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OTPS Resource Management


A major component of the Lehman College's annual tax levy budget is allocated to Other Than Personal Services (OTPS), a funding stream used to classify non-personal resources.  The College uses OTPS funding to procure instructional and non-instructional supplies and materials (i.e. books, equipment, subscriptions, contractual services, furniture, and hundreds of other goods and services) necessary to support the mission of the College. The management and utilization of OTPS resources is handled by the offices of Budget and Planning, Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

In order to receive the maximum value for each dollar spent and to ensure compliance with the guidelines set forth by New York State and The City University of New York (CUNY); specific rules and procedures must be followed and adhered to when items are to be purchased, ordered, delivered, and inspected.  The following types of expenditures do not reflect the proper stewardship of publicly funded monies, and are therefore considered unallowable tax-levy expenditures (i.e. cannot be paid for using tax levy funds):

  • Donations, contributions, parties, receptions (retirement, award ceremonies), fines or penalties, fundraising activities, lobbying, goods or services for personal use, alcohol, etc.

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Key Offices and Services


Office Extension Point of contact
Budget & Planning 7447 Budget Allocations and Modifications, Budget Balances, New CUNYfirst Chartfields (Departments, Programs, etc.)
Purchasing 8261 Requisitions, Purchase Orders, Procurement Card (P-Card) and Security, Vendor Registration
Accounts Payable 8263 Vendor Payments, Receiving Reports, Travel and Expense Module, Travel Cards (T-Cards), Travel Guidelines
Property Management 8305 Tagging of new equipment and annual physical inventory of previously tagged equipment
CUNYfirst Security Access 1156 / 8736 Access to CUNYfirst Modules (Procurement, Financials, HCM & Campus Solutions, Travel and Expense, Budget, etc.).  ITR Security Liaison, Dr. Joseph Medved, 718-960-1156 or 8736

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OTPS Budget Allocation - Budget and Planning

The allocation and modification to the OTPS budget is managed by the Office of Budget and Planning (OB&P).  The annual tax-levy OTPS budget is initially allocated to the CUNYfirst budgetary code #80120 (NPS Supplies and Materials).  Once the budget is allocated, departments are able to request transfers to the other budgetary codes, which are as follows:

  • 80121 -NPS Travel
  • 80122 -NPS Contractual Services
  • 80123 -Equipment and Acquisition

Modifications to the OTPS budget can be requested electronically via the Lehman Connect Portal (Click here to login). Open for Step-by-Step Instructions.  No access? Submit a request via email to

Budget Modifications Guidelines

  • All requests are processed and completed within 48 hours.
  • Transfer requests from Temporary Services to OTPS and those related to SEEK require a longer processing time.
  • Requests to transfer funds in/out of OTPS will not be granted after the OTPS year-end deadline.

Understanding CUNYfirst Chartfields

The OTPS budget is allocated to individual departments by using the appropriate set of Chartfield combinations.  Chartfields enable us to segregate and organize transactions and budget data for both recording and reporting purposes.

  • Please refer to the following PDF Lehman College Chartfield Structure (PDF) for a list of Lehman's chartfield codes by division and department. Each academic or administrative unit has eight chartfields values, which are:
    • Account (PDF)- categorizes the nature of each transaction.  An account can be an asset, liability, fund balance, revenue or an expense account. For budgeting purposes, a select range of accounts have been identified. These accounts referred to as "Budgetary" accounts range from account #80120 to #80125, and are used to allocate and transfer funds between the selected budgetary accounts.  Note: Transactions cannot be recorded in these accounts. 
    • Fund - identifies the funding source (i.e. 10 for Tax Levy, 11 for IFR).
    • Department - an academic or administrative unit that manages budgets and expenditures.
    • Major Purpose - a code required for all expenditure accounts.
    • Program (PDF) - values are college specific (i.e. PSC Travel 10066; Faculty Start-up 10071).
    • Funding Source - these codes are college specific.
    • Operating Unit - used to track the activities within the sub-entities (ACE, COTC, Tech Fee, and APEX).
    • Special Initiative - N/A


  • Before submitting requisitions against departmental OTPS allocations, it is important to review the budget distribution and the available balance in CUNYfirst. To run and review CUNYfirst budget balances, please follow these steps (Budget Overview).
  • Employees/Requestors who have been authorized or assigned to use a College issued P-Card should also review departmental budget balances prior to making charges with the P-Card.  All reconciled and approved P-Card transactions are posted in CUNYfirst every other week; therefore, as you review departmental budget balances, it is important to manually deduct any unreconciled (or pending) P-Card transactions from the available budget balance. Failure to perform this review may result in budget over-spending. 
  • Requisitions with budget errors will FAIL processing if an incorrect chartfield combination is used, or if there are insufficient funds in the appropriate budgetary account. To see a list of requisitions with budget errors for your department, please do the following:

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CUNYfirst Procurement - Purchasing Office

The Purchasing Department is a centralized business unit responsible for procuring all products and services for the Lehman College Community.


The procurement process at Lehman College is done primarily through the City University of New York's Fully Integrated Resources and Service Tool (CUNYfirst). The majority of procurements made for the College are funded with tax levy monies; and therefore, must be processed using CUNYfirst (Click here to login).

Procurement for Non Tax-Levy entities, such as, the Student Association, Auxiliary Enterprises and Resolution A (Capital funds projects) are processed through the E-Procurement System-EPS (EPS login).

General Purchasing Procedures and Policies

Only the Purchasing Office is authorized to issue purchase orders and enter into contracts and/or agreements with prospective vendors on behalf of the College.  Confirming orders are a violation of CUNY's procurement policy.  A Confirming Order is an order placed by the end-user (Requestor) without following the standard procurement procedures, which begins with the creation of a CUNYfirst Requisition and the issuance of a Purchase Order by the Purchasing Office.

"It is the policy of the City University of New York (CUNY) for all vendors including minority and women-owned business enterprises, to have the opportunity to provide the University with goods and services at competitive prices."

All NYS procurements, including purchases done via the NYS issued P-card are required to adhere to the procurement guidelines, which includes Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) participation of 30% and 6%, respectively when spending college funds.

Requisition Process

The procurement process is initiated through the completion of a purchase requisition in either CUNYFirst or EPS by an authorized employee of Lehman College (also known as the Requestor). How to Create a RequisitionAdobe PDF  or VIDEO.  The requisition includes information such as the budget chartfields, expense codes, employee’s name, employee’s identification number, current date, description of the product to be purchased, detailed product specifications, quantity, item budget, estimated price for item, and required date of receipt.

Who is and what are the responsibilities of the Requestor?

  • In CUNYfirst the Requestor initiates the procurement of goods and services on behalf of a department.
  • The Requestor may be the primary beneficiary of the goods or services.
  • The Requestor may submit requisitions on behalf of a broader set of beneficiaries (such as faculty, students, or department staff).  In this case, the Requestor is still accountable for the procurement but is not the primary beneficiary of the goods/services.

Requisition Approval Process

  • Requisitions must be authorized and approved by the supervisor, divisional dean and/or the department chair via electronic sign-off (see Approval Process). 
  • Once approved by the department supervisor, budget approver and category approver (if necessary), CUNYfirst performs the first automatic "Budget Check". To perform a "Budget Check" manually, please follow the "Budget Check" procedures (click here).
    • If the Requisition PASSES the "Budget Check", it automatically moves to the Purchasing Office to be processed/sourced. Note: The Purchasing department is now able to view and process the requisition.
    • If the requisition FAILS the first automatic "Budget Check", then the requisition remains unprocessed in CUNYfirst. On a daily basis, the Office of Budget and Planning reviews requisitions that have failed the "Budget Check" process.  Departments are notified by email, a prompt response will expedite the processing of the requisition. Note:  The requisition cannot be viewed by the Purchasing Office until after it PASSES the required "Budget Check".

Purchase Orders

The purchase order process begins after the requisition has passed all budget checks and is fully approved. Once the requisition reaches the purchasing department, the assigned Purchasing Agent (PA), verifies the information on the requisition.  If the PA is satisfied with the requisition, then the requisition will be sourced into a purchase order (PO). The Purchasing Office will make a determination as to the best procurement process for the required goods or services. All procurements are handled through a competitive solicitation process.

Competitive Solicitation Threshold

Dollar Range


Average Time from Requisition to PO 

Up to $19,999

Informal Purchase: Telephone Quotations will be emailed to at least five (5) prospective bidders, who must submit their quote via email or fax to the Purchasing Office by a specified date and time. 

1 - 3 weeks

$20,000 - $100,000

Informal Purchase: Request for Quotation (RFQ) for purchases of good/services or combination of goods/services. Also, may be used as a method of procurement for purchases from State-certified Minority/Women-Owned Businesses (MWBE) that have a value up to $200,000. RFQ's will be emailed to a minimum of five (5) prospective bidders who must submit their authorized quote via mail, hand delivery, email or fax by the RFQ Response Deadline. Advertisement (min. 15 business days) is required for purchases $50,000 and above in NYS Contract Reporter. Review and approval may also be required by CUNY's Office of General Counsel (OGC).  Informal_Purchasing_Memo (Discretionary Purchasing Authority)

2 – 6 weeks

$100,000 & Above

Formal Purchase: Invitation for Bids (IFB) lution for approval by the CUNY Board of Trustees, NYS Office of the Comptroller and NYS Attorney General.


  • The coding of the purchase order in CUNYfirst is performed by the requestor and validated by the purchasing agent.
  • The Director of Purchasing reviews and approves all Purchase Orders.
  • The original purchase order is sent to the vendor by the assigned Purchasing Agent. Departments should NOT forward purchase orders to any vendor.  The process from a requisition to a purchase order varies according to the dollar amount and/or the complexity of the transaction.
  • Once merchandise is received, a receipt must be created against the Purchase Order -Click here for steps on how to create a Receiving Report in CUNYfirst

NOTE: Purchase Orders can only be issued to a New York State Certified Vendor.  If the Vendor is not in the CUNYfirst system, please complete the CUNY-Vendor-Registration-Form and submit to CUNY Vendor Records Management Unit, 230 West 41st Street 5th Floor, New York, NY10036 Or by fax: (646) 664-3910 or email to: A copy of the submitted form should be forwarded to the Purchasing Department as well.

Procurement Card Holders (P-Card)

The New York State Procurement Card issued by JP Morgan Chase on behalf of CUNY is solely intended for the approved purchases of goods and services made for the College. The P-Card allows departments to purchase small dollar value, non recurring, non contractual items, directly from a vendor without the need for a requisition or purchase order. P cards, once issued are in the name of the person receiving the card but under the credit of the college. Having a card will not affect the cardholder’s personal credit but they are responsible for following all CUNY, state and college policies applicable to the use of these cards. The cardholder cannot give this card to another person to use, however, they can and are expected to make purchases on behalf of others in the department. For additional information regarding the purpose and use of the P-Card, please click on the link below “Guidelines of Individually Held Purchasing Cards.”

At this time, Lehman College is limiting the distribution of P cards to not more than one per Division, depending on need, past usage and budget authority. If you are interested in a card, and would like to know more about the program and whether you are eligible, you may contact a Program Administrator. The Program Administrators at Lehman College are the AVP for Financial Operations and the Procurement Director. If it is determined, that you are eligible, a link will be sent to you to apply for the card through JP Morgan Chase on line portal specifically for this purpose.

The following are the CUNYfirst access forms required to obtain access to the procurement and credit card modules in CUNYfirst:


Form/Application Purpose Submit to

CUNYfirst Procurement User Access Request

To add, modify, or remove CUNYfirst security access to Procurement (Financial Supply Chain module) Financial Operations, Shuster Hall, Room #012
CUNYfirst P-Card, T-Card and NET Card Security Access Request To provide CUNYfirst access to reconcile credit card transactions Accounts Payable, Shuster Hall, Room #016

The cardholder can designate a proxy to reconcile the credit card statement on their behalf. Failure to follow credit card procedures will result in forfeiture of the card.

NOTE: All reconciled P-Card transactions, for which Accounts Payable has reviewed and approved, are posted in CUNYfirst every other week. Unreconciled P-Card transactions are NOT reflected in departmental expenditures. Therefore, as you review departmental budget balances, it is important to manually deduct these unreconciled P-card expenses from budget balances. Failure to adhere to the above statement will result in budget over spending. It is essential that all credit card transactions are reconciled timely to ensure prompt payment of all bills. Failure to reconcile timely, will result in permanent forfeiture of the card.

CUNY's MWBE and SDVOB Participation Goal:

All college procurements (Tax Levy, Non-tax levy, and Auxiliary & Association Corporations) are assessed for 30% Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) & 6% Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) participation by CUNY Central.

"It is the policy of the City University of New York (CUNY) for all vendors including minority and women-owned business enterprises, to have the opportunity to provide the University with goods and services at competitive prices. According to the 2010 New York State Disparity Study, Minority / Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) have a historical disadvantage in winning New York State contracts."

  • All NYS procurements, including purchases done via the NYS issued P-card are required to adhere to the procurement guidelines, which includes MWBE/SDVOB participation when spending college funds. This means that anyone that procures goods and services utilizing the College's funds must actively solicit MWBE and SDVOB vendors to ensure that the required participation goals are met.
  • The University has an overall 30% NYS-certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) participation goal and 6% NYS-certified Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) participation goal. This means that every CUNY campus (Senior Colleges, Community Colleges, Honors and Professional Schools) is required to make a good faith effort to achieve the University's MWBE and SDVOB goals, 30% and 6% respectively.
Please note that the college's MWBE/SDVOB participation rate is recorded and shared with CUNY's Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Presidents and Vice Presidents on a quarterly basis. Please contact your assigned buyer for more information on MWBE vendors.

Additional information regarding CUNY's MWBE/SDVOB participation can be found on the CUNY's Supplier Diversity website at:

Independent Contractor Agreements (ICA)

When a department needs to engage an independent contractor, they must follow the same process used for the procurement of services. The department must provide substantive reasons why a specific consultant is being identified for the required service. It is the duty of the Purchasing Office to determine from the information received, if the services requested warrant the use of an Independent Contractor Agreement.

  • A current student or an employee cannot be hired as an Independent Contractor.
  • To begin the Independent Contractor Agreement process, a requisition is required in CUNYfirst. The requisition should be entered using a “Dummy Vendor” as the vendor/payee, if the vendor/payee is not already in CUNYfirst.
    • If the service needed is part of an event, please attach an event program, flyer, or agenda describing the purpose of the event.
    • Your submission must include a description of the specific services to be provided, including duration of service(s), dates of service(s) will be provided, and pricing structure.  In addition, the full name, street address, phone number and e-mail address of the ICA is needed. Please see required forms below:

    NOTE: The registration process may take up to two weeks provided that all required forms are completed correctly.

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    CUNYfirst Payments - Accounts Payable

    The Office of Accounts Payable (AP) manages the timely processing of payments, invoices, and vouchers related to tax-levy expenses in accordance with CUNY and State Guidelines.  

    CUNYfirst Receipt
    In order for Accounts Payable to process payments to vendors, the following documents are required:

    • Valid CUNYfirst Purchase Order (issued by the Purchasing Office)
    • CUNYfirst receipt entered by the end-user
    • Original invoice from the vendor

    Note:  Once service or merchandise is received, a receipt must be created by the end-user.

    How To Create a CUNYfirst Receipt - Creating Receiving Reports in CUNYfirst

    • If the Purchase Order line is dollar-based, then an "Amount Receipt" must be entered. For example, a "blanket" Purchase Order (PO) for telephone services or Proftech, then adjust the "Price" field to reflect the amount billed on the vendor's invoice.
    • If the Purchase Order line is quantity-based, then a "Quantity Receipt" must be entered, and the "Receipt Quantity" field must be adjusted to reflect the actual quantity of goods received. For example:
      • If 12 mugs were ordered, and only 10 were received, input 10 in the "Quantity" field.
      • If 12 mugs were ordered, and 12 arrived, but 2 were broken, input 10 in the "Quantity" field.

    Note: All invoices and packing slips must be signed and returned to Accounts Payable, Shuster Hall, Room #016.

    Inspection of Merchandise
    A mandatory inspection in CUNYfirst is required for all items listed below:


    Merchandise / Services Department Inspector
    Furniture and Non-Technology equipment Campus Facilities Robin Auchincloss
    Hazardous Materials Hazmat/OSHA Manager Ilona Linins
    Technology Items (computers, laptops, iPads, cellphones, etc.) Information Technology Assigned by ITR

    CUNYfirst Travel and Expenses

    CUNY/State Employees - Travel Guidelines and Resources

    When using tax-levy funds, all requests for travel approval and expense reimbursement must be processed via the CUNYfirst Travel and Expense Module.  Utilizing this self-service application will expedite the process for approving travel requests and receiving reimbursement for travel expenses; thus eliminating the paper process.

    To gain access to the Travel and Expense Module, employees must complete the CUNYfirst Travel Expense User Access Request Form (PDF). Research Foundation employees must first be set-up as "a person of interest" by the Office of Human Resources. 

    Travel Guidelines and Forms

    Understanding Travel Authorizations

    Travel Authorizations ensure that travel requests meet a business purpose, and that the budget is available and set aside for the trip. Travel Authorizations must be approved by the employee's supervisor and department approver before the travel event.

    • Travel Authorizations are mandatory for overnight and/or out-of-town travel.
    • It can be created in CUNYfirst by the Employee (or their Proxy). 
    • Supporting documentation must be uploaded to CUNYfirst (ex. conference invitations, estimated airfare, etc.) 
    • It must be future-dated, approved, and budget checked prior to travel. 
  • How To... Before Travel Event

    How To... After Travel Event (Expense Reports)

    Create a CUNYfirst Expense Report - An expense report must be submitted within 5 days after the travel end date. Expense Reports must be copied from an Approved Travel Authorization.  In addition, all receipts, conference booklets, and final costs must be uploaded into the Expense Report. Create Expense Report (Net-Card or Employee Paid) (E-Learning)

    Important Reminders

    • Employee must change the chartfields when charging the expenses to a different department (Example: Dean, Provost, etc.). Chartfield information should be provided by the department approving the expense.
    • If you are a member of the PSC, select PSC under the expense type.
    • Regardless of purpose, all travel must be approved in advance of purchasing any tickets and/or making travel arrangements.
    • All out-of-town travel requires an approved Travel Authorization in CUNYfirst.
    • Concur is the preferred method for securing all travel arrangements. It ensures an easy booking process for all NYS travelers; including government rates, when available, for flights and hotels and allows for refunds in the event the travel does not occur. Recommended exceptions include: emergency situations, when the non-contract fare saves $200 or more per round-trip ticket, or contract flights would require the traveler to incur unnecessary overnight lodging costs. All travel expenses whether done through the Agency or independently must be based on the best available economy rate. Exceptions to this must be preapproved by the College's Fiscal Officer/AVP for Financial Operations.The State of New York reimburses for lodging, meals and incidentals based on travel destination (see Per Diem Rates).
    • Per New York State Travel guidelines, lodging costs that exceed the stated per diem rates must be requested in writing and approved by the Fiscal Officer (see Request-to-Exceed-Hotel-Travel-Allowance Form).

    Individuals using their private personal vehicles for college travel purposes are entitled to a mileage allowance which changes periodically based on New York State Travel Mileage Rates.

    Non-CUNY/State Employees - Travel Guidelines and Resources

    Lehman College will pay or reimburse reasonable expenses to faculty and ECP candidates who visit the College to meet with the search committee and other individuals. Please see the complete Guidelines for Candidate Travel (Faculty and ECP searches only)Appendix 1  and Appendix 2c.

    In addition, OTPS funds can be used to reimburse other non-employees such as speakers and other visitors to the College. Travel related expenses such as Amtrak ticket, taxi fare, and commercial air fare can be reimbursed with receipts. The cost of lodging and meals will be reimbursed according to the allowable government rate ( with receipts. The following State of New York Travel reimbursement forms are required along with itemized receipts:

    Other Business Expenses

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    Reporting Tools and Queries

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    CUNYfirst Security Access, Forms and Applications


    Form/Application Purpose Submit to

    CUNYfirst Procurement User Access Request

    To add, modify, or remove CUNYfirst security access to Procurement (Financial Supply Chain module) Financial Operations, Shuster Hall, Room #012
    CUNYfirst P-Card, T-Card and NET Card Security Access Request To provide CUNYfirst access to reconcile credit card transactions Accounts Payable, Shuster Hall, Room #016
    CUNYfirst Travel Expense User Access Request To provide CUNYfirst access to the Travel and Expense Modules, which allows users to submit travel authorizations and expense reports. Accounts Payable, Shuster Hall, Room #016
    CUNYfirst General Ledger (GL) User Access Request To provide CUNYfirst access to run budget and expenditure reports via the "Financial Supply Chain" link  Financial Operations, Shuster Hall, Room #012

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