The University of Memphis

Disposal of Surplus Property


Issued: Jul 2, 2004
Updated: Dec-22-2011, Nov-03-2014
Responsible Official: Assistant Vice President, Business Services
Responsible Office: Procurement and Contract Services


To provide users with information related to disposal of surplus property.


Related Forms


Cannibalization University property in which serviceable parts are removed for use in the repair of other equipment.

Hazardous Materials A substance or material, which has been determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and which has been so designated.

Salvage University property that is no longer useful as a unit in its present condition but may have some value as scrap, usually because parts from it may be recovered and reused.

Scrap University property that has no value except for its basic material content.

Surplus Personal Property

Personal property which has been determined to be obsolete, outmoded, unusable or no longer usable by the University, or property for which future needs do not justify the cost of maintenance and/or storage. Such property must be declared "surplus personal property" by the president or designee of the University; provided however, property need not be declared surplus when disposition is through the trade-in method.

Zero Value University property that has reached its useful life and frequently has limited value.


General Rules

Surplus property is personal property owned by the University that has been determined obsolete, outmoded, unusable or no longer usable by the University or for which future needs do not justify the cost of maintenance and/or storage. Disposal of such property must be in accordance with this guideline and TBR Policy 4:02:20:00, Disposal of Surplus Personal Property.

The Director of Procurement and Contract Services is the designated administrator for disposal of University surplus property. The Physical Plant Department is responsible for the pick-up, delivery, and maintenance and/or storage of surplus personal property.

Surplus personal property is either usable property, which shall be transferred or sold, or unusable property, which may be destroyed in accordance with TBR Policy 4:02:20:00, Disposal of Surplus Personal Property, as herein provided:

  • Perishable food may be destroyed without delay or notification.
  • Surplus mattresses may be destroyed or may be otherwise disposed of only upon compliance with T.C.A. 12-2-403.
  • Surplus personal property, which is determined to be not usable by the University and of little or no salvage or economic value, may be destroyed by an appropriate method.
  • The University shall follow the procedures described in Section labeled General Disposal Procedures of this guideline, prior to disposal of all other surplus personal property.

Surplus personal property in which the Federal Government or other entity has a legal interest should be transferred to such entity when no longer needed.

It is unlawful for any state official or employee, including Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) System employees, to purchase from the State except by bid at public auction any surplus property during the tenure of his office or employment, or for six (6) months thereafter. A purchaser who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor under T.C.A. 12-2-412.

For all sales to individuals except at public auctions including internet auction, the University conducting the sale shall obtain from the purchaser a signed disclaimer certifying the purchaser is not a State or TBR System employee and that the purchaser is not buying the property for or on behalf of any State or TBR System employee.

All employees of the TBR System and their immediate families shall be ineligible to bid for or purchase surplus personal property except by bid at public auction.

Possession of surplus personal property sold to the general public under any method prescribed under Section labeled General Disposal Procedures of this guideline shall not pass until payment is made by cash, or if payment is made by cashier's check or certified check, possession shall not pass until the check is honored by the drawee bank.

Possession shall pass to TBR System institutions, political subdivisions of the State, and other governmental entities upon receipt, by the University, of purchase vouchers of such institutions, political subdivisions, or other governmental entities. Title to motor vehicles sold as surplus property to political subdivisions and other governmental entities shall be closed as to transferee when title is passed.

All University employees share responsibility for equipment and shall fully understand Policy UM1772: Equipment Inventory, to ensure the proper approvals, care, and security of any equipment which is used or observed.

Declaring Usable University Property as Surplus

The department chairman, activity head, or designated departmental equipment inventory representative shall declare usable University personal property surplus to their needs by utilizing the trade-in method or the Fixed Asset Workflow system. Both methods shall be consistent with this guideline and Policy UM1772: Equipment Inventory.

  1. Utilizing the Trade-In Method - This is the preferred method of disposing surplus personal property, if such property is suitable for trade-in. Items that must be replaced may be traded in on replacement property. Departmental personnel shall submit an approved Equipment Transaction Record, along with an approved purchase requisition to Procurement and Contract Services. The Equipment Transaction Record must be completed through the Fixed Asset Workflow system, in accordance with Policy UM1772: Equipment Inventory. The Procurement and Contract Services Department will solicit bids requesting prices with trade-in and without trade-in and receive and review the bids. Based upon the evaluation of the condition and fair market value of the property to be disposed and comparisons of bids, a determination will be made as to whether it is in the best interest of the University to dispose of the property by trade-in or by one of the other methods of disposal.
  2. Utilizing the Fixed Asset Workflow system. - Departmental personnel shall declare usable items as surplus by entering the items into the Fixed Asset Workflow system, in accordance with Policy UM1772: Equipment Inventory. A work order is completed for all equipment to be picked up by Physical Plant. University-owned computers and portable devices or media must have all confidential and official University data erased from the equipment prior to its transfer out of the department. Contact your LSP to remove data from the equipment. Decals are to remain on the equipment.

Acquiring Surplus Property

Departments may check availability of many surplus items by going to the Physical Plant Department. To view surplus items, contact Physical Plant staff at 678-2270 to set up an appointment. For transfer of equipment from one department to another, contact the relinquishing department and complete the Equipment Transaction Record, if appropriate.

Cannibalization, Zero Value Property, Scrap, and Hazardous Materials

University property that has been declared cannibalized or zero value using an Equipment Transaction Record should be disposed of in the most cost effective manner in accordance with UM1772: Equipment Inventory. Decals, if any, should be removed and sent to the Property Accounting Office with the transaction record. This will assure that inventories will accurately reflect listings of property assigned to the individual department or activity. Quantities of scrap or unusable materials removed from inventory listings as a result of cannibalization or zero value declaration should be reported to Physical Plant Custodial Services for scheduled removal.

Electronic devices, such as circuit boards, computers, monitors and printers are considered hazardous materials when not used as intended. Such hazardous materials cannot be disposed in the trash or garbage. Departmental personnel shall request removal of hazardous materials by completing the Equipment Transaction Record, along with a memorandum to Physical Plant staff describing each item and its location, and the name and phone number of the departmental contact person. Physical Plant staff will call the designated contact person to schedule an appointment to pick up the items.

Other equipment (may include, but not be limited to, centrifuges, refrigerators, vacuum pumps, etc.) that has in the past or may presently contain hazardous materials must be properly decontaminated and have a completed Equipment Release Form attached prior to being picked up by Physical Plant staff.

General Disposal Procedures

The Director of Procurement and Contract Services is responsible for the disposal of surplus property utilizing one of the following methods in accordance with TBR Policy 4:02:20:00, Disposal of Surplus Personal Property:

  • Trade-In; when such is permitted due to the nature of the property or equipment and subject to the provisions of T.C.A. 12-2-403 and the rules of this guideline;
  • Transfer to other institutions and schools within the TBR System;
  • Transfer to other state agencies;
  • Sale to eligible political subdivision of the state and other governmental entities;
  • Public auction, publicly advertised and held;
  • Sale under sealed bids, publicly advertised, opened and recorded;
  • Negotiated contract for sale, at arm's length; but only in those instances in which the availability of the property is recurring or repetitive in character, such as marketable waste products;
  • Disposition through the Department of General Services as provided in the Department Rules and Regulations;
  • Donations to a public school or public school system;
  • Sale by Internet auction.

Written documentation for the selection of method of disposal shall be maintained in Procurement and Contract Services.

The trade-in method, when property is of the nature appropriate for trade-in, and transfer to other institutions in the TBR System shall be the first and second priority methods, respectively, for disposal of surplus personal property, except for waste products which shall be disposed of as further provided in TBR Policy 4:02:20:00.

In the selection of other methods of disposal, the following criteria shall be considered:

  • The character, utility and functionality of the property;
  • The economics of disposal in light of all relevant circumstances attendant the proposed disposal, including the condition and climate of the potential market and present estimated market value of the property, transportation costs, and other cost factors associated with disposal; and
  • Sound fiscal and budgetary policy and practices.

The method of disposal selected in the preceding section shall be implemented pursuant to the specific procedures set forth in this guideline for such disposition.

The responsible authority at the University shall be responsible for the maintenance of accountability documentation on all items of surplus personal property, and shall ensure that adequate audit and inventory trails on all items of surplus personal property are maintained.

Such authority shall make the final determination of the fair market value of surplus personal property for purposes of calculating reimbursements to the transferring institution and to determine whether property may be destroyed pursuant to Section labeled General Rules.

Nothing shall prohibit the University from simultaneously providing notice of an intended disposition of surplus personal property to all TBR System institutions and all state agencies.

In such event, if no TBR System has requested the property within seven (7) days of the initial notice, the first state agency which had requested the property within such time shall be entitled to receive the property upon reimbursement.

Related Forms

Equipment Release Form

Equipment Transaction Record


University Purchasing Policy

TBR Policy 4:02:20:00, Disposal of Surplus Personal Property

University Equipment Inventory Policy

Tennessee Code Annotated


Physical Plant Staff

Procurement and Contract Services Staff
Accounting Staff

Revision Dates

Nov-26-2008, Dec-22-2011, Nov-03-2014
(Working Guideline Number: 10215)