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City of Torrance
Class Code: 1262

Class Designation: Civil Service

February 2010

Representation Unit: Torrance Professional & Supervisory Assoc. 




Under direction, performs professional level purchasing work and performs related work as required.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The Buyer is distinguished from the Purchasing Manager in that the incumbent is not primarily responsible for the supervision of subordinate staff or for the oversight of the entire division.  Incumbents perform a full range of complex tasks and work within a framework of established policies and procedures, the City Charter and Municipal Code with only occasional instruction or assistance.  Work is reviewed upon completion and for overall results.  Work involves frequent interpretation of policies, procedures and guidelines, and may involve development of recommendations consistent with directives, policies and regulations.

Supervision Exercised/Received

Receives direction from the Purchasing Agent/Manager, Assistant Department Head or Department Head.  May provide functional supervision to lower-level employees, but this task is ancillary to the primary focus of the classification.

Examples Of Essential Duties 

The following duties represent the principal job duties; however, they are not all-inclusive.
  • Purchases materials, supplies, equipment and services for use by City Departments;
  • Locates and evaluates sources of supply and determines the lowest responsible vendor;
  • Interviews and evaluates vendors;
  • Negotiates with vendors as required;
  • Arrange for demonstration of products;
  • Secures quotations and formal bids;
  • Expedites and follows up on purchase orders;
  • Monitors purchasing agreements to ensure vendor compliance;
  • Arranges for the sale or disposal of surplus property;
  • Conducts surveys regarding purchasing practices and makes recommendations as appropriate;
  • Ensures purchasing practices are in compliance with legal, professional and City established policies and procedures, the City Charter and Municipal Code;
  • Reviews and processes requisitions, and places orders;
  • Prepares reports and tabulations on materials and services, comparative prices and market trends;
  • Researches and prepares purchase specifications;
  • Examines and evaluates materials, supplies, equipment and services;
  • Gains knowledge of the operations of City departments and provides guidance and training to city staff on purchasing processes;
  • Assist in the resolution of accounting and receiving discrepancies; process claims with vendors for damaged materials; obtain credits where appropriate.
  • Examples of Other Duties

    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties.
  • Attends meetings, workshops and seminars as required or appropriate;
  • Keeps abreast of changing trends in public purchasing;
  • Performs related duties as required;
  • May assume responsibility for the division in the absence of the Purchasing Agent/Manager.
  • Minimum Qualifications

    Knowledge of
  • Market and economic trends and conditions related to procurement;
  • Industry standards and practices for delivering products and services;
  • Purchase contract development and administration;
  • English usage, spelling, grammar and punctuation;
  • Business letter and report writing;
  • Computer applications as they relate to areas assigned;
  • Public purchasing methods and procedures and sources of supplies;
  • Methods of research and analysis;
  • Principles and practices of office management, and uses of office equipment and software applications;
  • City codes and ordinances, and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations;
  • Public relations and customer service techniques, including telephone etiquette;
  • City and Department Mission including strategic goals and objectives;
  • General City operations. 
  • Ability to
  • Write complex specifications, contracts and reports;
  • Solicit competitive bids;
  • Use good judgment and make sound decisions in accordance with established procedures and policies;
  • Compose correspondence and reports independently;
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing, including clear and convincing oral presentations;
  • Adhere to multiple deadlines and handle multiple projects;
  • Understand and carry out assignments independently;
  • Follow oral and written directions;
  • Make accurate mathematical calculations;
  • Analyze and evaluate detailed quotations, bids and proposals;
  • Identify applicable contract elements based on the product or service being purchased;
  • Maintain logs and data base information;
  • Operate a personal computer and use applicable software;
  • Maintain confidentiality and exercise sound judgment;
  • Provide effective customer service in a pleasant, courteous and helpful manner even in difficult situations;
  • Research, interpret, and apply policy and procedure, City ordinances, administrative rules and regulations, and/or legal compliance requirement;
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with City employees, City Commissioners, public officials, private and community organizations and the public;
  • Shift priorities as departmental workload demands require and meet deadlines.
  • License or Certificate 

    A valid California motor vehicle operator's license of the appropriate class.
    To possess and maintain a certification as a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certificate from the Institute of Supply Management is desirable.
    Education and Experience 
    Any combination of education and experience that would provide the required knowledge and skills would be acceptable.  A typical way to obtain the knowledge, skills and abilities would be:
    Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's degree in Business or Public Administration or a related field and two years of progressively responsible experience purchasing materials, equipment, supplies and services in a municipal and/or high volume setting.
    Special Requirements
    Performance of the essential duties of this position includes the following physical demands and/or working conditions:
    Requires the ability to exert a small amount of physical effort in sedentary to light work involving moving from one area to another; requires sufficient hand/eye coordination to perform repetitive movements, such as typing, filing, and the use of commonly used office machines and supplies; may involve extensive VDT exposure.  Tasks require visual perception and discrimination as well as oral communication ability.
    Work is performed primarily indoors in an office environment, with frequent interruptions.  Some work is performed off-site, visiting vendors and City facilities.

    Career Ladder Information

    Experience gained in this classification may serve to meet the minimum requirements for promotion to Purchasing Agent/Manager.