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Authority to Bind College to External Agreements (Policy)

Office of Origin: Board of Trustees
Responsibility: President
Original Date Adopted: 10-26-10 
Dates Reviewed: 08-24-15; 08-11-17; 12-4-19; 08-26-20, 10-20-21(C), 4-26-22(C), 4-5-23(C)
Last Date Board Approved: 4-26-22

Delegation of authority represents the legal power to act in the name of Lake Michigan College (the College) to bind the College to an obligation. Signing an agreement is the most common way delegated authority is exercised.  

This policy delineates who has the authority to obligate the College to an external organization. This policy does not apply to those approvals required for processes internal to the College (e.g., timesheets, journal entries, purchase requisitions.)

The College is not bound by and may not recognize as binding any obligation made by an unauthorized person.  

Any employee who fails to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action ranging from reprimand to discharge. The nature and severity of the disciplinary action will be consistent with established disciplinary procedures.

Authorized Signatures

The President, acting on behalf of and through the authority of the Board of Trustees (the Board), is vested with general authority to execute documents and contracts on behalf of the College.  

The President has also delegated signature authority to members of the executive management team (Cabinet) to bind the College as outlined in Appendix I – Delegation of Authority for Transactions External Organizations.

In addition, others employees have been given authority to bind the College in specific instances as outlined in Appendix II – Limited Delegation of Signature Authority within Area of Responsibility with External Organizations.

Delegations in the appendices following are tied to the position and not to a specific individual – i.e., a person acting on an interim basis assumes the same authority to bind as if they held the position on a regular basis.

Delegation of Signature Authority Modification

Requests to modify the delegation of signature authority are to be directed to the President. The President may also make non-substantive changes to this policy to reflect changes to or elimination of titles or positions.

Required Procedure

Normal consultations, administrative reviews, and approvals are expected to occur prior to binding signature, including, where appropriate, review by the President, appropriate Cabinet member, and/or College legal counsel.

Internal Controls

One of the most important internal controls for any organization is the segregation of incompatible duties. Those authorizing an obligation (i.e., approving a purchase) are responsible for considering whether the proper segregation of duties exist to safeguard College assets. Key duties such as authorizing the purchase, approving, or recording the transaction, receiving the asset, making the payment, and reviewing the financial records should be assigned to separate employees to minimize the risk of loss. A satisfactory internal control system depends largely on the elimination of opportunities to perpetrate and then conceal errors or irregularities; this in turn depends on the assignment of responsibilities so that no one person controls all phases of a transaction.


A person with delegated signing authority may not authorize the commitment of funds beyond those budgeted or as approved in writing by the supervising Cabinet member to exceed budgeted funds.


A person with delegated signing authority may not obligate the College to an agreement in which they have or could have a personal interest that would prevent objective analysis, such as one where they could personally benefit. Agreements in this category must be authorized by the person with authority at the next highest level organizationally.

Appendix I:  Delegation of Authority 

Up to $100,000 and $100,000+ with Board Approval

  • President
  • Vice Presidents (or equivalent)

Up to $25,000

  • Deans
  • Executive Directors

Up to $10,000

  • Directors
  • Associate Deans

Appendix II:  Limited Delegation of Authority within Area of Responsibility 

Budget Managers

Contracts and purchases up to $2,500 within area of responsibility

Executive Assistants (Proxy Authorization Group)

The Executive Assistants will be provided a proxy log-in up to the limit of those positions with the written approval of the executive being supported.

Executive Director, Facilities Management

Contracts and purchases up to $100,000 if related to a Board-approved capital project 

Grant Managers

Contracts and purchases up to $2,500 within area of responsibility

Manager, Purchasing & Risk Management

Purchasing contracts, purchase orders, and purchases up to $10,000

Mendel Center Event Managers

Event Managers, or those performing the function of an Event Manager, may authorize a purchase from or a payment to a vendor that is covered by a blanket purchase order.

Provost & Vice President, Academic Affairs 

Mendel Center artist/speaker/performer contracts with the co-signature of the Associate Dean, Visual & Performing Arts. Written notice of signed artist/speaker/performer contracts of $100,000 or more will be made to the Board Chair and the President within one business day of binding.

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