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Veterans' Program Letter No. 3-98

December 4, 1997

Veterans' Program Letter No. 3-98

To: All Regional Administrators and Directors for Veterans Employment and Training and All State Emoployment Security Agency Administrators (SESAS) All Regional Administrators, Employment and Training Administration (INFO)

From: Espiridion "AL" Borrego Acting Assistant Secretary

Subject: Preparation of Fiscal Year (FY) 1998 Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP)/Local Veterans' Employment Representative (LVER) State Fiscal Operating Plans (SFOP) and Post-Award Conference

I. Purpose: To provide guidance on the preparation and conduct of a FY 1998-2000+ DVOP/LVER post-award conference (PAC) as well as submittal and review of the FY 1998 SFOP.

II. References: Veterans Program Letter (VPL) 1-98, dated October 1, 1997 and the FY 1998-2000+ DVOP/LVER Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA).

III. Background: The new DVOP and LVER funding cycle for FY 1998 began on October 1, 1997. To ensure access to those funds, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) in the absence of an approved budget bill. The Grant Officer could not execute the Notices of Grant Award without an "advise of allotment" from the office of Management and Budget (OMB), based upon an appropriation bill signed by the President. Grantees were given access to a proportionate amount of funds for use through November 7, 1997, the end of the second CR period. Congress sent an approved Labor, Education and Health and Human Services appropriations bill to the President which he signed on Thursday, November 13, 1997. Upon receipt of the "advise of allotment" from OMB, the Grant Officer signed the Notice of Grant Awards for each grantee containing the official FY 1998 DVOP/LVER allocations.

The official FY 1998 DVOP/LVER allocations should be the same as those that the Grant officer transmitted in his October 20, 1997 letter to grantees. Upon receipt, Regional Administrators for Veterans' Employment and Training (RAVETS) will issue a Notice of Obligational Authority totaling 25% of the annual grant amount award to fund grantees through December 31, 1997, the end of the first quarter of FY 1998. Grantee will be given thirty days from the date the Notice of Grant Award are signed to submit a SFOP to their Director for Veterans' Employment and Training (DVET). The SFOP may be submitted electronically, on diskette (e.g., Lotus, Excel or WordPerfect), using the blank format provided by the DVET or taken from Enclosure IV. of the DVOP/LVER SGA (See VPL enclosure for sample form and instructions). The SFOP can also be accessed through VETS Internet Home Page at http.www.dol.gov/vets/.

NOTE: Select the SGA icon and download or read Enclosure IV using the free Adobe Acrobat reader available at that web site.

The Grant Award Process

The SGA for the FY 1998-2000+ DVOP/LVER grants requested grantees to project FY 1998 spending at full DVOP/LVER statutory formula staffing levels in their submissions. The State Allocation Requests (SARS) formed the basis from which funding decisions would be based with the expectation that funds would not be available at the grantees' aggregate request level.

Since the aggregate amounts requested for formula level staffing greatly exceeded the amounts anticipated in the FY 1998 DVOP/LVER appropriation, an equitable methodology was used to determine the allocation of available funds among the Grantees. All requests for equipment purchases, training, capital expenditures and conferences were identified and set aside. The amounts that remained for staffing at formula levels still exceeded the amounts available for allocation in the FY 1998 appropriation.

The approved appropriation contains the same aggregate level of DVOP/LVER funds approved for FY 1997, which is $157,117,000. However, the FY 1998 amount for LVER is $1.953 million more than in FY 1997, while the amount for DVOP is $1.953 million less. The change in the mix of DVOP/LVER funds was the result of VETS decision to maintain, as close as possible, the FY 1997 LVER staffing levels. The ASVET views the LVER functional supervision role as crucial to ensuring priority of services for veterans in emerging workforce development systems.

The resultant amounts available for distribution to the Grantees were, consequently, 27% less than the cumulative net amounts requested to operate the FY 1998 DVOP program, and 16% less than the net amounts requested to operate the LVER program.

Signed copies of grant awards will be distributed by the Grant Officer to the Grantees, DVETs and RAVETS. Agency allocations will be forwarded to the RAVETs for their issuance of the Notices of obligation Authority (NOAS) to the SESAs for one-fourth of the annual DVOP and LVER amounts awarded to each Grantee.

IV. Post Allocation Guidance: With the transmission of a first quarter NOA, each Grantee will complete and submit on diskette to their DVET a SFOP indicating how funds are to be distributed among the remaining FY 1998 quarters, and the number of staff the funds will support. Each Grantee will have thirty days from the date on the Notice of Grant Award to submit to their DVET, their SFOP as well as a revised staff directory reflecting any changes from the one submitted with their initial grant applications in August.

V. Review and Approval of the SFOP: DVETs will review the SFOP using the criteria below. The total amount of funds for the first quarter of FY 1998 must be equivalent to the amounts shown on the NOA issued by the RAVET

for the FY 1998 quarter which ends December 31, 1997. The SFOP must also contain entries for any FY 1997 funds carried over into the fifth quarter for the grantee to obligate or otherwise use for program purposes through December 31, 1997. (NOTE: FY97 funds should be reported in the column marked FY 1997 carry-over for the appropriate category, either DVOP or LVER.)

DVETs will provide technical assistance in the preparation of the SFOP and will:

(A) verify the accuracy of calculated entries;

(B) given the change in the mix of DVOP and LVER staff, compare FY 1997 quarterly expenditures-to-date to the planned quarterly expenditures on the FY 1998 SFOP to ensure that funds are proportionately distributed between quarters based on historical expenditure patterns. If there is a variance from the historical record-that appears significant, the grantee should be asked to provide a short explanation for the deviation;

(C) compare the cost per position (CPP) on the FY 1998 SAR contained in the grant application to the SFOP. There equipment or conference expenses, or the CPP was modified or adjusted as a result of negotiations during the grant review. Adjusted SAR CPPs should be the same as the CPPs on the SFOP and an explanation should be attached;

(D) ensure that the approved funding is adequate to support the indicated staffing levels, [e.g. multiply SAR CPP (line 8) by SFOP staffing plan (line 1)];

(E) ensure that the ratio of Personnel Services (PS) and Personal Benefits (PB) to total funds has not deviated from that reported on the SAR; and

(F) ensure that approved funding and any staffing levels. (or formula levels) that may have been established in the grant award process were not exceeded.

NOTE:Over-estimating the staffing levels that can be supported with reduced allocations distorts the CPP and precludes any meaningful analysis to determine actual funding needs.

If the available allocation is insufficient to support current staff levels (unless the formula level has been exceeded), the grantee can prepare a modification request for additional funds; however, it is unlikely that such funds will be available until after the end of the first quarter of FY 1998. Until a modification is approved, any expenditures over the approved staffing levels reflected on the SFOP must be borne by the Grantee.

VI. Comprehensive DVOP/LVER Staff Directory: Each Grantee will also provide the DVET a newly developed DVOP/LVER directory based upon current staffing. Any adjustments in assignments made to conform to the SFOP developed for the first year (FY 1998) of the new DVOP/LVER multi-year grant period must be incorporated.

To ensure efficient and effective scheduling of training through the National Veterans' Training Institute (NVTI), this staff directory must be comprehensive. It must include the name, status (e.g., DVOP, Full time [1] and half-time [.5] LVER), mailing address and work phone number of each VETS'-funded staff person. Specific outstation locations must be identified including the day(s) of each week the outstation location is covered and amount of time covered per week in hours. Grantees are requested to indicate on each quarterly staffing update all individuals newly hired for timely scheduling of NVTI training. The list should be developed in either a word processing (e.g., WordPerfect, Microsoft Word) or spreadsheet (Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel) format and submitted on diskette to the DVET, who will maintain the directory incorporating Grantee's quarterly updates.

VII. Post Award Conference: Upon or shortly following receipt of the Notice of Grant Award, the DVET will contact their respective Grantee to set up a meeting time for a Post-Award Conference (PAC). The PAC should be scheduled so that all individuals who play a role in carrying out the administration of the grant can be present.

A thorough PAC should be designed to address any issues or questions regarding the special and general grant provisions, especially those regarding out stationing or reporting requirements. This is the time to address concerns which can impact on the smooth operation of the DVOP/LVER programs throughout the grant period.

The agenda for the meeting should have enough breadth to ensure all significant subject areas will be discussed. At a minimum the post-award conference should include a discussion of:

  1. -- the effect of FY 1997 carry-over into a fifth FY quarter;
  2. -- the development of the FY 1998 SFOP, a new staffing directory and quarterly directory updates; -- electronically generated and transmitted quarterly reports; -- continued program emphasis on serving the most in need using "triage" methods at intake and a case management approach to service delivery; -- required DVOP/LVER Internet capacity-building/training following any recent equipment purchases; -- timely submission of accurate quarterly reports to ensure timely obligational authority of each additional quarters'funding; -- fiscal planning to ensure continued availability of funds to support requested DVOP/LVER staffing levels; -- the assignment of a LVER position to the central office, and the person to whom this LVER will report on DVOP/LVER activities. Title 38, USC, Section 4104(c), outlines the administrative responsibility of a LVER. It is VETS belief that the Central Office LVER shall be administratively responsible to the Administrator of the Agency or at minimum the Director of Field Operations; -- preserving DVOP/LVER staff statutory integrity with inclusion into One-Stop career centers; and -- the normal budgetary adjustment process following each FY quarter;

    The normal budgetary adjustment process (i.e.,.recapture and redistribution of under-expended funds) will continue to be carried out by RAVETs in FY 1998. A primary tool in budget planning and adjustments is the SFOP. It is extremely important to accurately project expenditures for the last three quarters. Further, we expect grantees to adjust the State Fiscal Operating Plan, whenever staffing and projected expenditures are changed through a formal modification to the existing grant agreement.

    The RAVET should be consulted if concerns are raised by either the Grantee's representative or the DVET and were inadequately resolved during the PAC.

    VIII. Actions Required:

    A. Each Grantee will provide the DVET with a completed SFOP on diskette in Lotus, Excel or WordPerfect within, but no later than thirty days of the date appearing on the Notice of Grant Award.

    B. Each Grantee will compare the cost per position (CPP) on the FY 1998 SAR contained in their grant application to the SFOP. There should be little or no difference in the CPP from the SAR and the SFOP, unless the grantee requested equipment or conference expenses, or the CPP was modified or adjusted as a result of negotiations during the grant review. Should there be a deviation in the CPP between the approved SAR and the SFOP, the grantee will provide an explanation with their cover letter to include budgetary back-up information.

    C. The DVET is expected to provide technical assistance to the Grantee on the preparation of the SFOP. Further, the DVET will assure that the SFOP is free of mathematical errors and responsive to funding and staffing limitations. The DVET will transmit their analysis of the SFOP along with the SFOP to the Chicago Regional Lead Center (RLC) and their respective Regional office via E-mail within 24 hours of their receipt of the SFOP.

    D. The RAVET is responsible for the review and approval of each SFOP. The SFOP and cover letter shall be forwarded to the RLC within three working days of receipt. If errors are noted in an SFOP, the RAVET will contact the DVET to assure that a corrected copy is forwarded to the Chicago RLC.

    E. The RAVET will forward a letter to their respective SESAS outlining their approval of the SFOP. A copy should be provided to the appropriate DVET and the Chicago RLC. The RAVET will ensure that an acceptable SFOP is prepared if the one initially submitted is inadequate or otherwise incorrectly completed.

    F. The DVET will ensure that a Post-Award Conference after action report is prepared and submitted to the RAVET with a copy to the State agency within two weeks of the Post-Award Conference. The report will indicate who was present at the PAC, the items that were discussed and the understandings that were reached.

    G. The RAVET will ensure that an SFOP and staffing directory are submitted by each State as required by this directive.

    IX. Inquiries: Questions should be directed to the DVET. The DVET will direct inquiries to the RAVET. The RAVET may consult the Chicago RLC; attention: Joel Delofsky, or the National office; attention: Cassandra Willis.

    X. Attachments: SFOP form and Instructions

    XI. Expiration Date: September 30, 1998.