The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Emergency Purchases (Sample)

Reference Number: MTAS-1732
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: August 12, 2015
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Purpose
Emergency purchases are to be made by departments only when normal functions and operations of the department would be hampered by submitting a requisition in the regular manner, or when property, equipment, or life are endangered through unexpected circumstances and materials, services, etc., and are needed immediately.

Who Makes Emergency Purchases
Emergency purchases, either verbal or written, may be made directly by the using department without competitive bids, provided sufficient funds are available and necessary approvals have been secured.

Who Authorizes Emergency Purchases
The purchasing agent or the department head, if the purchasing agent is unavailable, may authorize an emergency purchase.

How to Make Emergency Purchases
After determining a true emergency exists, the following procedure should be followed:

1. Notify the purchasing department of the need and nature of the emergency. The department will give verbal approval and issue a purchase order number. This number will be put on the requisition referred to in number 4 below.

2. Using department must use sound judgment about prices when making emergency purchases of materials and supplies and for labor or equipment. Orders should be placed with vendors who have a good track record with the department.

3. Suppliers shall furnish sales tickets, delivery slips, invoices, etc., for the supplies or services rendered. Terms of the transactions, indicating price and other data, shall be shown.

4. As soon as the purchase is complete, on the same or following business day, the using department must:

  • Give the purchasing department a complete requisition with a description of the emergency and approval by the department head. “Confirming Emergency Purchase” must be marked plainly on the requisition, along with the purchase order number.
  • The sales ticket, delivery slips, invoices, and material receiving report confirming the purchase must be attached to the emergency requisition form.
  • The purchasing department will issue the vendor a purchase order marked “Confirmation.”

5. If an emergency should occur during a time when the purchasing department normally is closed, the using department will follow the above procedure with the exception of the first step. The evidence of purchase, such as sales slip, counter receipt, delivery slip, invoice, etc., that the supplier normally furnishes, shall be attached to the completed and approved requisition form and be forwarded to the purchasing department, along with a material receiving report.

6. As soon as possible, the person authorizing the emergency purchase must prepare a report to the chief executive officer and the governing body specifying the amount paid, the item(s) purchased, from whom the purchase(s) was made, and the nature of the emergency.

General Information
Emergency purchases are costly and should be kept to a minimum. Avoiding emergency orders will save the city money.

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