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Grant Management Costs

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter

Appeal Brief

DisasterFEMA-1279-DR
ApplicantNorth Dakota Department of Emergency Services
Appeal TypeSecond
PA ID#000-URHXF-00
PW ID#PW 1460
Date Signed2009-03-19T04:00:00
Citation: FEMA-1279-DR-ND, North Dakota Department of Emergency Services,
Grant Management Costs, Project Worksheet (PW) 1460

Cross-reference: Labor Costs

Summary: FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 1460 for grant management costs for North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (Applicant) following
FEMA-1279-DR-ND declared on June 8, 1999. A 2002 Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit recommended that the Applicant develop a method to allocate labor costs between disasters to reflect actual effort expended. The Applicant concurred with OIG findings and attempted to correct its method of allocating hours between work activities by staff as reflected on timesheets after 2002. FEMA closed out PW 1460 in version 10 of PW 1460 for $846,571. PW 1460 version 10 disallowed $217,007 due to ineligible overtime, undocumented labor costs, ineligible training, and costs incurred prior to the declaration. FEMA considered hours not charged specifically to the disaster on timesheets after 2002 unsupported and denied those costs at closeout. In its first appeal, the Applicant requested that FEMA reinstate $5,991 for labor costs of three employees. The Applicant submitted revised timesheets for the three employees that included tables to reflect distribution of hours to various work activities. The Regional Administrator approved $417 based on new documentation supporting the eligibility of 22 hours worked by one employee.
In its second appeal, the Applicant reasserted its claim for labor costs for two employees for a total of $5,586. The Applicant claimed that the two employees reviewed assignments after original timesheets were submitted for closeout and subsequently allocated hours to the appropriate disaster. The Applicant resubmitted original timesheets and included new undated spreadsheets, signed by the employees, to reflect the distribution of hours per work activity. The Applicant argued that OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribe Governments, does not include a timeframe requirement in which work time must be documented.

Issues: Are timesheets modified several years after the hours were worked acceptable supporting documentation?

Findings: No.

Rationale: OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribe Governments; Response and Recovery Policy 9525.7, Labor Costs – Emergency Work

Appeal Letter

March 19, 2009

Mr. Greg M. Wilz
Alternate Governor’s Authorized Representative
Division of Homeland Security
North Dakota Department of Emergency Services
Post Office Box 5511
Bismarck, North Dakota 58506-5511

Re: Second Appeal–North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, PA ID 000-URHXF-00, Grant Management Costs, FEMA-1279-DR-ND, Project Worksheet (PW) 1460

Dear Mr. Wilz:

This letter is in response to your letter dated June 30, 2008, which constitutes the referenced second appeal. North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (Applicant) is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of funding in the amount of $5,586 for force account labor costs.

FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 1460 for grant management costs. A 2002 Office of Inspector General (OIG) draft audit report recommended that the Applicant develop a method to allocate labor costs between disasters to reflect actual effort expended. The Applicant concurred with OIG findings and attempted to correct its method of allocating hours between work activities by staff as reflected on timesheets after 2002. FEMA closed out PW 1460 by obligating $846,571 on PW 1460 Version 10 on March 28, 2008. The final version of PW 1460 disallowed claimed costs in the amount of $217,007 due to ineligible overtime, undocumented labor costs, ineligible training, and costs incurred prior to the declaration. At closeout, FEMA denied hours not charged specifically to the disaster on timesheets after 2002 because it considered those hours to be unsupported.

The Applicant submitted its first appeal to FEMA on April 15, 2008. In its appeal, the Applicant requested that FEMA reinstate $5,991 for labor costs of three employees. The Applicant submitted revised timesheets for the three employees that included tables to reflect distribution of hours to various work activities. The Applicant also requested $5,348 claiming that FEMA obligated funding less than total eligible costs listed on the large project closeout narrative. In a letter dated May 7, 2008, the Regional Administrator denied the Applicant’s request for $5,348 stating that this cost was inadvertently included on PW versions through the automatically generated Grantee Administrative Allowance. The Regional Administrator approved an additional $417 based on new documentation to support eligibility of 22 hours worked by one employee in May 2004. The Applicant demonstrated that the employee documented these hours at the time the hours were worked. The Regional Administrator denied the remainder of labor costs because the Applicant did not provide sufficient documentation to support eligibility. The Regional Administrator determined
that notations to timesheets by anyone other than the employee at the time the hours were reported are inappropriate.

In its second appeal dated June 30, 2008, the Applicant reasserts its claim for $5,586 for labor costs for two employees. The Applicant claims that the two employees reviewed assignments after they submitted original timesheets for closeout and subsequently allocated hours to the appropriate disaster. The Applicant resubmitted original timesheets and included new undated spreadsheets, signed by the employees, to reflect the distribution of hours per work activity. The Applicant argues that OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribe Governments, does not include a timeframe requirement in which work time must be documented.

The modified timesheets submitted with PW 1460 included assigning work to additional disasters, changing non-disaster work activities to disaster activities, and changing closed disasters to current disasters. Timesheets modified several years after the hours were worked are not acceptable supporting documentation. I reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and determined that the Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance regulations and policy. Accordingly, I am denying the second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206.

Sincerely,
/s/
James A. Walke
Acting Assistant Administrator
Disaster Assistance Directorate

cc: Doug Gore
Acting Regional Administrator
FEMA Region VIII
Last updated February 4, 2020