BA-5 Coffee and Light Refreshments

BA-5 Coffee and Light Refreshments

The Agency Head has delegated responsibility to administrators to approve the serving of coffee and light refreshments in the conduct of official state business at certain agency-sponsored meetings. The agency-sponsored meeting must meet the criteria described below. Meetings held in the normal course of business do not meet the criteria and coffee and light refreshments cannot be provided by the State.

Administrators are expected to exercise prudent judgment in approving Coffee and Light Refreshments at business meetings and to apply this policy in a way to ensure that employees are not treated differently under like circumstances.

All State Employees

Coffee: For state purposes, coffee encompasses any non-alcoholic beverage, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice, or milk.

Light Refreshments: An edible item that may be served between meals, for example: doughnuts, sweet rolls, and pieces of fruit or cheese.

Official State Business: Activities performed by an official or state employee, authorized volunteer, or contractor, work experience program participant, student or employee of another governmental jurisdiction as directed by his or her supervisor in order to accomplish state programs or as required by the duties of his or her position or office.

Integral part of the meeting: An activity within a business meeting that is essential to the completeness of the meeting.

Hosting: Hosting includes, but is not limited to, those activities that are intended either to lobby a legislator or a governmental official, or are to be a social rather than governmental business event, and include expenditures for coffee and/or light refreshments for those whom agencies are not legally authorized to reimburse.

Policy and/or Procedure 
1. To qualify for coffee and light refreshments, meetings must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The purpose of the meeting is to conduct official state business, provide formal training sessions that benefit the state, or recognize agency or employee accomplishments, and
  2. The meeting must involve elective or appointive officials, state employees, or others the agency is legally authorized to reimburse per RCW 43.03.050, and
  3. The coffee and light refreshments are an integral part of the meeting.

2. All legally authorized Boards and commissions may provide coffee and/or light refreshments at their official public meetings, including executive sessions.

3. Advisory Committee Meetings: RCW 28B.50.252 makes vocational advisory committee meetings state business, and assuming compliance with these statutory requirements, the college may pay for coffee and/or light refreshments to be served as part of such advisory committee meetings.

4. If the meeting meets all of the above criteria in 1 (above), or qualifies under 2 or 3 (above), coffee and light refreshments may be served with prior administrator approval. Without prior administrator approval, a reimbursement may be denied by the college.

  1. A properly completed “Green River College Meals with Meetings Approval Form” must be completed and authorized no later than 48 hours prior to the scheduled event.
  2. Itemized receipts for the actual costs of the coffee and/or light refreshments must accompany a request for reimbursement. Non-itemized credit card receipts are not an acceptable receipt.

5. The cost of coffee and light refreshments is limited to no more than 50% of the current lunch per diem rate for King County per person.

Expenditures for coffee and light refreshments are prohibited in some cases:

  1. Anniversaries of agencies; events to recognize new, existing, and/or retiring employees or officials; interview committees; training sessions for new staff; elections celebrations.
  2. Any “hosting” activities.
  3. Alcoholic beverages.

Specific Authority
SAAM 70.10 “Coffee and Light Refreshments”
RCW 43.030.050 (4)
RCW 28B.50.252

Law Implemented

History of Policy or Procedure
Draft: April 4, 2005
Adopted: January 6, 2006
Reviewed by:
Contact: Patty Sikora, Purchase Manager, ext. 3301
President’s Staff Sponsor: Rick Brumfield, Vice President for Business Affairs, ext. 3305