860 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, ph 608-262-2324. http://www.uwsa.edu/bor/policies/