Part Number: 3401

Department of Education Acquisition Regulation

3401.602-3 Ratification of unauthorized commitments.

(a) Definitions. As used in this subpart, commitment includes issuance of letters of intent and arrangements for free vendor services or use of equipment with the promise or the appearance of commitment that a contract, modification, or order will, or may, be awarded.

(b) Policy.

(1) The HCA or Chief of the Contracting Office may, or may not, later ratify unauthorized commitments made by individuals without contracting authority or by contracting officers acting in excess of the limits of their delegated authority. Law and regulation requires that only individuals acting within the scope of their authority make acquisitions. Within the Department, that authority vests solely with the Contracting Officer. Acquisitions made by other than authorized personnel are matters of serious misconduct. The employee may be held legally and personally liable for the unauthorized commitment.

(2) Ratifications do not require concurrence from legal counsel.

(3) The person who made the unauthorized commitment must prepare the request for approval that must be submitted through the person's manager to the approving official.

(4) The Chief of the Contracting Office may review and sign or reject ratification requests up to $25,000.

(5) All other ratification requests must be reviewed and signed or rejected by the HCA.