Food and Beverage

For many years, departments have not been required to obtain prior approval for the payment of food and/or beverage expenses. However, department heads remain responsible for their account balances, and must still determine whether State resources should be used to pay for food items.

Even though individual payment requests may be considered small, very large numbers of reimbursements are processed each year for food/beverage purchases that add up to a significant dollar amount each year. Caution must be exercised by department heads to ensure that expenses for food related items are proper State expenditures. As a State University, good responsible stewardship of public funds requires particular sensitivity in this area and good judgment. Department heads should consider whether the use of State funds would be defensible and generally accepted by the public, if it were to be published in the media.

Since it is not possible to provide a definitive list of appropriate and inappropriate expenditures, the following should be used as a guide:

  • Appropriate expenditures should be part of the official departmental activities that provide services to students, faculty and/or staff.
  • Employee recruitment expenses are appropriate when breakfast/lunch/dinner meetings are held for the purpose of interviewing candidates for appointment. Reimbursement for meals is allowable for the candidate, the spouse of the candidate and members of the search committee or SUNY Brockport employees who are involved in the decision making process.
  • Inappropriate expenditures are activities unrelated to official departmental activities or for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. State funds should not be used for holiday parties, retirement parties, personal celebrations, and staff meetings. University support funds (non-state funds) are allocated for this purpose. Reimbursement cannot be made for sales tax or bottle deposits.

Payment Procedure

Use of the procurement card is encouraged for food purchases at stores that accept the procurement card. Please contact Chelsea Donnelly. with questions. The procurement card cannot be used to pay for restaurant meal expenses.

In order to request reimbursement or payment for appropriate food, beverages, meals, etc., a requisition form should be submitted to Procurement & Payment Services accompanied by the following:

  • Original itemized receipt - a non-itemized receipt cannot be accepted.
  • Explanation addressing the purpose and location of the event.
  • If for a reimbursement, include the name, home address and Social Security number of the individual requesting reimbursement.
  • A list of the names of the participants and their relationship to the business conducted.
  • NYS sales tax cannot be paid nor reimbursed to University employees. Tax exempt certificates should be used.
  • Sales tax can be paid or reimbursed to candidates as long as the reimbursement is made directly to the candidate (a non-University employee).
  • Appropriate adjustments to per diems will be made for those individuals in travel status receiving meal allowances.


Giveaway type purchases (e.g., coffee mugs, seat cushions, trinkets) are not appropriate purchases using the Procurement Card or any other procurement method using State funds. Non-state funds should be used for these types of purchases. If non-state funds are not available within a department or program and the related activity is part of a departmental or program mission, a non-state process (known as the “recycling process”) has been put into place to pay for these types of purchases. A department’s budget will be recharged for the purchase through the Budgeting Office.

To request consideration through this process, please contact Mark Stacy. A statement addressing why the purchase is necessary to accomplish a specific program mission, purpose or objective will be required and must include a State, DIFR or IFR account number that the purchase should be recharged to.


Please refer all questions reagrding this topic to Mark Stacy via email.