In a prior position within campus procurement, Gary Link of E&I Cooperative Purchasing did some digging and learned of departments that were leasing everything. "There were no controls over what they could and could not lease. If they didn't have the money to buy it, they were financing it," he recalls. "You have to be careful you're not financing the future of the institution." His department began putting parameters around what constitutes a lease and how much an expenditure would have to be for leasing to be an option. That helped curb the amount of "maverick leasing" on campus greatly, he says, adding that it tended to happen with items such as copiers and printers in the mid-dollar range when department leaders had neglected to put them in their capital budget for approval.
With higher education being so decentralized, acting as the lease police can be challenging. He advises pouring over financial records to get a sense of what is out there across campus, and asking department heads to justify why they may have, say, a Cadillac copier when a simple multifunctioning device would do. "We were able to get our arms around our situation," he says, although "it took a while."