Occ. Code 1803100





New York State Department of Civil Service


Classification Standard




Assistant Purchasing Agents purchase a variety of supplies, materials, equipment and services required by State agencies and institutions. The purchasing activities are governed by State contracts and open market buying procedures and rules issued by the Office of General Services and the Office of the State Comptroller.


Assistant Purchasing Agents are found in units of the State University system, and in many large State agencies.




Assistant Purchasing Agent is characterized by responsibility for all or a major part of the purchasing program. The activities performed include the review of purchase requests, the preparation of specifications and the actual purchase of items and supplies. The majority of the purchases are highly technical and specialized items which must be purchased individually in the open market.


The Purchasing Agent class is distinguished from the Assistant level class by the size of the purchasing program. Purchasing Agent positions purchase items and supplies having a total value in excess of $4 ½ million (see note) the majority of purchases consisting of highly specialized and technical items which must be purchased individually in the open market.  Purchasing Agents typically supervise a small clerical staff and/or positions of Assistant Purchasing Agent.


NOTE: Care should be used in interpreting the dollar value of purchasing due to the effect the economy has on real purchasing power. Figures mentioned in this standard reflect the average purchasing power of the dollar for 1982. Accordingly when evaluating positions effect of inflation or deflation should be considered.  For example 2004 value of $4.5 million is $8.6 million.


Assistant Purchasing Officers in the Division of Purchase of the Office of General Services perform activities in support of Purchasing Officers who are responsible for the provision of assistance to participating agencies concerning product information and specification details on analyzing purchase requirements and preparing recommendations for term contracts, preparing final bid documents and developing sources of supply and bidders for contracts. Assistant Purchasing Officers work under the specific direction of a Purchasing Officer 2.


The Assistant Purchasing Agent class is distinguished from positions in the Purchasing Assistant series by the scope of its open market purchasing. Positions in the Purchasing Assistant series typically supervise a clerical staff in purchasing activities substantially covered by State contracts.




Although the emphasis may vary based on the organizational location of a given position the following represent tasks typical of the class.


Reviews requisitions for the purchase of a wide variety of goods and/or services.


·    Reads requisitions to ensure conformance with appropriate rules, regulations and agency procedures and policies.


·    Discusses requisitions with the appropriate agency representative or program administrator to obtain estimates of usage, required delivery dates and any other factors which may affect agency needs.


·    When appropriate advises program administrators of the availability and suitability of items or services.


·    Informs agency representatives or program administrators orally or in writing of the quality, price, installation and maintenance cost and related factors concerning requisitions.


·    Reviews inventories, manufacturers' catalogs and all other available sources to determine the availability of the requested items and alternatives.


·    May arrange a demonstration of the product with the manufacturer or vendor.


·    Based on review, selects the most appropriate method of procurement considering guidelines made available by the Office of General Services and the Department of Audit and Control.


Prepares detailed specifications of the goods or services to be purchased.


·    Assembles data collected during the review of the request and records all descriptive data in a prescribed format.


·    By applying guidelines and utilizing past experiences, drafts specifications that precisely describe the goods to be purchased but not so seriously restrictive so as to eliminate competitive bidding.


·    Sends draft specifications to program administrator or agency representative for their approval and negotiates appropriate changes.


·    Prepares bid proposals and other written material to be used in soliciting bids.


Procures goods or services decided upon after review of the requisitions.


·    Completes or directs the completion of the appropriate forms for all items
to be procured through the Office of General Services central contracts.


·    Based on specifications, reviews bids and recommends the award of a contract based upon a number of factors including price, delivery date, experience with the vendor and any other factor which might affect the delivery and/or quality of the goods or services.


·    Prepares orders for the goods or services as indicated on the specifications.


·    Verifies that the cost of goods and services is the same as stated on the contract either by direct observation or through control of processing functions.


·    Certifies that goods or services ordered are delivered as requested in accordance with specifications and directs payment.


May supervise the activities of a small clerical staff engaged in the preparation and processing of purchase orders, the requisition of stock supplies and the handling of correspondence or personal contact relating to purchasing.


·    Reviews requests for stock supplies or equipment; determines procedures to be followed and assigns tasks to subordinate clerical personnel.


·    Provides assistance to subordinate staff in dealing with problems which may arise in processing orders, particularly those problems involving interpretation of procedures and policies.


·    Reviews completed work to determine its accuracy and completeness compared with guidelines, policy, procedures and specific instructions.


·    Resolves work related problems by talking with staff involved and suggesting ways to better accomplish tasks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation.




Positions in this class are largely concerned with the open market purchase of goods and services required by a State agency or institution. The incumbents must prepare written material and engage in oral communications with vendors, program administrators and OGS personnel to describe goods and services required to outline the specifications, and to obtain information concerning the availability of alternatives, relative costs, delivery dates and other factors relating to the procurement of goods and services. Such communications are characterized by detail, clarity and accuracy.


The extent of these communications may vary among positions in the class but the variance does not alter the classification or level of an individual position.




Assistant Purchasing Agents responsible only for open market purchasing exercise limited supervision over a few clerical positions. This supervision consists of assigning the preparation and processing of purchase documents and reviewing them for accuracy and completeness. Positions which head a purchasing unit within an agency or facility supervise a small clerical staff in preparing and processing purchase orders and maintaining office files and inventory records. They assign work; provide written and verbal instructions to supplement written manuals; review completed work and correct judgmental and procedural errors. Supervision is not a significant classification factor for positions in this class.


Assistant Purchasing Agents work under rules and regulations established by the employing agency, the Office of General Services and the Office of the State Comptroller, and sections of the State Finance Law. They are supervised by higher level positions either administrators or Purchasing Agents, which set priorities, periodically review purchasing practices and activities, set budgetary limits and resolve exceptional purchasing problems. This supervision is not on a day-to-day basis.




·    Good knowledge of purchasing procedures as promulgated by the Office of General Services, the Office of the State Comptroller and the employing agency.


·    Working knowledge of the quality and quantity of various supplies and services needed by the employing agency or in the assigned area of responsibility.


·    Working knowledge of common business, industrial and trade practices for those items purchased regularly.


·    Working knowledge of supply sources.


·    Working knowledge of the appropriate sections of the State Finance Law governing purchasing.


·    Basic knowledge of the employing agency's mission.


·    Basic knowledge of the principles and practices of supervision.


·    Ability to clearly and precisely convey in writing descriptions of goods or services to be purchased.


·    Ability to orally communicate effectively with users and vendors.


·    Ability to apply appropriate procedures and regulations to purchasing activities.




Satisfactory completion of one year as a Purchasing Agent Trainee or one year as a Purchasing Assistant 2 or two years in a position allocated to Grade 11 or higher in which 50% of the duties are directly involved in purchasing.




Reviewed:  10/05



NOTE: Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe. Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class. The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written. Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.