Picking the Future of Grants at Random

February 25, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

As a kid, did you ever play the game where you spin a globe, close your eyes and say something like, “This is where I’m going to visit next?” Then you poke your finger onto the globe until it stops and then look down to see where your finger landed. Usually it would be someplace I had never heard of before (perhaps, The Marshall Islands), but if nothing else, it was a good lesson in geography.

I decided to do the same thing with Office of Management and Budget’s notice of the proposed grant reform guidance. Flip through the pages at random with my eyes closed and put my finger on one topic on one page. Where I landed was the cost principles discussion on allowing costs for efforts to collect improper payment recoveries, which is in section __.621, Select Items of Cost, C-8 Collections of Improper Payments.

When OMB issued the advanced notice of proposed guidance last year, it discussed adding a new item of cost to allow recipients to be reimbursed for expenses associated with efforts to collect improper payment recoveries or related activities. In OMB’s words, “the draft language is intended to allow recipients to keep an amount of funds collected to cover expenses of collection efforts, where the amount collected is likely to exceed the expense of collection.” Is that clear? Anyway, these costs may be considered either indirect or direct costs, as most appropriate for the grantee entity.

The idea generally was supported so it was included in the current proposal. I have to agree that this is a worthwhile inclusion into the proposed guidance. Reducing improper payments is growing in importance in the federal government, and I think this provision will help in that respect. If you have a different opinion, please let us know.

Stay tuned for more globe-spinning adventures with OMB’s proposal.


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