Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Contracts Guidance Policy

Policy Background & Overview

Policy:

  • Contract signing authority: the Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer (VPFA), and the Associate Vice President for Finance (AVPFA), are the only employees authorized by the Board of Trustees to execute contracts on behalf of the College.  Contracts and commitments in excess of $100,000 may also require the approval of the Board of Trustees.
  • All contracts should be sent to the AVPFA for review and approval.  The VPFA, General Counsel, and/or Risk Management may also be involved in the contract review process.
  • All contracts require review regardless of the dollar amount associated with the agreement.
  • Standard College contract templates exist for many standard campus activities; these are discussed in greater detail below.  The development of agreements for real estate, insurance, software and networking, and contracted services for facilities and other work requires prior approval of the VPFA office.
  • It is critical that a full review occur prior to negotiating and entering into a contract to ensure: (a) the College is limiting its liability by having legal counsel review, as necessary; (b) appropriate contract clauses are present; (c) the College has appropriate resources to satisfy the contract terms; (d) proper treatment for tax purposes; (e) protection of students’ rights; (f) third party vendors have background checks, as appropriate, and (g) the contract does not represent a conflict of interest for the College.
  • All contracts must be reviewed and signed before the commencement of services or the delivery of goods by the outside party.
  • Negotiation of favorable pricing and competitive bidding:
    • When securing pricing for a contract arrangement, efforts should be made to secure favorable pricing for the College as part of the agreement negotiation process.
    • Under competitive bidding, multiple vendor pricing proposals, or bids, should be secured before selecting the final vendor.  Competitive bidding for goods and services is required for agreements with dollar values in excess of $25,000; for major capital projects, competitive bidding is required for agreements with dollar values in excess of $100,000.

Contracts should be in place for the following activities but not limited to:

  • Facilities that are rented by the College or rented from the College including no fee, or $0, rentals;
  • Professional services provided to the College or provided by the College, including consulting, speaking engagements, legal assistance, equipment, software maintenance, etc.;
  • Leases of equipment;
  • Exchange of goods or services involving or not involving money; and
  • Grant agreements.

Timing for contract review and approval:

  • Please allow adequate time in your planning process for contract review and approval.  While unforeseen circumstances always exist, please plan to have your contract documents submitted for review no later than two weeks prior to the date of the event or commencement of contract services.

Contract Document Templates & Guidance

1. Short-term engagements (3 days or less)

The College has standard contract templates for many types of short-term (3 days or less) campus activities, including honoraria engagements.  Please be sure to utilize these templates, which contain standardized contract language, if the outside party will be on campus for no more than 3 days.  If the outside party will be on campus for more than 3 days, or will be visiting campus on a periodic basis throughout the year, please see “Longer-term engagements” below.

Please complete the blank/open information within the template and obtain the outside party’s signature; the “F&M host” responsible for the activity also needs to sign the document.  Completed and signed templates should then be sent electronically or by hard copy to the Finance Office as follows:

  • Electronic contract documents – please email attachments to .
  • Hard-copy documents – please interoffice or deliver the documents to Eileen Austin, Finance & Administration, 2nd Floor - Old Main.  To help expedite contract review, scan completed and signed documents and email to 
  • Payment information – to facilitate payment processing by the Business Office please submit: (a) a W-9 form signed by the outside party and (b) disbursement voucher** signed by the “F&M host” responsible for the activity.  You may include these documents within your contract review submission and, upon successful Finance Office review, the executed contract document and related documentation will be sent to the Business Office for payment processing.

** Disbursement vouchers made payable to non-US citizens will require a Social Security Number (SSN) or Tax Identification Number (TIN) in order to be paid.  Be aware that if an individual does not have a SSN or TIN, it can take 10-12 weeks to obtain one.  Contact in Human Resources as much in advance as possible when non-US citizens are involved with your event.

  • Important note: If the outside party is expected to have any unsupervised contact with F&M students or minors, a current criminal background check is required.  It is imperative that the F&M department or office engaging the outside party confirms that either (a) the outside party has successfully completed a criminal background check within the last six months or (b) a College employee will be present to supervise each of the outside party’s sessions.  Contracts that involve work or interaction with minors (individuals under the age of 18) must include a statement that the outside party will adhere to the College’s Protection of Minors Policy  If the outside party will be working with minors, please indicate this in your contract submission.

Short-term engagement templates and activities:

  • Guest lecturer: Guest lecturer template
  • Guest speaker: Guest speaker template
  • Guest artist: Guest artist template
  • Training facilitator: Trainer template
  • Performers, including professional musicians and singers (single performers or part of an ensemble): Performer template
  • Outside vendors for student organizations, including vendors providing services for short-term engagements such as special event contractors, entertainers, balloon artists, etc.: Outside Vendors-Student Organizations template
  • College facility rentals – please contact , Director for Conference Services and External Events.
  • Food/catering-related agreements – the College’s agreement with Sodexo does allow food to be brought onto campus but does not allow an outside vendor to provide labor to support an event such as catering the event or setting up/tearing down food and related food service equipment.  Questions regarding these arrangements should be sent to , Associate Vice President for Administration.  Please send all food/catering-related agreements for review via .

If the outside party has their own contract document, please submit this information to for review.  A determination will be made regarding whether the outside party’s contract can be used or if the College’s contract template should be used.

2.  Longer-term engagements (more than 3 days)

If the outside party will be on campus for more than 3 days, or will be visiting campus or providing goods or services to the College on a periodic basis throughout the year, please perform the following steps:

  • Contract documents have been provided by outside party – please send this information for review to the Finance Office as follows:
  • Electronic contract documents – please email attachments to .
  • Hard-copy documents – please interoffice or deliver the documents to Eileen Austin, Finance & Administration, 2nd Floor - Old Main.  To help expedidte contract review, scan completed and signed documents and email to .
  • No contract documents provided by outside party – please provide additional details regarding the specific services or activities taking place by completing the Independent Contractor Checklist and emailing it to Finance & Administration via ; this will facilitate the next steps in the contract review process.
  • Obtaining signatures from outside party and payment processing – once the Finance Office has completed the contract review, a signed contract document will be returned to you via email.  Before payment can be processed by the Business Office, you must also obtain the outside party’s signature on the contract document.  To facilitate payment processing by the Business Office please submit: (a) a W-9 form signed by the outside party and (b) disbursement voucher** signed by the “F&M host” responsible for the activity.

** Disbursement vouchers made payable to non-US citizens will require a Social Security Number (SSN) or Tax Identification Number (TIN) in order to be paid.  Be aware that if an individual does not have a SSN or TIN, it can take 10-12 weeks to obtain one.  Contact in Human Resources as much in advance as possible when non-US citizens are involved with your event.

3.  Additional contract guidance

  • In the event that you encounter an unusual contract situation which does not conform to one of the standard contract templates, please send as much information as possible via email to and also complete and send the Independent Contractor Checklist for review and further instructions.

Questions and Contact Information

  • Email: