4.1.1 Use of, Accountability and Responsibility for State (University) Property

A.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to advise University employees of restrictions on the use of state (University) property, to establish responsibilities for the care of University property, and to prescribe procedures for the identification of property that has been missing or damaged.

B.  Persons Affected

All employees

C.  Definitions

  1. University. The University of Texas at Tyler
  2. SPA. State Property Accounting
  3. State agency.
    1. any department, commission, board, office, or other agency in the executive branch or legislative branch of state government created by the constitution or a statute of the state of Texas; or
    2. a university system or an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Texas Education Code, i.e., The University of Texas at Tyler.
  4. Controlled Assets. As per the Texas State Comptroller’s Policies and Procedures Manual, controlled assets are:
    1. any property that the Comptroller defines as Controlled in the State Property Accounting Users and
    2. all assets upon which the agency places local management controls.

D.  Policy and Procedures

  1. State Property Law: State Property Accounting
    The University accounting system is intended to provide the University with the information to make wise decisions and to serve as a University tool to assure the public that all University assets are well and properly maintained.
    1. All personal property owned by the state shall be accounted for by the agency that possesses that property and in accordance with the procedures set forth by SPA.
    2. Any possession of the State of Texas is required to have management controls placed upon it if has sufficient value to warrant inclusion in the fixed asset portion of any official statement(s) of financial condition, or if it is determined it should be secured and tracked because of the nature of the possession.
    3. State agencies are still responsible for maintaining accountability for all state property, but costs of a system for accountability, either in real costs or in lost opportunity costs, should not exceed the value of the equipment.
    4. To facilitate systems for accountability, the State Comptroller has written a State Property Accounting Process User’s Guide, a link to which is available on the Financial Services web page.
  2. Designation of Accountable Officers
    1. Property Manager: The Vice President for Business Affairs, serving as the Property Manager, administers the property inventory procedures and ensures compliance with state and University property regulations. As the representative of the President, the Property Manager is the custodian of all personal property possessed by the University.
    2. Accountable Property Officer: The President delegates authority to University department Budget Authorities   to serve as Accountable Property Officers with responsibility for the care, maintenance, and safe-keeping of property assigned to their departments. A department Budget Authority may not further delegate this responsibility.
  3. Failure to Maintain the Property Inventory in Accordance with State Law
    Texas Government Code Section 403.277 reads: If a state agency fails to keep the records or fails to take the annual physical inventory required by this subchapter, the Comptroller may refuse to draw warrants or initiate electronic funds transfers on behalf of the agency.
  4. Non-serviceable or Surplus Property
    Please refer to Handbook of Operating Procedure 4.1.4 for Disposal of University Property.
  5. Controlled Assets
    The following comprises a list of controlled assets the State Comptroller’s Office has determined that, due to the nature of the items, even though they are not capitalized assets, real property, or improvements to real property or infrastructure, they must be secured and tracked regardless of cost or fund source.  Guide (see website: https://fmx.cpa.texas.gov/fmx/pubs/spaproc/appendices/appa/appa_6.php)
  6. Restrictions on the use of University property: 

    1. University property and equipment of all types, including technical and research facilities of the University, are to be used only for official business. University equipment may not be taken off the University campus unless it is to be used for official business and approval has been obtained to remove the equipment from campus. Approval is obtained by filling out the “Request to Remove State Property from Campus” form and obtaining all required signatures. Personal telephone calls may not be charged to official telephones. The use of University-owned motor vehicles for other than official business is strictly prohibited by State Law (Texas Government Code 2203.004).
    2. Incidental personal use of University e-mail, a University telephone call to make a local call, or the Internet, provided that the use complies with applicable laws, University policies, UT System policies, and Regents’ Rules and Regulations, and does not result in additional cost to the University, is permissible.
      Permitted incidental use does not include the use of University computers, network, or telephone systems to access pay-per-view entertainment or obscene material, as defined by Texas State Texas Penal Code 43.21.

Procedures 

  1. Controlled Assets

    Controlled assets may be classified as capital assets if the total cost is $5000 or greater.   Only capitalized items are included in the Fixed Assets portion of the Annual Financial Report.

  2. Notice of Loss or Damage
    1. Negligence and/or Theft.  If a Budget Authority has reasonable cause to believe that any state property in the agency’s possession has been lost, destroyed, or damaged through the negligence of any state official or employee, or that any state property in the agency’s possession has been stolen, the Budget Authority responsible shall immediately report the loss, destruction, damage, or theft to Financial Services and to University Police
    2. If the Vice President for Business Affairs has reasonable cause to believe that any state property has been lost, damaged, or destroyed through the negligence or fault of a University official or employee, he or she shall immediately report such loss to the Attorney General and to the State Comptroller.  The Attorney General may investigate a report of loss, destruction, or damage to state property.  If the investigation discloses that a property loss has been sustained by the state through the fault of a University official or employee, the Attorney General shall make written demand on the University official or employee for reimbursement to the state for loss sustained.  If the demand made by the Attorney General for reimbursement for property loss, destruction, or damage is refused or disregarded by the University official or employee on whom such demand is made, the Attorney General may take legal action to recover the value of the state property as the Attorney General deems necessary.
  3. Change of Property Manager

    When the President or Property Manager of the University changes, the information about the new President or Property Manager will be updated in the Comptroller of Public Accounts online contact list within the CPA Web Portal by a University administrator of that system.

  4. Change of Department Budget Authority

    When there is a change in department Budget Authorities, a Budget Office “Request to Add/Change a Cost Center, Department, and/or Budget Authority” must be completed and routed to the Budget Office. Budget Office processing of the form will result in a change to the department Budget Authority in the University accounting system for Inventory purposes.

E.  Responsibilities

  1. Accountable Property Officers: (Budget Authorities)
    Budget Authorities will take all reasonable precautions to assure that the property is used only for official business and is safeguarded in such a manner as to ensure against loss or damage.  If, in spite of such precautions, property is stolen, missing, destroyed, or damaged, a report to the Property Manager via Financial Services should be filed.  Lost or Stolen property should be reported immediately to University Police.
  2. Budget Authorities are responsible for ensuring that individual inventory managers maintain their accounts in accordance with University and State policies.
  3. Budget Authorities are responsible for all departmental assets and must monitor items that are excluded from the University’s inventory to ensure that the department has the equipment necessary to accomplish its objectives.

F.  Review

This policy shall be reviewed by Financial Services every five years or as legislation changes.

ORIGINALLY APPROVED:  12/01/2001

LAST AMENDED:  04/15/2016