About Delegations of Authority

Expand All / Collapse All
What is a delegation of authority?

The University has identified 83 types of transactions (contracts and agreements) that, when signed by an individual who has been delegated authority, legally obligate the University. All delegations of authority start with the President and can be sub-delegated to employees throughout the organization where appropriate for their position. Some authorities have only been delegated to one position, such as University-wide agreements with a foreign institution (the President), while other authorities have been sub-delegated to several hundred positions, such as purchasing goods and services up to $49,999.

Clear, well-documented delegations and sub-delegations of authority protect the University by assigning authority to positions responsible for the transaction and governing laws, rules, and policies. In a large, complex organization like the University, it is not always practical for senior leaders to manage all of the transactions of the unit. Delegations of authority allow senior leaders to entrust and empower qualified employees in designated positions to handle specific transactions on their behalf in order to achieve effective and efficient results.

Employees who do not have the authority to sign contracts and agreements are prohibited from doing so.

Following natural management reporting lines, an employee in a position with a delegated authority may sub-delegate that authority to a direct report position, and so on throughout the organization. For example, the President delegates authority to approve the Duluth’s Campus Foreign Institutions Agreements to the Duluth Chancellor.

Any employee in a position that has been delegated an authority, and who wishes to further sub-delegate that authority to a direct report:

  • must specify the unit(s) for which the delegated authority applies;
  • must specify a start date for the authority;
  • may place a limitation on that delegation, such as a maximum dollar amount or executing this authority only in the absence of the delegator; and/or
  • may specify when the authority cannot be further sub-delegated.

Supervisors may revoke or change the delegation as needed (e.g., the employee leaves the position or the University).

All current delegations of authority are housed centrally in the Delegations of Authority Library, maintained by the Office of Institutional Compliance. Individuals can search delegations in the database using a variety of search functions – by authority, by unit covered, by delegator, or by delegatee. In addition, individuals can view the delegations of authorities in the database for a variety of reasons:

  • to verify that the contract signature aligns with the authority that the individual's position has been given;
  • to determine which position(s) within the unit has the authority to sign a contract or agreement; and
  • to confirm if the units covered match the contract or agreement that is being executed.

Delegations of Authority by the President to senior leaders directly reporting to him may, but need not, be re-delegated by those senior leders to other individuals reporting to them.

Sub-delegations to these other individuals must be consistent with the following limitations and conditions:

  1. Sub-delegated authority must be exercised consistent with all applicable laws and University policies, including specifically Board of Regents Policy: Reservations and Delegations of Authority, Board of Regents Policy: Legal Review of Contracts, and Administrative Policy: President's Delegations of Authority.
  2. Senior leaders reporting directly to the President remain accountable at all times for the exercise of any authority they choose to sub-delegate to others. Senior leaders reporting directly to the President have full discretion to reserve to themselves any authority assigned to them by the President.
  3. Authority relating to the transactions that require specific approval of the Board of Regents may not be sub-delegated.
  4. Authority relating to transactions that have potentially significant University-wide policy implications, potentially significant University-wide budget implications, or potentially significant public impact, may not be sub-delegated.
  5. Authority relating to transactions that require a substantive change in a University policy may not be sub-delegated.
  6. Authority relating to transactions that raise significant conflict of interest issues may not be sub-delegated.
  7. Authority relating to transactions that, taken as a whole, involve purchase of goods or services in excess of $50,000 may not be sub-delegated below the unit or department head or director, as specified by the delegator. Transactions that, taken as a whole, involve purchase of professional services in excess of $50,000 may not be sub-delegated below the unit or department head or director, as specified by the delegator.

You can find more information in the following related policies and the Delegations of Authority slide presentation.