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proval or denial. Legislative processing requirements, for the most part, occur before approval of technical assistance projects. Whether a project is a grant or a contract importantly affects processing time. Receipt of application
Applicants are firmly encouraged to send applications to the Regional Office rather than to OTA-Washington, but applications are accepted in the Regional Office or OTA-Washington. Within 5 days the Regional Office sends an application to OTA-Washington. Regional Office recommendations are not binding, but are ca refully considered. Projects that do not have a particular regional or local application are termed “national" projects; these are sent directly to OTAWashington. Evaluation and recommendation
If recommended for approval OTA-Washington prepares the formal “Evaluation and Recommendation." This document, three to ten pages, contains all the deliberative information about the project as to need, objectives, methods, funds, implementation prospects, etc. Legislative processing requirements at this point consist of: A-95 ; Civil Rights Certification, environmental impact; and, at times, “702" excess capacity. Affirmative recommendations are routed through the Chief Counsel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Development Operations, EDA Accounting, Executive Review, and the Assistant Secretary for approval.
OTA-Washington prepares a backup memorandum and denial letter to the applicant. This is routed through Deputy Assistant Secretary for Development Operations to the Regional Director for signature and transmittal. Distinction between contracts and grants
In the administration of the technical assistance program important distinctions exist between a technical assistance service contract and a technical assistance grant.
Technical assistance services are performed under contract because of the nature of the applicant request, namely, services requiring an expert consultant. Contract processing is not performed by EDA ; it is a centralized service in the Department of Commerce. In providing services, EDA usually bears 100% of the cost of the contract. However, contributions in kind by the applicant are almost always part of the project. These contributions may consist of such things as transportation, staff, office space, etc.
Purchase orders are contracts for $2,500 or less, which receive reduced processing and approval routine. Projects resulting in purchase orders may be approved by the Director, OTA-Washington or his Deputy. The average work days required for the processing of these purchase orders are shown on Exhibit "I."
When a grant is approved, the funds go directly to the applicant, who is responsible for employing personnel, hiring consultants, and planning and administering the program. EDA, however, reserves the right to approve recipients' spending plans as well as the right to review the qualifications of personnel, consultants, or contractors. The Federal share may not, except under unusual circumstances, exceed 75 percent of the cost of the project. The non-Federal share may be in cash or in kind, but a maximum non-Federal contribution is encouraged and sought. A comparison of grant and contract actions for fiscal years 1966 1970 is shown on Exhibit “J." Grant processing
Grant documents are prepared concurrently with the Project Evaluation and Recommendation. When the Assistant Secretary approves a project, he also signs the grant document which sets forth the program to be conducted, the budget, and other terms and conditions. The grant procedure is therefore simple and speedy. It is responsive to program requirements without extensive interference from statutory and administrative regulations and procedures as is encountered in the contract process. As shown in Exhibit “J." we have used the grant procedure with greater frequency in recent years. Average processing times for grant actions from fiscal years 1966-1970 are shown on Exhibit “K.” Contract processing
Contract actions may be either sole source or competitive. If competitive, a request for proposal (RFP) is required. The RFP process naturally adds considerable time to the overall technical assistance processing routine.
When an RFP is required, OTA-Washington prepares a definitive scope of work, special terms and conditions, recommends firms to be solicited, etc., and sends this material to the Department of Commerce's Contracting Office. The Contracting Office prepares and forwards RFP's to potential contractors. In two or three weeks time, proposals are received and forwarded for evaluation and recommendation. Final recommendation is made by OTA-Washington. A draft contract is then reviewed by OTA-Washington and Legal, and executed by the Contracting Office and the contractor. Average processing time for RFP contracts for the five preceding fiscal years are shown on Exhibit “L.” Compare Exhibit "L" with Exhibit “M” which shows average processing times for all contract actions (excluding purchase orders) and you will note the extent to which RFP contract actions inflate the totals.
On sole source contracts, OTA-Washington prepares a definitive scope of work, special terms and conditions, etc., and forwards same to the Contracting Office for negotiation. A draft contract is reviewed by OTA-Washington and Legal, and is executed by the Contracting Office.
In the contract process, contract documents are not included in the project file sent to the Assistant Secretary for approval. However, while the project file is circulating for approval, OTA-Washington concurrently prepares necessary documents for use by the Contracting Office.
The contract process itself is a combination of legislative and administrative requirements. Many of the requirements of the contracting process derive directly from the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 and the Federal Procurement Regulations which are a detailed implementation of that Act. The contract process is completed and requires the expenditure of substantial time. Its requirements include determination of financial integrity, fair treatment of contractors, and documentation permitting auditing and checking.