Homeland Security and Emergency Services

Fiscal Monitoring Unit (FMU)

Topics

OMB Circular A-133 Single Audits | MONITORING VISITS | COMMON OBSERVATIONS

SUPPLANTING | EQUIPMENT | PERSONNEL CHARGES | RESOURCES | CONTACT FMU

 

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) is responsible for monitoring all grantees that receive Homeland Security funding to help ensure compliance with audit requirements, applicable laws, rules, and regulations. To assist DHSES in fulfilling its obligations, the Fiscal Monitoring Unit (FMU) was established.

The FMU is responsible for assisting in the fiscal monitoring of grantees utilizing Homeland Security funds. The FMU conducts fiscal monitoring through documentation review, on-site visits, review of A-133 Single Audit reports and technical assistance.

Fiscal Monitoring Unit Responsibilities

  • Provide on-going fiscal oversight and fiscal monitoring of Homeland Security grants
  • Obtain a reasonable assurance that grantees are expending funds in accordance with State and Federal guidelines
  • Inform grantees of fiscal compliance requirements
  • Provide technical advice and training to grantees as necessary and feasible
  • Help ensure timely expenditure of grant funds
  • Work with grantees to help detect and prevent fraud and abuse

Goals and Objectives

  • Continuously develop and administer a fiscal monitoring program that will provide a reasonable assurance that grant funds are in compliance with Federal and State financial management requirements.
  • Ensure grantee compliance with OMB Circular A-133. Obtain and review Single Audit Reports as required.
  • Ensure corrective action from previous fiscal monitoring reports, audits, or from any other sources that require such follow-up.
  • Track Single Audit Report (A-133) findings and fiscal monitoring issues of grantees to identify trends and address problem areas.
  • Identify and provide technical assistance to grantees.
  • Identify innovative tools and techniques for the achievement of Fiscal Monitoring Unit goals and objectives.
  • Review the adequacy of internal controls and the reliability of the Grantee's financial management system as they relate to the contracts.
  • Help to ensure that the Grantee meets the terms and conditions of the contract(s), as they relate to fiscal goals or requirements.
  • Help to ensure that amounts reported are accurate, allowable, supported by documentation and properly allocated.
  • Continuously develop Fiscal Monitoring Unit staff through trainings and conferences to ensure professional competence and integrity of the Fiscal Monitoring Unit.

OMB Circular A-133 Single Audit Report Requirement

To assist with fiscal monitoring and in accordance with federal requirements, a Grantee which expends $500,000 or more of federal funds from all sources during its fiscal year, must have an independent audit of such federal funds conducted in accordance with the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133. OMB Circular A-133 further requires that the final report for such audit be completed within nine months of the end of the Grantee's fiscal year. As stated in Appendix A-1 of all New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) contracts and agreements, Grantees are required to provide one copy of such audit report to DHSES within nine months of the end of each fiscal year.

One audit report is required, the Single Audit Certification Form * if applicable, from each grantee.

  •  This audit requirement applies to the grantee (example: county, city, town...) and not the implementing agency.
  • Grantees are subject to the Single Audit requirement if they expend $500,000 or more in federal funding from ALL FEDERAL SOURCES during their fiscal period. Therefore, this does not only apply to the amount of expended DHSES funds.
  • Few, if any, counties are exempt from this audit requirement. If your organization, county or municipality is exempt, the A-133 Form* should be completed by checking exempt and indicating which fiscal year/period (example: 4/1/08-3/31/09) the exemption is applicable to.

It is recommended that you notify your municipality's/entity's fiscal department (example: county, city or town Treasurer, Comptroller, or Finance office) of this requirement and request that DHSES be added to the distribution list for the Single Audit reports.

Additionally, Grantees should continue to submit an A-133 Exemption form* or a copy of their Single Audit Report (if applicable) after every fiscal year that falls within their DHSES contract period. Per OMB Circular A-133, extension requests to the report deadline must be obtained from your federal cognizant or oversight agency. DHSES is not authorized to grant extensions.  However, DHSES must be notified of any extensions granted.

A-133 forms/reports can be submitted to:
New York State
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
Fiscal Monitoring Unit
State Campus, Building 7A
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12242

Electronic copies or a link to the report or form is acceptable and can be directed to*: FMU@dhses.ny.gov

*An email response submitted to FMU@dhses.ny.gov indicating that your entity or municipality is exempt and indicating the fiscal period the exemption is applicable, is acceptable as well.

Monitoring Visits

Although monitoring is an ongoing process, the Fiscal Monitoring Unit will consider monitoring needs at various milestones.
Initial Award: Monitoring may begin at the time a contract is executed. A new grantee may be unfamiliar with the financial reporting and management requirements of the grant. Therefore, technical assistance at the initial execution of the contract for new grantees may be beneficial.
Periodic Monitoring: On-going monitoring will be conducted of grant recipients. The types and frequency of the monitoring will depend on the awarded grants and grantee performance.
Completion of contract: If a grantee will no longer receive funding from DHSES, a final fiscal review may be conducted at the completion of the last grant. This will depend on the total grants awarded and grantee performance.
What to expect: The Fiscal Monitoring Unit will call the Grantee's implementing agency contacts to establish a date for an onsite visit. Once a date is established, a confirming e-mail is sent and typically includes; some background information; resources; the transactions selected for review and a request for some information from the implementing agencies to be provided in advance of the visit.

Once on site, the FMU staff typically: conducts an entrance meeting to review the site visit process and answer questions; reviews the required documentation; examines equipment property records and physically inspects the selected pieces of equipment. When possible, it is the goal of the FMU to resolve any deficiencies with the grantee during the visit. At the conclusion of the visit, it is customary to have an exit meeting to summarize the visit and identify any outstanding deficiencies/observations.

Following the site visit, a draft fiscal monitoring report is typically sent to the Grantee with copies to implementing agency contacts. If any deficiencies/observations are identified, a response is requested within 30 days from the date of the draft report. The response should include the corrective actions taken or planned to be taken, with time frames, to resolve the observations. The response is reviewed and a final report is then issued. If no deficiencies are identified during a site visit, a report summarizing the visit will be sent in place of a draft report.

Supporting Documentation:

Below is the typical documentation expected to be made available during a fiscal monitoring visit for each category and transaction selected for review. However, it is not an exhaustive list and additional documentation may be requested during the review. If these records are readily available during our monitoring visit, the review will go quicker and may take less time.

Personal Services & Fringe Benefits:

  1. Payroll Registers and Time Cards / Sheets
  2. Overtime authorization forms (if applicable)
  3. Overtime worked forms (if applicable)
  4. Proof of attendance at trainings - sign-in sheets, or any other authorized method that individuals participated in the training
  5. Contractual Agreements for Salary Rates
  6. Contractual Agreements for Benefits Payable
  7. Disbursement information
  8. Personal Activity reports or Certifications (per CFR 2 Part 225/OMB Circular A-87)
  9. Rates for Fringe benefits Calculations

Note: Salary and Fringe rates must be substantiated.

Consultants:

  1. Procurement procedures and files - Competitive bid documentation (notice of invitation to bid, advertisement, bidders list, methodology to score bids (selection process) Notice of selection of winning bid; proposals from bidders, or record of phone quotes or written vendor quotes etc.)
  2. Consultant Agreement or Purchase Order
  3. Proof of services received
  4. Billing information and payments (invoices & check register or cancelled check)

Equipment:

  1. Procurement procedures and files - Competitive bid documentation (notice of invitation to bid, advertisement, bidders list, methodology to score bids (selection process) Notice of selection of winning bid; proposals from bidders, or record of phone quotes or written vendor quotes etc.)
  2. Contract or Purchase Order
  3. Receiving or packing slips and invoices
  4. Billing information and payments (invoices & check register or cancelled check)
  5. Equipment Property Records

Supplies:

  1. Procurement procedures and files - Competitive bid documentation (notice of invitation to bid, advertisement, bidders list, methodology to score bids (selection process) Notice of selection of winning bid; proposals from bidders, or record of phone quotes or written vendor quotes etc.)
  2. Purchase Order
  3. Receiving or packing slips and invoices
  4. Billing information and payments (invoices & check register or cancelled check)

Travel:

  1. Travel Policies and Procedures
  2. Travel authorizations
  3. Reimbursement request documentation
  4. Check register or cancelled check

Alterations & Renovations:

  1. Procurement procedures and files - Competitive bid documentation (notice of invitation to bid, advertisement, bidders list, methodology to score bids (selection process) Notice of selection of winning bid; proposals from bidders, or record of phone quotes or written vendor quotes etc.)
  2. Contract or Purchase Order Check register or cancelled check
  3. Schematics / blue prints, if applicable
  4. Invoices & check register or cancelled check

All Other Expenses:

  1. Procurement procedures and files - Competitive bid documentation (notice of invitation to bid, advertisement, bidders list, methodology to score bids (selection process) Notice of selection of winning bid; proposals from bidders, or record of phone quotes or written vendor quotes etc.)
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. Receiving or packing slips
  4. Invoices & check register or cancelled check

Note:

  1. Procurement folders must be made available for all the transactions selected for review. If these records are not available at the location where the review is being conducted, arrangements must be made in advance of the monitoring visit for DHSES staff to access these records.
  2. Please provide documentation to support items that are purchased on State or municipal contract, and copies of single or sole source DHSES approval for selected transactions not competitively bid.

Supplanting

Determining Supplanting

The critical question in determining whether there has been a supplanting violation is whether federal funds were used instead of funds from non-federal sources. Grantees will have to show the federally funded activity would not have been funded by State or non-federal sources.

When reviewing compliance with non-supplant rules, the following test is often used: What would the Grantee have done in the absence of the federal funds? If the Grantee would have carried out the project anyway with non-federal funds, there will be a presumption of supplanting. During the appeal process, the Grantee would be required to submit evidence to disprove that presumption. On the other hand, if there was evidence that in the absence of those federal funds, the Grantee would not have carried out that specific activity or program; there would be no presumption of supplanting.

For example, if a Grantee, prior to applying to participate in the grant program, had committed to purchase 10 new radios, then the Grantee must purchase those 10 radios in addition to any radios requested for the grant program. Funds currently allocated to purchase equipment may not be reallocated to other purposes nor refunded, should a grant be made. Non-Federal funds for such equipment must remain available for and devoted to that purpose, with grant funds serving as a supplement to those non-Federal funds.

A reduction in a State or local funds for an activity specifically because federal funds are available (or expected to be available) to fund that same activity. When supplanting is not permitted, federal funds must be used to supplement existing State or local funds for program activities and may not replace State or local funds that have been appropriated or allocated for the same purpose. Additionally, federal funding may not replace State or local funding that is required by law. In those instances where a question of supplanting arises, the applicant or Grantee will be required to substantiate that the reduction in a non-federal resources occurred for reasons other than the receipt of federal funds.

Equipment

Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) - Federal Guidance for Equipment/Property Records from CFR-44

Equipment Defined
(From CFR 44 § 13.3 Definitions)

Equipment means tangible, nonexpendable, personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. A grantee may use its own definition of equipment provided that such definition would at least include all equipment defined above.

Equipment Management
(From CFR 44 § 13.32 Equipment)

(d) Management requirements. Procedures for managing equipment (including replacement equipment), whether acquired in whole or in part with grant funds, until disposition takes place will, as a minimum, meet the following requirements:

  1. Property records must be maintained that include a description of the property, a serial number or other identification number, the source of property, who holds title, the acquisition date, and cost of the property, percentage of Federal participation in the cost of the property, the location, use and condition of the property, and any ultimate disposition data including the date of disposal and sale price of the property.
  2. A physical inventory of the property must be taken and the results reconciled with the property records at least once every two years.
  3. A control system must be developed to ensure adequate safeguards to prevent loss, damage, or theft of the property. Any loss, damage, or theft shall be investigated.
  4. Adequate maintenance procedures must be developed to keep the property in good condition.

Elements of a property record*:

  1. Description of the property;
  2. Serial number or other identification number;
  3. The source of property (specify each funding source used to purchase equipment, including year, ex. UASI 2005);
  4. Who holds title (ownership, ex. County or specific implementing agency);
  5. The acquisition date;
  6. Cost of property;
  7. Percentage of Federal participation in the property (% paid from each specific grant);
  8. Location of Equipment;
  9. Use and condition of the property (ex. new, good, poor)
  10. Disposition Data:
    • Date of disposition (disposed or sold)
    • Sale price of property
  11. A physical inventory of the property must be taken and the results reconciled at least once every two years.

*DHSES does not prescribe any one system grantees should use to be compliant with this requirement. Grantees should review their current inventory systems and records to determine if they are compliant with Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A basic Excel Property Record Template has been created as an option for grantees to establish their property records and track inventories if their current system is not fully compliant.

Personnel Charges

Payroll Certifications
Charges for salaries and wages will be supported by periodic certifications
From 2 CFR Part 225 (formerly OMB Circular A-87)
Appendix B to Part 225-Selected Items of Cost

8. Compensation for personal services

8. h. (3) Where employees are expected to work solely on a single Federal award or cost objective, charges for their salaries and wages will be supported by periodic certifications that the employees worked solely on that program for the period covered by the certification. These certifications will be prepared at least semi-annually and will be signed by the employee or supervisory official having firsthand knowledge of the work performed by the employee.

View Sample Payroll Certification

8. h. (4) Where employees work on multiple activities or cost objectives, a distribution of their salaries or wages will be supported by personnel activity reports or equivalent documentation which meets the standards in subsection 8.h. (5) of this appendix unless a statistical sampling system (see subsection 8.h. (6) of this appendix) or other substitute system has been approved by the cognizant Federal agency. Such documentary support will be required where employees work on:
(a) More than one Federal award,
(b) A Federal award and a non-Federal award,
(c) An indirect cost activity and a direct cost activity,
(d) Two or more indirect activities which are allocated using different allocation bases, or
(e) An unallowable activity and a direct or indirect cost activity.

8. h. (5) Personnel activity reports or equivalent documentation must meet the following standards:
(a) They must reflect an after-the-fact distribution of the actual activity of each employee,
(b) They must account for the total activity for which each employee is compensated,
(c) They must be prepared at least monthly and must coincide with one or more pay periods, and
(d) They must be signed by the employee.
(e) Budget estimates or other distribution percentages determined before the services are performed do not qualify as support for charges to Federal awards but may be used for interim accounting purposes, provided that:
(i) The governmental unit's system for establishing the estimates produces reasonable approximations of the activity actually performed;
(ii) At least quarterly, comparisons of actual costs to budgeted distributions based on the monthly activity reports are made. Costs charged to Federal awards to reflect adjustments made as a result of the activity actually performed may be recorded annually if the quarterly comparisons show the differences between budgeted and actual costs are less than ten percent; and
(iii) The budget estimates or other distribution percentages are revised at least quarterly, if necessary, to reflect changed circumstances.

View Sample Personal Activity Report

Common Observations Made

  • Lack of property records as required by Federal Guidelines (see CFR 44 §13.32)
  • Lack of Certifications for payroll charges (see OMB A-87, now codified at 2 CFR Part 225)
  • Lack of Procurement documentation (see Contract Appendix A-1)
  • Lack of prior written approval from DHSES for purchases from a particular vendor without competitive bidding (see Contract Appendix A-1)
  • Lack of written procedures related to grants management (see Resources section for tips and sample grant management policies and procedures)

Resources

How to contact the Fiscal Monitoring Unit

  • New York State
    Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
    Fiscal Monitoring Unit
    State Office Campus, Bldg. 7A
    1220 Washington Ave.
    Albany, NY 12242

  • Phone: 518-402-2123
  • Email: FMU@dhses.ny.gov