Frequently Asked Questions
- What are delegations/sub-delegations of President's authority?
- Why does the University need delegations of authority?
- Who is allowed to delegate/sub-delegate authority?
- Who decides what authority to delegate or sub-delegate?
- What is the President's Delegations of Authority Library?
- What are Authorized Approvals?
The University, like all corporations, must act through authorized individuals. The law authorizes the Regents to act for the University. In turn, the Regents have delegated general executive management and administrative authority for the University to the President. The President may choose to retain some authorities and to delegate other authorities to senior leaders (delegations of authority), which essentially flow down through the University's chain of command as sub-delegations of authority.
Delegations and sub-delegations of authority include the ability to sign contracts and agreements that bind the University to a legally enforceable obligation (transactional authorities). The President's delegations of authority do not include broad oversight and management authorities, such as those outlined in job descriptions (non-transactional authorities). Ideally, there is alignment between these two types of authorities, as well as authorities provided to employees responsible for interfacing with institution-wide tools (EFS, PeopleSoft, EGMS).
Clear, well-documented delegations and sub-delegations of authority protect the University's assets by assigning authority to individuals who are knowledgeable about the transaction and governing laws, rules, and policies. In a large, complex organization like the University, it is not always practical for supervisors to manage all of the transactions of the unit. Delegations of Authority allow supervisors to entrust and empower qualified employees to handle specific transactions on their behalf in order to achieve effective and efficient results.
Individuals who have been delegated authority and have the authorization to sub-delegate authority may do so. If you have not been delegated a particular authority, you are not allowed to sub-delegate that authority.
Delegations of Authority is a management decision. However, delegators may not sub-delegate any authority that has been identified as one that cannot be sub-delegated.
The President's Delegations of Authority Library is a comprehensive, web-based database that lists all of the transactional delegations/sub-delegations of authority at the University of Minnesota.
Each delegation describes required or authorized approvals. For example, an agreement that is written using a standard contract may be signed without review by the Office of the General Counsel, but other contracts must be approved by the Office of the General Counsel before they may be signed.
Questions for Supervisors
- What if I have a personnel change (i.e., new hire, promotion, reorganization or resignation) and I need to request a change in delegations?
- Do I need to delegate or sub-delegate the same authorities to all employees within common position classification?
- How frequently should I review the authority that I have delegated?
8. What if I have a personnel change (i.e., new hire, promotion, reorganization or resignation) and I need to request a change in delegations?
It is important to request the change in the President's Delegations of Authority Library (see Adding or Changing a Delegation on how to submit a request) and to communicate in writing any authorities delegated or sub-delegated to the new employee. If the new employee is in a new position that you have never delegated to before, you may want to review what authorities have been delegated to employees in similar positions in other departments or units.
9. Do I need to delegate or sub-delegate the same authorities to all employees within common position classification?
Delegations are made to the individual, not to the position. You may choose to delegate to all individuals within a certain position classification the same authorities or to customize the delegations to reflect the varied levels of skills and experience between individuals within the same position classification.
Questions for Employees
- How do I obtain the authority to sign documents I need to sign for my job?
- How do I know whether I have the authority to sign a contract?
- What happens if I have no authority, but sign anyway?
- Who do I turn to if I have questions about a delegation?
Ask your supervisor. If your supervisor does not have the authority to sign the contract, someone in your organization does or knows who does. Only an individual who has authority may sub-delegate that authority, if authorized to do so.
Until you have the delegation or sub-delegation of this authority in writing from your supervisor, you do not have authority to sign a contract or legal document.
The agreement may be void and you may be held personally responsible for all losses, up to and including termination.
You may contact your supervisor, your RRC manager, or the Office of Institutional Compliance for assistance.