Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Purchase Order

Requesting a Purchase Order or encumbering funds in Unimarket does not create a binding commitment with a Consultant or Vendor. A binding commitment with a Consultant or Vendor is created only after the Purchase Order, and if required a fully executed contract, are sent to the Consultant or Vendor.

No! The Purchase Order is a legal document that authorizes the procurement of goods or services from the Supplier. Suppliers cannot provide goods or services prior to receiving a Purchase Order as that exposes both the College and the user to financial and legal risk.

Independent Contractor Questionnaire

Whenever you want to hire a person (other than an employee) or organization to perform services. The contract process must be followed before the person or organization can commence providing services.

Each time a Consultant, individuals only, is retained to provide Services to the College, the individual Consultant must complete an ICQ. An ICQ is required even if an agreement is not required. The information provided in this form will allow the Office of General Counsel to determine if this individual can be classified as an independent contractor or must be treated as an employee. The ICQ must be completed for each new project because the legal analysis depends on the work to be done, as well as other factors. Corporations and similar entities do not need to complete the ICQ; only individual consultants must do so.

The Consultant.

At least two weeks. You should submit the request as soon as you start conversations with your possible contractor. Negotiating an agreement may take longer than two weeks when the contract is complicated or if the parties have difficulty agreeing on important terms.

The required insurance coverage depends on the level of risk or liability exposure of the College. A determination will be made on a case by case basis by the Office of the General Counsel.

Conflict of Interest Form

Once a consultant is selected to provide Services, the Consultant should complete an ICQ, at the link available in Unimarket.

Each time a Business Entity (corporation, partnership, non-profit, etc.) , is retained to provide Services to the College; the Business Entity must complete a conflict of interest form. A conflict of interest form is required even if an agreement is not required. The information provided in this form will allow the College to determine if this entity has a conflict of interest that precludes the entity from providing services to the College

A Business Entity (corporation, partnership, non-profit, etc.) only

Once a Business Entity is selected to provide Services, the Business Entity should complete a COI form, at the link available in Unimarket. Unimarket automatically sends the conflict of interest form to the Office of General Counsel.

No. COI questions are included in the ICQ

Other Important Questions

Yes, every time a requisition is created for a Business Entity that is providing Services they must complete the COI form and if they are an Individual they need to complete the ICQ form. The Buyer is responsible for sending the link to the Supplier.

For Honoraria less than $1,000, you submit the following forms to Accounts Payable:

  1. Consulting/Honorarium Payment Request form
  2. W-9

Honoraria over $1,000 require contracts and recipients of the honoraria are treated as independent contractors.

Each payment requires an approved invoice with an assigned Purchase Order number. Purchase Orders are issued in Unimarket when all the procurement requirements are met. Remember that some Purchase Orders will require the Consultant to have an executed agreement in place with the College (see Q&A 2)

The best way is to check BANNER, or ask Accounts Payable.

Either in person or by email submit an itemized invoice to Accounts Payable. Accounts Payable will issue checks in accordance with the Payment Process.

If a purchase order or an executed contract is required, then once it is in place, the Office of Purchasing or the Office of the General Counsel will notify you and you can commence submitting invoices to Accounts Payable. Once a proper itemized invoice is received by Accounts Payable, it will generally pay the invoice in approximately 14 days.

A PAF is for the College’s employees only – NOT independent contractors. To pay an independent contractor see answers to questions 6 and 7 above.

Only individuals authorized by the Office of the Controller are authorized to sign contracts. Contact the Controller’s Office regarding the list of signature authority. The Department Chairs, and the Directors of Centers and Institutes are authorized to sign contracts up to $25,000. The President, Vice President and Provost are authorized to sign contracts for services between $25,001 and $100,000. The Vice President for Finance and Administration and the President, Provost or Vice President must sign all contracts over $100,000, and such contracts must be reviewed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration. General Counsel route contacts to the appropriate individual with the required signature authority. A list of employees with Signature Authority is available from the Controller’s Office

Yes. Before any payment can be made to a Consultant, regardless of the amount, an itemized invoice with the Purchase Order number must be submitted to Accounts Payable.

Insurance is important to be certain that the consultant is able to cover any liability that may result from the project. Based on type of service, the College’s Risk Manager will determine the type and level of insurance

No. TC employees and TC students are subject to Human Resources policies: See Additional Employment or Supplements for Full-Time Positions and Employment in Part-Time Positions (available at

For assistance with the procurement process, contact Purchasing at (212) 678-3138 or

For assistance with the contracting process, contact the Office of the General Counsel at, or (212) 678-3680.

Over the course of the last 12 months, the College has conducted a thorough review of the procurement process, which included a procedural audit and meetings with stakeholders in academic and administrative departments to gather user feedback and suggestions. The objective was to simplify College requirements and streamline the approval flow while ensuring the College complied with State and Federal procurement guidelines. The announced changes are a direct result of these conversations and meet the requirements promulgated by new Federal guidelines aimed at reducing fraud, waste, and abuse for purchases on federal grant funds.

TC policy, following Federal guidelines, requires at least two bids for all goods and services greater than $3,000. Departments may choose to solicit additional bids - particularly when the market is highly competitive. As is the case currently, the alternative to soliciting bids is for purchases to be made from Preferred Vendors (see Q#3) or from vendors where the department has substantiated a valid Sole Source Justification (see Q#5).

As is the current policy, to use Sole Source Justification for purchases greater than $3,000, the vendor is not designated as a Preferred Vendor, and one of the below criteria must be met: i) The department demonstrates that the goods/service cannot be purchased except through one vendor, e.g. due to patents or licensing agreements. ii) An emergency exists which will not permit a delay for competitive solicitation, e.g. a water leak, or in certain situations, a broken window, a breakdown in classroom or lab equipment, etc…Please note that self-imposed deadlines do not constitute an emergency and are not acceptable justification for a Sole Source provider. iii) When using Grant funds, if the grantor expressly authorizes noncompetitive bidding and the lack of bidding doesn’t significantly increase costs. iv) Document the attempt at bid solicitation and show that competitive responses were unqualified and/or inadequate

Yes, you will have to bid out good/services for each new project. The exception to this rule is when the vendor is Preferred (see Q#3), or when the department has substantiated a valid Sole Source Justification (see Q#5).

Departments may designate any Buyer(s) to be the point person for bidding. To ensure quality control, the Purchasing Department will grant access to department designated user(s) only after attending training with Purchasing personnel.

Because of the legal and financial exposure of non-compliance, the College is requiring all Buyers go through training.

No, an addendum can only be added to a contract that has not expired. If the contract has expired the department will need to work with General Counsel to negotiate a new contract.

Preferred Vendors typically are those that have been awarded a contract by the Purchasing Department for College-wide use accessible to all department Buyers. The selection is based on a thorough review and negotiation to obtain the best overall value to the College based on the price, delivery capabilities, quality, past performance, financial stability, ease of ordering, etc…Preferred vendors are identified in the Unimarket Marketplace with a yellow Supplier Tag that states “PREFERRED”.

Typically, a department specific Provider may not be deemed a Preferred Vendor as the benefit does not accrue to the College as a whole. However, some situations may warrant that the department specific vendor be given Preferred Vendor status. Please contact the Purchasing Department to explore the possibility of adding a vendor to the list.

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