Signature Authority Guidelines
The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is a legal entity created by the legislature under §36 Wis. Stats. et al. Since the UW System stands as a singular business entity, only designated and authorized officers and agents may act with the legal authority of the UW System, specifically, only explicitly designated officers and agents may bind the UW System to contracts and agreements.
The UW System is comprised of thirteen (13) Colleges; eleven (11) comprehensive universities; and two (2) research universities. 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, the President of the University of Wisconsin System, on behalf of the Board of Regents, has delegated to the Chancellors of the respective institutions signature authority of the respective institutions.
In turn, through Board of Regents Policy 13-1 further delegation of contracting authority is permitted for most contracts to designated and named 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.
The scope of the authority under Board of Regents Policy 13-1 applies to contracts that bind the Board of Regents and UW System institutions, including, but not limited to, grants, memorandums of understanding, certifications, releases, leases of personal property (not real property), and revenue royalty agreements.
Signature authority for contracts or agreements involving the conveyance of real property through title or leasehold is found in Board of Regents Policy 13-2, “Real Property and Construction Contract Signature Authority and Approval.” The authority to enter into agreements conveying real estate lies exclusively with the Board of Regents, individual institutions may not enter into leaseholds or title transfers without explicit approval by the Board of Regents. No authority exists with the UW System or individual institutions for entering into construction contracts. All authority for those contracts rests with the Department of Administration. Contact Purchasing Office for any questions.
The authority to purchase and delegate to designated agents the authority to purchase necessary materials, supplies, equipment, all other permanent personal property and miscellaneous capital, and contractual services and all other expense of a consumable nature for all agencies is granted by §16.71, Wis. Stats. Procurement contracts include contracts for disposal of surplus property.
Procurement contracts are different from all other contracts in that authority to sign them flows from the Wisconsin Department of Administration to the Purchasing Office through the UW System Office of Procurement. Thus, procurement contracts may be signed only by a purchasing agent and his/her designees who have been granted permission in writing.
Authority vested under Board of Regents Policies 13-1 and 13-2 does not apply to purchase orders issued under delegated state purchasing authority. Signature authority for those contracts is covered in §16.71, Wis. Stats. and is controlled by UW-Parkside Procurement Policies and Procedures. Contact Purchasing directly (Purchasing@uwp.edu) with questions or a current list of designees with authority to sign purchasing contracts.
Appointment of Employees
The authority to appoint employees is determined by the Chancellor and governed by University Human Resources Policies and Procedures. Questions regarding this authority should be directed to the Department of Human Resources.
Contracts Requiring Approval of Regents or UW System
Regardless of the designated signature authority, each of the following types of documents typically requires approval by UW System or the Board of Regents prior to signature:
- Any agreement for which the total actualized value may exceed $1,000,000;
Note: Agreements with a total actualized value of greater than $500,000 but less than $1,000,000 must be reviewed by UW System Legal Counsel prior to execution
- Agreements that contemplate or commit establishment of an academic program which has not had prior Regent approval;
- Agreements involving construction or modification of facilities that require UW System Capital Budget or State Building Commission approval;
- Sales, trades, purchases, and gifts of real property, and leases which would permit a privately owned or operated facility to be constructed on state-owned land;
- Any contract with a value less than $1,000,000 if the President of the UW System determines that the contract warrants Board approval prior to execution.
- Contracts for athletic coaches in which the annual compensation exceeds $500,000
The State of Wisconsin purchasing policy states that the competitive bidding process is the preferred method for purchasing supplies or services and is to be used in every case unless it can be determined, and justified, that competitive bidding is neither practical on a given procurement, nor in the best interest of the University. A waiver of the bidding process must be requested on a case-by-case basis. When requesting a non-competitive purchase over $5,000, additional information and justification will be required. University Purchasing may ask for additional information during the process.