Modest Meals and Light Refreshments
Departments may occasionally provide modest meals and light refreshments at meetings, events or functions where CCNY business is conducted. Departments must be cognizant of the potential for abuse in this area and closely monitor the appropriateness of any such expenditures from tax levy funds.
Three broad guidelines govern expenditures for modest meals and light refreshments at meetings:
- CCNY payment or reimbursement for modest meals and light refreshments at meetings must be regarded as an EXCEPTIONAL event and NOT as a routine business practice.
- To minimize meeting expenditures, departments should make every effort to schedule business meetings during customary business hours.
- Meals solely among CCNY employees taken outside of the office will NOT be paid from tax levy funds under any circumstances.
Appropriate Meeting Situations
The following describes meeting situations and CCNY functions where expenditures for light refreshments and modest meals may be appropriate:
- When an out-of-town official, consultant, private firm or other party, who is not being paid by the City or State, meets with CCNY employees and provides a pro bono service, CCNY, as a courtesy, may provide light refreshments and/or a modest meal, as appropriate.
- When a non-paid board holds a regularly scheduled meeting, light refreshments and/or a modest meal may be provided, as appropriate.
- When a department head holds periodic meetings with key EXTERNAL managerial staff, light refreshments and/or a modest meal may be provided, as appropriate.
- When employees are EXPLICITLY required to remain in the office to continue an on-going meeting or to complete urgent work, causing them to forgo their usual lunch hour, a modest meal may be provided, as appropriate.
- If a department head or senior executive, such as the Provost, a Vice President or Dean meets in the office with an out of City or State official, businessperson or other party who is not a City or State employee, CCNY may pay for light refreshments or a modest meal, as appropriate.
- Light refreshments may be provided at functions sponsored by the President's office.
When it is appropriate to hold such meetings outside of the office, reimbursement for appropriate meals or refreshments is allowable within prescribed guidelines. The relationship to CCNY business must be demonstrated and the personal written approval of an authorized signatory, (as indicated on the CCNY authorized signature card), is required.
Light refreshments and modest meals consumed in the office are allowable as CCNY expenditures only under the following circumstances:
- Light refreshments consisting of soft drinks, "coffee and cake" or similar fare may be provided at a maximum cost of $5 per person.
- Modest meals such as a sandwich or similar fare, and a soft drink, coffee and/or tea may be provided at a maximum cost of $12 per person.
- The State of New York does NOT reimburse for receptions, dinners and/or the purchase of alcoholic beverages of any kind.
Conducting Business on behalf of the College
When conducting business on behalf of CCNY, be sure that all transactions are made in the name of The City College of New York. The above referenced allowable rates include tips and incidentals. Taxes, however, are NOT reimbursable. Payments and reimbursements will be at actual cost.
Tax Exempt Status
The City College of New York is a tax-exempt organization and is exempt from paying New York State sales and use taxes on purchases. Letters from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance documenting CCNY's tax exempt status, are available from the Accounts Payable department.
Expenses Above the Prescribed Limits
Payments for expenses above the prescribed guidelines indicated above, must be obtained from other sources. A commitment, in writing, must be obtained in advance from the funding source and submitted, as an attachment, with the CUNYfirst requisition.
Processing Vendor Payments and Obtaining Reimbursement
Payments of tax levy funds to food services vendors for modest meals and light refreshments, must be processed through the requisition and purchase order process in CUNYfirst. By creating these transactions, a clear and accessible record of compliance to prescribed guidelines, the cost to the college and the approval of the budget expenditure are captured in CUNYfirst and are easily made available for reporting and/or audit purposes.
ALL requests for expense reimbursement, beginning with expenses incurred in Fiscal Year 2015 (July 2014), will be handled using the Travel & Expenses module in CUNYfirst. This new module allows employees to create and submit expense reimbursement requests (Expense Reports) using an on-line, self-service application.
Current CUNY, State and City regulations continue in effect, including the requirement to upload and attach the following supporting documentation:
- Copies of ALL original receipts, signed invoices, etc.
- Documented relationship of the modest meal/light refreshment expense to CCNY business.
- Meeting or conference agenda signed by an authorized signatory (as indicated on the CCNY authorized signature card).
- Attendance list with attendees signatures or list of attendees signed by an authorized signatory (as indicated on the CCNY authorized signature card).
Fraudulent Claims - Section 175.35 NYS Penal LawA person is guilty of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree when, knowing that a written instrument contains a false statement or false information, and with intent to defraud the state or any political subdivision, public authority or public benefit corporation of the state, he offers or presents it to a public office, public servant, public authority or public benefit corporation with the knowledge or belief that it will be filed with, registered or recorded in or otherwise become a part of the records of such public office, public servant, public authority or public benefit corporation. Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree is a class E felony.
Please refer any questions regarding the above guidelines for modest meals and light refreshments to Accounts Payable.