This is journey level technical work involving the preparation of detailed and complex specifications for a wide variety of, equipment, materials and supplies purchased by units of local government. Under the general supervision of a Purchasing Director or Deputy Director, an employee in this class researches trade publications, technical bulletins, trade practices, specifications of the Federal Bureau of Standards and other similar sources to prepare specifications which include such details as physical composition, quality, quantity and terms of delivery of items. Independent judgment is exercised to prepare specifications, subject to the guidelines of proper specification writing and written or oral directions from the supervisor. An employee in this class will supervise the Specification Writer I’s and Purchasing Clerk in the mechanical preparation of related documents or in gathering pertinent descriptive information pertaining to articles to be purchased. This class differs from that of Specification Writer due to the supervision of the contract management staff, and the more complex specifications that are generally handled by an employee in this class. Does related work as required.


Oversees competitive bidding activities, which includes, but is not limited to: consolidation of bids on a department wide and inter-municipal basis, determination of commodities worthy of cooperative purchase application, supervision of prioritizing and scheduling of bids prior to contract termination, review of specifications for accuracy and completeness prior to formal bidding, and tabulation of bid results at bid opening.

Supervises contract management staff by performing tasks as necessary including, but not limited to: resolving conflicts with law or legislation including state or federal regulators regarding bid specifications and contract requirements, managing large change order requests, managing bid/contract addendums as needed, and assisting and approving emergency bid waivers.

Drafts original or revises existing standard competitive specifications for a wide variety of articles, such as liquid and solid fuels, office furniture and supplies, electrical and mechanical equipment and supplies, road building materials, mounted and unmounted power equipment, uniforms and clothing, food, hospital supplies, hardware, paint, and building construction materials, equipment and tools.

Assembles current data in reference to aforementioned articles from trade publications, technical bulletins, Federal Bureau of Standards, and other similar sources and applies data to general specifications which govern purchases of articles.

May analyze drawings to ensure that articles so described conform to specifications.

May examine physically samples of items to determine compliance with specifications.

Reviews purchase requisitions for items which require competitive bidding, by checking descriptions, dimensions, model or serial numbers, and so on in order to determine the accuracy of said requisitions.

Consults requesting department to adjust discrepancies in purchase requisitions and queries department personnel to identify the article desired, and may furnish guidance on substitute articles if commodities are out of stock or insufficient for requesting department's needs.

Analyzes market conditions by researching current technical publications and practices to determine favorable pricing trends.

Interviews, corresponds with, and consults vendors, contractors, and business representatives regarding the specifications, pricing, or acquisition of articles to draft proper specification documents.

As assigned in the City of Syracuse, prepares specifications for items of supply and services as called for in public works contracts.


Thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of specifications writing, inclusive of typical documents, contracts and forms as well as bidding and purchasing practices.

Thorough knowledge of properties, uses, costs, and standards of business, commercial, industrial and construction materials, equipment, supplies.

Good knowledge of technical resources and information used in specification writing.

Good knowledge of the principles and practices of supervision.

Ability to read, understand, and apply written texts which describe specifications of business, commercial, industrial, and construction materials, equipment and supplies.

Ability to read, understand, and apply technical directions, diagrams, and charts which describe specifications of business, commercial, industrial, and construction materials, equipment, and supplies.

Ability to deal effectively with vendors, contractors, and business representatives.



One (1) year of permanent competitive class status in the title of Specification Writer.


A. Graduation from a regionally accredited college or university or one accredited by the New York State Board of Regents to grant degrees with a baccalaureate degree, and four (4) years of professional level work experience, or its part‑time equivalent, in specification writing or a closely related field; or,

B. Eight (8) years of paraprofessional or professional level work experience, or its part-time equivalent, two (2) years of which must have been in a professional level capacity in specification writing or a closely related field; or,

C. An equivalent combination of training and experience as defined by the limits of (A) and (B).

11/17 Revised