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Maine Bulletin No. ME 300-11-6

 

                                                                                                                            September 28, 2011
 

Subject: LTP - Maine NRCS Policy of Conservation Program Contracts (CPCs)
 

Purpose. To provide reminders on adhering to National NRCS policy regarding management of Conservation Program Contracts (CPCs), and to introduce Maine NRCS policy regarding Conservation Program Contract documentation.

Expiration Date. September 30, 2012

Background: Recent NRCS Quality Assurance Reviews conducted in Maine of Conservation Program Contract Management revealed that reminders on adhering to policy in this regard are warranted. The reviews also revealed that the organization of Conservation Program Contract folders varies widely from office to office. This causes inefficiency in the use and review of the folders by those that are not familiar.

Explanation:  This bulletin will act as a reminder for the National NRCS policy regarding the requirement for manual signatures certifying Technical Adequacy on the NRCS-CPA-1155 . This policy is in regards to the requirements for Annual Contract Reviews and the definition of "Review Year". It introduces the Maine NRCS policy for the organization of the NRCS Conservation Program Contract file and District Conservationist's certification that documents required to be obtained and completed prior to contract obligation are in place.

NRCS-CPA-1155 Conservation Plan of Operations Technical Adequacy Certification Requirement

The requirement for Technical Adequacy certification is outlined in Title 440 - Programs - Part 512 - Conservation Program Contracting Manual, Section 512.42 (A) Finalize Form NRCS-CPA-1155, "Conservation Plan or Schedule of Operations":

(3) Technical Adequacy Certification is Required by the Designated Conservationist. However, the NRCS Approving Official's [Manual] signature is not required because the Schedule of Operations is incorporated as part of the contract that is Approved at obligation.

See "ATTACHMENT A" for a screen print that illustrates this requirement. Please note: The Approving Official's electronic signature will be captured on the NRCS-CPA-1155 form when the application is changed to the "Approved" status in ProTracts and finalized with the electronic signature of the person obligating the contract in ProTracts.

ACTION ITEM: - DECEMBER 31, 2011 The District Conservationists will arrange for a Review of all active contracts in their files to determine if the NRCS-CPA-1155 (CPO) has been manually signed by them, or a previous District Conservationist, to Certify Technical Adequacy. For contracts that do not have signed CPOs, the District Conservationist or authorized Zone Resource Conservationist, will review the form to determine Technical Adequacy, then manually sign it and refile the form in the contract folder. Contracts for which the CPO information is NOT Technically Adequate will be modified to make necessary changes, if possible, or canceled.

Annual Conservation Program Contract Review Requirement

The requirement for the "Annual Review" of Conservation Program Contracts, and the documentation of that Review in the ProTracts system, is outlined in the Title 440 - Programs - CPM, Part 512 - Conservation Program Contracting Manual in Section 512.55.

As clarification of the term "Review Year" in the "Contract Review" module screen, a definition was provided in a 2007 Financial Assistance Program Division (FAPD) Net-Conference Training (slides for which can be viewed on the ProTracts Home Page website). Per that training, the definition of "Review Year" for the ProTracts Contract Review module is the
calendar year of the "Annual Contract Review". As an example, if the Review is being done in September 2011, the "Review Year" will be 2011. If the Review is being done in October 2011, the "Review Year" is ALSO 2011, even though the fiscal year has rolled over to 2012.

Contracts that are obligated in the current fiscal year, must have a "Contract Review" completed in ProTracts at least once during the first 12 months of the contract.

An electronic NRCS-CPA-13 form is not required to be completed for the "Annual Contract Review" IF the contract is on schedule, and all other eligibility criteria are being met [Reference 512.55(B)(1)]. However, District Conservationists may complete the electronic form for all contracts if desired.

Please Note: Although there is a requirement for all active contracts to be reviewed annually, a "Contract Review" can be done more than once a year if changes in the implementation of the contract warrant it.

See "ATTACHMENT B" for Guidance on Performing Annual Contract Reviews and the definition of "Review Year".

ACTION ITEM: The District Conservationists will arrange for all active contracts in their Field Office that are managed in ProTracts to be reviewed at least once each calendar year in the ProTracts "Contract Review" module. Where pertinent, District Conservationists will review the NRCS-CPA-13 in the "Contract Review" module, edit where necessary, and electronically sign the NRCS-CPA-13 form when it is complete.

Maine Policy for Conservation Program Contract Folder Set-Up and Certification of Completion of Documentation Required Prior to Contact Obligation.

As of the date of this bulletin, all subsequent Conservation Program Contract (CPC) folders will be set up according to the outline provided in ATTACHMENT C of this bulletin. The outline is a contract documentation and folder set-up guide that is based on information provided in the Title 440 - Programs - CPM, Part 512 -Conservation Program Contracting Manual, in Section 512.107.

The Checklist provides a list of the documentation required to be included in the NRCS CPC folder, as well as:

- the required placement of documents in the CPC folder,
- which documents should be provided to the client,
- which documents must be manually signed and by whom,
- which documents are required to be obtained and/or completed prior to contract obligation, and
- which documents are required to be scanned into the Field Office share drive for 2nd Level Review Purposes.

In addition to the set-up information, the Checklist acts as the District Conservationist's certification that all documents required to be obtained and/or completed prior to contract obligation are in place. The Certification Statement is at the bottom of the Checklist Worksheet, with space for the District Conservationist's, or authorized Zone Resource Conservationist's, signature and date.

ACTION ITEM: SEPTEMBER 28, 2011 The District Conservationists or authorized Zone Resource Conservationists will review each subsequent Conservation Program Contract folder to assure documentation required prior to contract obligation is in place and certify this by signing at the bottom of the Checklist. The signed Checklist will be scanned with the required documents for 2nd Level Obligation Review purposes. The District Conservationist, or authorized Resource Conservationist, will also review subsequent contract folders periodically to assure that the set-up is according to the Checklist outline.

Contact. If you have questions about the information provided in this bulletin, please contact Bill Yamartino, ASTC/Programs by calling (207) 990-9100 x3 or by e-mailing bill.yamartino@me.usda.gov



/s/ William R. Yamartino, Acting

JUAN C. HERANDEZ
State Conservationist

Attachments

The following documents require  Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)

Attachment A - Conservation Plan or Schedule of Operations - Screen Print (.pdf)
Attachment B - Guidance on Performing Annual Contract Review - Power Point (.pdf)
Attachment C - Field Office Checklist for 6-Part Contract Folders (.pdf)