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Department Publications

Donating Surplus Property

It is often said that nothing lasts forever; notwithstanding the indestructible metal desk and file cabinets that might be found in the reader’s work space, the adage applies as well to equipment and furnishings the Maricopa District purchases.
A particular item’s useful life depends, of course, on a number of factors. File cabinets may seemingly live forever; a desktop computer or other technology resources may be useful only for a few years.

Regardless of the extent of its useful life, the item is a District resource that was no doubt acquired by use of District funds.

That fact requires, of course, that all surplus materials be disposed of in a manner appropriate for public assets; and the procedures for disposing of surplus materials can easily be found in Maricopa’s Purchasing Procedures Manual.

Merely because an item has reached the end of its useful Maricopa life does not mean, of course, that it would be of no use to anyone else. The Manual’s procedures contemplate various means by which someone else may get some use out of a piece of surplus Maricopa property.

For example, it might seem like a good idea to donate a surplus item to a worthwhile charitable enterprise, particularly one that has received the attention of a student organization or employee group.

That such an intended recipient may be of a charitable nature, or might even be a non-profit corporation, does not necessarily make it eligible to receive donations of District surplus property.

Surplus Maricopa materials may be donated only to “eligible non-profit educational institutions”; other charitable or non-profit entities may not receive donated surplus items.

Before any surplus item may be donated to an eligible non-profit educational institution, it first “must be offered to the colleges and other district operations.” The item may be donated only after it is determined that it is not wanted elsewhere within the District.

Moreover, the non-profit educational institution receiving the item is required to sign an agreement that it will not “sell, dispose, or transfer this equipment for the period of one year.”

This entire process of transferring surplus Maricopa property to a non-profit educational institution must be facilitated by the District’s Surplus Property Manager. No other employee may unilaterally effect a donation of surplus property.

Under some circumstances, donating surplus equipment to an eligible non-profit educational institution may seem to be the most appropriate way to dispose of that equipment. It is not, however, the only way.

The Manual’s procedures hold that surplus property may also be disposed of through either public auction or competitive sealed bids.

At an auction, surplus property is made available for sale to the public. Auctions are advertised at least twice before the auction date, and no later than six days prior to that date.

No matter how a surplus item is to be disposed of, the method of disposition must comport with the District procedures, and under the direction of the District’s Surplus Property Manager. Proper stewardship of District resources would require nothing less.

Maricopa’s Purchasing Procedures Manual, which contains approved methods for the disposition of surplus materials, is available on the District website. Visit the “For Employees” section at:

Published in the Winter 2008 Edition of In Brief

Questions or comments?
Contact Lee Combs @ 480.731.8878

Maricopa Community Colleges
Office of General Counsel
2411 West 14th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281-6942
480.731.8877 / 480.731.8890 fax

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Page Updated 01/29/08

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