Sneak Preview: OMB Allows Agencies To Adjust Rules For Entities Hit by Hurricanes

November 9, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a memorandum to federal agencies that would allow them discretion to amend certain pre-award and post-award federal grants requirements for nonfederal entities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

OMB Deputy Controller Mark Reger issued the Oct. 26 memorandum to agency chief financial officers and grant policy officials, listing several agency actions designed to relieve short-term administrative, financial management and audit requirements under OMB’s uniform guidance. Federal agencies may apply these actions, as appropriate, to grant recipients in a county or parish where a major disaster has been declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Pub. L. 100-707) as a result of the recent hurricanes.

First, agencies may relax regulations when affected entities submit award applications in response to specific funding announcements. The memo advised agencies, as appropriate, to list specific guidance to affected entities on their websites and/or to provide a single point of contact for applicants to discuss hurricane disaster-related questions.

In addition, OMB is enabling federal agencies, to the extent permitted by law, to extend for 12 months (at no cost) awards that were active as of Aug. 31 and scheduled to expire prior or up to Dec. 31. “This will allow time for grantee assessments, the resumption of many individual projects and a report on program progress and financial status to agency staff,” the memo states. Affected entities still must submit project-specific financial and performance reports 90 days after the end date of the extension, and agencies will determine whether to extend other project reporting “as the need arises.”

In cases where agencies expect to receive continuation requests for projects from affected entities, the memo states that agencies may require a brief statement from the entity to verify that it is in a position to resume or restore its project activities and that it may accept a continuation award. Agencies are requested to post these instructions on their website. “Agencies will examine the need to extend this approach on subsequent continuation awards start dates as grantee organizations have an opportunity to assess the situation,” OMB adds.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

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