Transfer of Ownership of UAB Property
All UAB property is considered, by the State of Alabama, to be State property. UAB is therefore limited in terms of transferring ownership to other institutions. Selling UAB property is quite different from transferring ownership. See Transaction Code 3 under Disposition of Equipment for information regarding sale of equipment.
UAB property includes:
- Capital and noncapital items purchased, in total or in part, out of UAB funds
- Items donated to UAB
- Items transferred to UAB on active grants/contracts
- Any property for which ownership is otherwise transferred to UAB. This includes purchases from federal or nonfederal grant/contract accounts. This applies to all UAB property, both University and Hospital.
The State of Alabama only permits UAB to transfer title to State property when we are legally required to do so. Such transfers usually involve grant funded equipment and are usually associated with a UAB faculty member resigning from UAB to take a job at another university. Therefore, the remainder of this narrative will assume that is the reason the transfer of ownership is being requested. In other cases though, the principles and procedures are fundamentally the same. This narrative also assumes that the UAB property in question is physically located at the main UAB campus; however, if that is not the case, the principles and procedures would be the same except the off-campus location should be disclosed for each applicable item on the list.
When a transfer is associated with a UAB faculty member resigning from UAB to take a job at the other institution, UAB is only permitted to transfer ownership of property to the new employer when we can establish that:
- The property was purchased exclusively by a grant
- That particular grant is still active
- That grant agreement legally requires us to relinquish title to the property
- The sponsor is legally transferring that particular grant to the other institution.
No UAB property may be physically removed from UAB for transfer of ownership without an offiical UAB authorization letter from Beverly Matlock, Director of Compliance Audits & Reporting for Financial Affairs. Also, since this authorization is subject to the associated grants also being relinquished, then that requirement must also be met before the UAB property is removed from UAB. The State Examiners and the State Attorney General Offices have consistently taken the position that failure to comply with these requirements may result in legal prosecution of the departing faculty member for misappropriation or theft of State property. Therefore, faculty members and administrators should be extremely cautious in supervising the packing and moving of UAB property.
Requesting Approval To Transfer Property
A request for release of ownership should be initiated early enough to obtain all approvals well before the proposed move is scheduled. This process can become quite complicated and lengthy, particularly if a large number of items are involved or if purchase information is not readily available. Experience suggests that these requests should be initiated at least a full month in advance of the scheduled move date.
The property can only be transferred to the institution receiving the associated grant , never to the individual PI .
An item cannot be considered for transfer if it cannot be specifically identified or if its purchase accounts cannot be identified. The legal case for transfer must be properly documented. Improper or insufficient identification of property can significantly delay the transfer process.
To initiate a request for legal authorization to transfer ownership of UAB property to another institution, the department should complete an Equipment Disposition Form (EDF) and indicate that it is a request for "Release of Ownership" (transaction code 7) to the designated future owner institution. This form should be used for all capital and noncapital property items, including supplies or other property. The department should also indicate (somewhere on the front of the form, or in an attached cover letter) which grants are going to be transferred and the intended grant transfer date.
The Equipment Disposition Form should include the description, property tag number, serial number, and current location (building & room) for each item. If the item does not have a UAB property tag on it, the department will need to note the applicable purchase order number on the form. A copy of the vendor's invoice and a copy of the Oracle Account Statement Transaction Report identifying the payment of that invoice must also be provided. The invoice can be found in Opti-Web. Accounts Payable can assist the department in locating the invoice documents.
The Equipment Disposition Form must be signed by an Authorized Signor for the equipment items listed. Because this is a Release of Ownership request, the signature of the applicable department head and the applicable dean is also required (either on the form itself or on a cover memo attached to it) indicating their concurrence with the request. The signature of the department head and dean does not authorize the transfer. If the dean's sign-off is not submitted with the request, then the departing faculty member will need to obtain the dean's approval after receiving his/her copy of the letter from Beverly Matlock authorizing the equipment transfer. This assumes that the items were authorized for transfer.
The EDF and all applicable documentation should be sent to Equipment Accounting where the request begins its Financial Affairs' review. Once the Financial Affairs review is complete, Beverly Matlock will issue an official letter to the departing faculty member (and copying the applicable UAB dean, dean's fiscal officer, department chair, department fiscal officer, Office of Sponsored Programs, Financial Accounting, and Equipment Accounting) specifically indentifying those items which are approved for transfer. The letter usually gives the reasons why any items were not approved for transfer.
The departing faculty member should keep the authorization letter with his/her personal records, in case he/she should need it later to resolve legal or regulatory issues which may arise. The faculty member should give a copy of the letter to the individual(s) supervising the packing of the property to help ensure that there are no misunderstandings as to which items are authorized for transfer. The letter may be needed to show police, security guards, etc. if questioned. The faculty member should also provide a copy of the authorization letter to the Controller at his/her new employer institution.
Requesting Grant Relinquishment:
Beverly Matlock's official authorization letters are always subject to relinquishment of the associated grant to the recipient institution. The grant relinquishment process is defined by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). OSP has no authority to authorize the transfer of the State property, only to authorize transfer of the grant itself. The grant relinquishment process usually includes completion of a grant relinquishment form, which lists at least the major equipment items being transferred. Therefore, as soon as the authorization is obtained, the PI should submit the grant relinquishment form to OSP. Only after OSP's approval may the equipment be transferred to the recipient institution. If OSP denies transfer of the associated grant, then the equipment must not be transferred. OSP is responsible for promptly notifying both the PI and Beverly Matlock of the grant transfer denial.
Packing and Moving:
Under no circumstances, should such UAB property item be removed from campus without authorization as described above.
UAB property items should not be packed prior to receiving official written authorization from Beverly Matlock. Often, the items have to be inspected to resolve questions concerning the requested transfer or to be inventoried by the department, Equipment Accounting, or auditors prior to transfer.
Reminder: If the faculty member has been using a UAB computer or other UAB property at home, the faculty member should return these items to the UAB campus for departmental inspection prior to moving. The faculty member is personally liable for ensuring that such equipment is not moved unless he/she first has official written authorization.
The cost of moving the property should be borne by the institution which will be receiving ownership of the property, not by UAB. Also, since ownership is considered transferred at the point of shipment, the receiving institution is responsible for insuring the property while it is en route and thereafter.