FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
President's Delegations of Authority FAQ
- Why does the University need delegations of authority?
Clear, well-documented delegations and sub-delegations of authority protect the University’s assets by assigning authority to individuals who are knowledgeable about the transaction and governing laws, policies, and procedures. In a large, complex organization like the University, it is not always practical for supervisors to manage all of the transactions of the unit. Delegation of authority allows them to entrust and empower qualified employees to handle specific transactions on their behalf in order to achieve effective and efficient results.
- What are delegations/sub-delegations of president's authority?
The University, like all corporations, must act through authorized individuals. The law authorizes the Board of Regents to act for the University. In turn, the Regents have delegated general executive management and administrative authority for the University to the president. The president may choose to retain authorities and to delegate other authorities to executive officers, which essentially flow down through the University's chain of command.
Delegations of authority associated with this policy include the ability to sign contracts and agreements that bind the University to a legally enforceable obligation (transactional authorities). The delegations of authority associated with this policy do not include broad oversight and management authorities, such as those outlined in job descriptions (non-transactional authorities). Ideally, there is alignment between these two types of authorities, as well as authorities provided to employees responsible for interfacing with institution-wide tools (Enterprise Financial System, Human Resources Management System, etc.).
- Who is allowed to delegate authority? Who decides what authority to delegate?
Delegation of authority is a management decision. Delegators may not sub-delegate any authority that has not been delegated to them in writing or any authority that has been identified as one that cannot be sub-delegated. If you have not been delegated a particular authority, you are not allowed to delegate that authority to another person.
- What is the President's Delegations of Authority Library?
The President's Delegations of Authority Library is a comprehensive, web-based database that lists all of the transactional delegations/sub-delegations of authority at the University of Minnesota.
- Who monitors delegations of authority for the University?
Each unit is responsible for monitoring the delegations / sub-delegations of authority and complying with this policy. The Office of Institutional Compliance will provide education and support to units to ensure compliance with this policy across the organization. In addition, the Office of Internal Audit reviews unit documentation of delegations and sub-delegations of authority as part of their standard audit operations, and will advise the president and the institutional compliance officer on individual and organizational trends regarding policy compliance.
- What is signature authority and how does it differ from other authorities?
Signature authority means the power to sign a contract or take an action that binds the University. Approval is consent. Additional approvals may be required, depending on the nature of the transaction, legal requirements, dollar level, etc.
- Who can I turn to for assistance if I have questions on delegations of authority so that my unit complies with the policy?
Your unit delegations coordinator may assist you in managing compliance with this policy. You may also contact the Office of Institutional Compliance, which provides central support to units in complying with this policy.
- What if I have a personnel change (i.e., new hire, promotion, reorganization or resignation) and I need to request a change in delegations?
It is important to request the change in the President's Delegations of Authority Library (see Adding or Changing a Delegation on how to submit a request) and to communicate in writing any authorities delegated or sub-delegated to the new employee. If the new employee is in a new position that you have never delegated to before, you may want to review what authorities have been delegated to employees in similar positions in other departments or units.
- Do I need to delegate or sub-delegate the same authorities to all employees within a common position classification?
No. Delegations are made to the individual, not to the position. You may choose to delegate to all individuals within a certain position classification the same authorities or to customize the delegations to reflect the varied levels of skills and experience between individuals within the same position classification.
- Where can I find the list of specific authorities I can delegate?
A complete list of all potential delegations of authority is provided in the Delegations of Authority Listing. Keep in mind that you may not delegate any authority that has not been delegated to you in writing or any authority that has been identified as one that cannot be sub-delegated.
- How frequently should I review the authority that I have delegated?
You should review your delegations with each delegatee annually to achieve clarity and consistency, to ensure proper alignment between management authority, responsibility, and accountability, and to make adjustments as appropriate. An ideal opportunity for reviewing the delegations is the annual performance review, as well as in concert with any personnel changes or unit reorganization that may occur.
- How do I obtain the authority to sign documents I need to sign for my job?
Ask your supervisor. If your supervisor does not have the authority to sign the contract, someone in your organization does or knows who does. Only an individual who has authority may sub-delegate that authority, if authorized to do so.
- How do I know whether I have the authority to sign a contract?
Until you have the delegation of this authority in writing from your supervisor, you do not have authority to sign a contract or legal document. Delegations of authority to you must be communicated in writing. Delegations of authority issued to you verbally are invalid.
- What happens if I have no authority, but sign anyway?
The agreement may be void and you may be held personally responsible for all losses and subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
- Who do I turn to if I have question about what an authority means?
You should contact a contract or transaction attorney in the Office of the General Counsel to ask for clarification on the meaning of a specific authority.