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Northern Illinois University
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Materials Management
Property Control
Procedure No. 20-7
Revised 5/2008


The Property Control Department, located in the Dorland Building, is responsible for insuring compliance with all applicable provisions of the State Property Control Act.

  1. State Property Control Act
  2. The purpose of the State Property Control Act, as related to movable equipment of the university, is "to safeguard the property of the State and encourage effective utilization of state-owned property." Within this framework, the President of the university is designated as the "responsible officer" under the act, and is accountable for all property to the Director of the Department of Central Management Services, State of Illinois. The President normally delegates this responsibility for the university's physical assets to department heads or fiscal officers who work with or have control over equipment assets. Information contained in this section of the Business Procedure Manual is primarily intended to assist those individuals in meeting their responsibility to the President on property control matters.

  3. Definition of Equipment
  4. An equipment item is a movable or fixed unit of furniture or furnishings, an instrument, a machine, an apparatus, or a set of articles which generally meets all of the following conditions:

    1. It retains its original shape and appearance with use.
    2. It normally has a useful life of more than two years and is non-consumable; that is, if the article is damaged or some of its parts are lost or worn out, it is usually more feasible to repair it than to replace it with an entirely new unit.
    3. It generally represents a substantial investment of money, which makes it feasible and advisable to capitalize the item.
    4. It does not lose its identity through incorporation into a different or more complex unit or substance.
    5. All items of an equipment nature individually costing or valued at $500.00 or more must be placed on inventory.

  5. NIU Identification Tags
  6. The Property Control Department tags furniture and equipment costing $500.00 or more with a white bar-coded label showing a six-digit identification number and the words "Property of, Northern Illinois University." Items costing less than $500.00 are not tagged by the Property Control Department.

    The NIU tag numbers identify the items so they can be cross-referenced to the purchase order on which an item was acquired. They are applied to furniture and equipment using either a label, an indelible marking pen, or both.

    When equipment consists of several pieces which are likely to be used separately, each piece shall be marked in such a manner that the identification number is not easily removed.

  7. Inventory Reconciliation
  8. The State Property Control Act includes a provision that annually a physical inventory is to be made for all items and a full accounting of errors or exceptions reported to the State. Therefore, the university prepares a complete listing of all equipment each year. The lists are sent to those individuals who are accountable for the equipment and it is their responsibility to report to the Property Control Department any differences between the published list and the actual inventory. Property Control assists departments in locating missing inventory or otherwise helps to resolve any other differences. They also conduct periodic physical inventories, although primary responsibility for the equipment still rests with the fiscal officer or department head.

    In addition to the annual listing, there are monthly transaction listings available to the department fiscal officer, showing equipment additions and/or deletions that have occurred during any given month. These monthly listings must be requested from Property Control, and if any discrepancies are noted, they should be promptly reported to Property Control Department.

  9. Inventory Verification After a Physical Move
  10. The Property Control Department will update a Department's Inventory following a physical move to another location. A list of assets will be sent to the responsible officer of that department. The responsible officer will identify those assets they wish to retain and those assets they wish to surplus. Those assets left in the old location will remain the Department's responsibilty until Property Control has received proper notification that they have been transferred to another department or have been removed from that location by university movers for surplus.

  11. Transfer of Equipment
  12. The Property Control Department must be contacted first when a department wishes to have assigned equipment:

    1. Transferred permanently to another department
    2. Surplused and removed from inventory
    3. Transferred from one inventory location to another
    4. Transferred from the surplus equipment pool to their inventory location

    In such instances, the Property Control Department will initiate the necessary Equipment Transfer Authorization, a copy of which will be supplied to the university’s movers to allow the move to be scheduled. The requesting department will also receive a copy when the university’s movers complete the work.

    Equipment Transfer Form

  13. Off-Campus Use of University Property
  14. The private and/or personal use of university property is expressly prohibited; however, situations may arise where university responsibilities can justify the temporary use of portable equipment off-campus. The criteria for off-campus usage is more effective utilization of university resources and not the personal convenience of the employee. Approval to use equipment off-campus is obtained by completing a "Request to Use NIU-Owned Equipment Off Campus" form available from the Property Control Department, or on the Materials Management web site under Property Control. Complete this form, sign it, obtain your department head's signature, and forward two copies to the Property Control Department at the Dorland Building. When Property Control approves the request, a signed copy will be returned to the requesting department. Equipment should not be removed from campus without first obtaining an approved off-campus equipment use form.

    Request to Use NIU-Owned Equipment Off-Campus Form

  15. Surplus or Scrap Equipment
  16. Equipment owned by the university which has become obsolete, damaged or broken, worn out, or is no longer needed by a department should be surplused on a timely basis.

    To surplus equipment, the department should prepare a memorandum containing the following information and send it to the Property Control Department—Dorland Building:

    1. NIU Inventory number
    2. Description (i.e., secretarial chair, Black, AllSteel)
    3. General condition or usability
    4. Reason for scrapping or surplusing
    5. The complete department name
    6. Building and Room No. where the item can be picked up
    7. A contact person's name and phone number

    Property Control will then prepare an Equipment Transfer Authorization form and arrange for the item to be picked up and removed by the university movers or Grounds Department staff, and placed in the used equipment pool for reassignment within the university or eventual transfer to the State Property Control Division in Springfield.

    Computer Systems with Hard Drives

    State of Illinois Public Act 93-0306 effective 7/23/2003 requires that all hard drives returned with surplus computer equipment be wiped clean of all data and software by overwriting every track at least ten (10) times and certifying in writing that this process has been completed. Central Management Services and NIU Property Control will only accept completed systems that have been certified by attaching a sticker (form # 24709 available from Property Control) with the Agency name, Serial #, NIU Asset Tag #, Application used to overwrite, Name of person overwriting the disk, Date and Signature of certifier. This sticker must be applied on the upper right-hand corner of the face of the unit. Laptops must be labeled on the topside of its cover.

    The software, instructions and detailed information to erase the hard drive can be found at www.its.niu.edu/downloads/wipedisk.shtml. ITS Customer Support will accept work orders to provide this service for a miminal charge.

    Central Management Services further states that all of the computer equipment that belongs with the system is to be returned whole and intact. If the hard drive has been removed or is not operating and unable to be wiped clean, the certification label must state that the hard drive was removed and either drilled, crushed or shredded.

    All requests for surplus computer equipment must comply with these procedures and be properly labeled before Property Control and Materials Management personnel will be able to pickup these items from the Departments.

  17. Tagging of Movable Equipment—Purchased
  18. Purchased equipment should be unpacked and checked for damage immediately after the requesting department receives it. If the department is satisfied, it should inform the Property Control Department (753-1436) that the equipment is ready to be tagged.

  19. Gifts of Equipment
  20. Departments receiving any gift of equipment must notify the NIU Foundation of the donation and provide that office with the following information:

    1. College and department
    2. Date the gift was received
    3. Fair Market value of the gift determined by appraisal or current market value
    4. Description of the gift
    5. From whom the gift was received

    The Foundation office will notify Property Control if the gift is to be tagged and registered as State property with the Department of Central Management Services – Property Control Division in Springfield. Once tagged the equipment becomes property of the State of Illinois and Northern Illinois University, and cannot be disposed of without written authorization by the Property Control Department.

  21. Personally-Owned Property
  22. University personnel who bring personal property to campus do so at their own risk. Personal property of any individual brought to university premises is the responsibility of the individual. The university can assume no liability for loss, theft, or damage. Such property should bear a note or tag showing that it is personal property and listing the owner's name. Employees desiring to protect their personal property from damage or loss should make their own arrangements for insurance.

  23. Equipment Trade-Ins
  24. Equipment may be traded in for dollar credit against the purchase of new equipment if:

    1. The equipment is not needed by another university department.
    2. The proposed trade-in is approved by the Property Control Division in Springfield.
    3. The equipment to be traded is functionally similar to the new equipment being purchased.

Requests to trade-in equipment for credit on a replacement should be submitted in writing to the Property Control Department, with a copy attached to the purchase requisition submitted to the Procurement Services Department. The following information must be included with the request:

    1. Full description of the item to be traded
    2. The NIU tag number
    3. The name and address of the vendor to whom the equipment is to be traded
    4. The dollar amount to be allowed on the trade-in
    5. The cost of the new item(s)

    Before the State Property Control Division in Springfield is contacted for approval, NIU's Property Control Department should obtain a purchase order number from Procurement Services to accompany the trade-in request.

    If the request is approved, the details of the equipment trade-in are finalized by Procurement Services and Property Control. If the request is denied, arrangements will be made by Property Control to transfer the property as directed by the State.

  1. Missing or Stolen Property

When equipment appears to be missing or stolen, a memo must be sent immediately to the university's Police Department, with a copy to the Property Control Department, indicating the NIU tag number, description of the missing items, and circumstances leading to the disappearance. If the item is later located, both the NIU Police Department and the Property Control Department must be notified.