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CASE | DECISION | ANALYSIS | JUDGE | FOOTNOTES

Department of Health and Human Services
DEPARTMENTAL APPEALS BOARD
Appellate Division
IN THE CASE OF  


SUBJECT: Kuigpagmiut, Inc.

DATE: August 8, 2001



 

 

Docket No. A-2000-81
Decision No. 1780
DECISION
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DECISION

Kuigpagmiut, Inc. (Kuigpagmiut) appealed an April 10, 2000 determination by the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) disallowing $62,002 in federal funding claimed by Kuigpagmiut under three ANA grants in 1996. Generally, ANA determined that Kuigpagmiut drew down funding for its ANA grants but then transferred the disallowed funding to other programs. During the course of this appeal ANA reviewed additional documentation, including an audit report for 1997 submitted by Kuigpagmiut, and reduced the disallowance to $23,112. The reduction reflected ANA's determination that, in the 1997 budget period, Kuigpagmiut had used its own funds for costs incurred under two of the ANA grants. ANA Br. at 1.

Kuigpagmiut ultimately conceded ANA's disallowance of two previously disputed components totaling $4,993(1), reducing the amount in dispute to $18,119. See Kuigpagmiut Reply Br. at 14, n.7. Kuigpagmiut argued, however, that the remaining disallowance should be reversed because Kuigpagmiut had other allowable expenses that had not been properly recognized in its grant programs.

As explained below, we sustain the remaining disallowance. First, we conclude that Kuigpagmiut may not now reclassify costs as direct costs when the very same costs have already been recognized as indirect costs in the fixed with carryforward rate that Kuigpagmiut negotiated with the Department of the Interior (DOI) and that was used to reimburse Kuigpagmiut for its indirect costs allowable for the ANA programs at issue here. To the extent that reclassification of costs which were actually incurred in 1996 would still be possible at this late hour under the carryforward provisions of the fixed rate process, such reclassification and carryforward adjustment would have to be first approved by DOI. In the absence of any such DOI approval, the reclassification of these costs would effectively compensate Kuigpagmiut a second time for the very same costs, and would consequently be impermissible.

Additionally, we conclude that ANA properly declined to reduce the disallowance to reflect costs which Kuigpagmiut had already claimed under a grant program funded by a different federal agency. A federal grantee is not entitled to receive duplicate reimbursement for the same cost under different federal grant programs, including programs funded by two separate federal agencies. Finally, Kuigpagmiut's argument that a cost originally claimed under one ANA grant should have been charged to a different ANA grant does not provide a basis for a reduction of the disallowance.

Factual and Legal Background

Kuigpagmiut is a consortium of traditional village councils established as a non-profit organization in Alaska. In 1996 Kuigpagmiut received funding under four grants from ANA and one from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Kuigpagmiut
Ex. 2, Tab 7 at 4. The following grants were at issue in this case:

Grants 1 & 2. On July 24, 1995, ANA awarded Kuigpagmiut an Economic Development Grant (90NM1642/01) (first Economic Development Grant) totaling $194,270 for the period August 1, 1995 through July 31, 1996 to support first year development of a tribal court system. On September 28, 1996, ANA awarded Kuigpagmiut a continuation grant (90NM1642/02) (second Economic Development Grant) totaling $187,730 for the period August 1, 1996 through July 31, 1997 for the second year development of a tribal court system. Kuigpagmiut Ex. 2, Tab 2 at 16-17.

Grant 3. On July 3, 1995, ANA awarded Kuigpagmiut an Environmental Impact Grant (90NM0016/01) totaling $120,000 for the period July 1, 1995 through June 30, 1996 for the first year of a project to correct damage to Native Alaskan lands caused by Department of Defense activities. Kuigpagmiut Ex. 2, Tab 3 at 11-12.

Grant 4. On September 10, 1996, ANA awarded Kuigpagmiut an Environmental Quality Grant (90NR0074/01) totaling $195,000 for the period September 30, 1996 through August 29, 1997 for the first year of a project to improve the quality of the environment in Kuigpagmiut's constituent villages. Kuigpagmiut Ex. 2, Tab 4 at 16.

EPA Grant. Kuigpagmiut also received a grant from the EPA
(GA990792-01-0) for $75,000 for the period October 1, 1996 through September 30, 2000 to evaluate and assess environmental problems in Kuigpagmiut's constituent villages.

Cost allowability for non-profit grantees is governed by 45 C.F.R. Part 74 and Office of Management and Budget Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non Profit Grantees (OMB Circular A-122) as made applicable by 45 C.F.R. 74.27(a). OMB Circular A-122 sets out the general principles that costs must be reasonable and necessary for the performance of the award and allocable thereto. A cost is allocable to a grant in accordance with the relative benefit received. A cost may be charged as a direct cost to a grant to the extent that it can be identified with a particular final cost objective.

Federal grant funds may be expended only for grant purposes, and a grantee may not retain federal funds in excess of the amount authorized for and actually expended for grant purposes. Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc., DAB No. 679 at 3 (1985). Among other requirements, to be allowable costs must be allocable to the program under which reimbursement is sought. Maine Dept. of Administrative and Financial Services, DAB No. 1659 at 9-10 (1998). A grantee bears the burden of documenting the existence and allowability of costs. West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency, DAB No. 861 at 4-5 (1987). Likewise, a grantee bears the responsibility to demonstrate the propriety of costs challenged in an audit or by disallowance. Dallas County Community Action Committee, Inc., DAB No. 1265 at 9-11 (1991). Documentation must consist of records which adequately identify information pertaining to grant award authorizations, obligations, unobligated balances, assets, outlays and income. These records must be supported by source documentation, such as canceled checks, receipts for paid bills and payrolls. A grantee must account for all grant funds received by documenting that it incurred and actually paid the program-related expenditures. Evangeline Community Action Agency, Inc., DAB No. 1379 at 3 (1993). Disallowances of interfund transfers can be reduced if the grantee can demonstrate that it has restored funds to its program account and that the funds were subsequently spent on properly documented allowable program expenditures which were incurred and paid during the term of the grant or that the funds are currently held by the program in available cash resources. Evangeline, at 4.

In the Notice of Disallowance, ANA determined that Kuigpagmiut had violated OMB Circular A-122, Attachment A, A.4.b., which provides that any cost allocable to a particular award or cost objective may not be shifted to other federal awards to overcome funding deficiencies or to avoid restrictions imposed by law or terms of the award. An audit for 1996 revealed that Kuigpagmiut had net interfund receivables of $62,002 for three ANA grants, specifically, the second Economic Development, the Environmental Impact and the Environmental Quality Grants. ANA surmised that Kuigpagmiut was treating the three ANA grants as non-interest charging lines of credit for non-grant activities. See Notice of Disallowance; ANA Br. at 5.

ANA determined that Kuigpagmiut had received federal funds in excess of allowable expenditures for each of the grants as follows:

Second Economic Development Grant - $27,032
Environmental Impact Grant - $ 7,550
Environmental Quality Grant - $28,042
Total - $62,624

ANA offset $622 in unreimbursed allowable costs for Kuigpagmiut's first Economic Development Grant project against the questioned funding for the three grants ($62,624) to arrive at the disallowance of $62,002. See Kuigpagmiut Br. at 3.

On December 6, 2000, after examining Kuigpagmiut's documentation for the 1997 calendar year, ANA issued a revised disallowance. ANA determined that Kuigpagmiut's accounts receivable under the second Economic Development and the Environmental Quality Grants had been reduced. The amount owed to the Economic Development Grant was reduced (from $27,032) to $7,397. The amount owed to the Environmental Quality Grant was reduced (from $28,042) to $8,788. ANA determined that these revised disallowances combined with the original $7,550 disallowance under the Environmental Impact Grant reduced the overall disallowance to $23,112.(2) Kuigpagmiut Exs. 6 and 7; see also ANA Br. at 5-6.

ANALYSIS
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In general, Kuigpagmiut did not dispute ANA's finding of improper inter-fund transfers. Rather, Kuigpagmiut argued that the disallowance should be reversed because Kuigpagmiut had other allowable costs that had not been properly recognized under its grant programs. The three categories of cost were: costs mistakenly treated as indirect costs under ANA grant programs that should have been recognized as direct costs; costs claimed under the EPA environmental grant program that should have been claimed under an ANA environmental grant program; and costs claimed under one ANA grant that should have been claimed under another ANA grant. We discuss each of the three different categories of cost under a separate heading below.

1. Proposed reclassification of indirect costs from 1996

The indirect cost rate established under Kuigpagmiut's Indirect Cost Negotiation Agreement (Agreement), with DOI, was for use on grants and contracts with the federal government. The limitations clause of the Agreement provided that the same costs may not be claimed as direct and treated as indirect costs. Establishing a fixed with carryforward rate of 68.3% for 1996, the Agreement provided that the rate was based upon the estimate of costs which Kuigpagmiut would incur for the period to which the rate applied. Upon the determination of actual costs incurred for the rate period, the established rate for a subsequent year would be adjusted to compensate for the difference between the costs used to establish the fixed rate and the actual indirect costs. Kuigpagmiut Ex. 2, Tab 5 at 2-7.

Kuigpagmiut's Agreement for 1996 included the following indirect cost categories:

Travel & Per Diem

Staff Travel and Training - $23,800

Utilities

Fuel - $9,600

Electricity - $1,200

Telephone - $7,200

Consultant-Auditor - $15,000

Id. at 7.

With two exceptions discussed below, Kuigpagmiut contended that 1996 expenses in several cost categories were inadvertently treated as indirect, rather than direct, costs.(3) Kuigpagmiut generally asserted that these newly discovered direct costs and the indirect costs which would be associated with them should be applied to further offset the disallowance. Finally, Kuigpagmiut argued that the carry forward procedure in its Agreement would allow the DOI to modify its future indirect cost rates to reflect this reclassification. Kuigpagmiut Further Response to Order to Develop the Record (Kuigpagmiut Further Response) at 1-2.

Based on the terms of the Agreement, ANA challenged Kuigpagmiut's claim that recorded indirect expenditures included in Kuigpagmiut's 1996 Indirect Cost Pool could now be reclassified as direct costs to offset the disallowance. ANA asserted that the effect of Kuigpagmiut's current claims would be that Kuigpagmiut would be compensated twice for a single cost.

We briefly summarize below the specific costs that Kuigpagmiut would now like to reclassify as direct costs.

Travel & Per Diem Kuigpagmiut would claim $1,527 as a direct cost under the second Economic Development Grant. ANA agreed that the approved budget for this grant included travel and per diem costs and that any costs that were directly related to this grant were not included in the indirect cost category Travel & Per Diem - Staff Travel and Training ($23,800) in the 1996 Agreement. ANA Br. at 8. However, ANA stated that Kuigpagmiut must establish that the costs in question are actually directly related to this grant and not to other activities for which travel funds were included in the indirect cost pool. ANA Response to Order to Develop the Record (ANA Response) at 1-2.

In response, Kuigpagmiut argued that, as demonstrated by source documentation in the record, $887 of this expenditure "is nothing more than a more accurate totaling" of the overall expenditure for travel and per diem in the second Economic Development Grant and corrects a mathematical error. That is, Kuigpagmiut asserted, the cost is a more accurate summary of costs which should be allowed as a direct charges to the grant. Regarding the remaining $640, Kuigpagmiut contended that it had provided documentation that adequately supported the allowability of this cost as a direct charge. Kuigpagmiut Further Response at 3-4.

Utilities Kuigpagmiut would claim $1,093 under the second Economic Development Grant, $1,246 under the Environmental Impact grant and $2,412 under the Environmental Quality Grant for electricity and fuel under the heading rent and utilities. ANA noted that these costs were included in the Utilities indirect cost category ($9,600 fuel and $1,200 electricity) of the 1996 Agreement. ANA Br. at 9.

Kuigpagmiut maintained that it did not charge programs at its satellite offices where utilities could not be separately identified to the various programs. Rather, Kuigpagmiut alleged, these costs were recorded as indirect costs. However, Kuigpagmiut asserted that, where practicable in its main office, Kuigpagmiut prorated utilities between programs and contract support areas of the building. Kuigpagmiut argued that this approach was consistent with the cost principles found at OMB Circular A-122, Attachment A, A.4.a.(2). Kuigpagmiut Further Response at 4-5.

Audit Costs Kuigpagmiut would claim $1,980 under the Environmental Impact Grant. This cost is part of the $15,000 for Consultant-Auditor listed in the 1996 Agreement. ANA Br. at 9. Kuigpagmiut asserted that this cost was clearly attributable to a particular program (the Environmental Impact Grant) and therefore should be treated as a direct cost. Kuigpagmiut Further Response at 8-9.

Telephone Costs Kuigpagmiut would claim $188 under the Environmental Quality grant. This cost is part of the $7,200 of indirect costs for Telephone listed in the 1996 Agreement. ANA Br. at 9. In its Response, ANA noted that Kuigpagmiut appeared to be claiming that this cost could be charged as a direct cost to the grant because Kuigpagmiut had budgeted funds for direct telephone costs. ANA admitted that Environmental Quality funds were awarded for telephone costs, but noted that Kuigpagmiut had not provided a convincing explanation as to why its initial identification of this expense as indirect was incorrect. ANA indicated that the $188 was part of a larger bill for $755.53 split virtually evenly among four cost categories ($188 x 4 = $752). ANA asserted that this simplistic division suggested that Kuigpagmiut could not then, nor cannot now, state with assurance how much should have been applied to any one of the four cost categories. Consequently, in ANA's view, this cost was properly treated as an indirect cost. ANA Response at 8-9.

As set out in OMB Circular A-122, charges to a grant are comprised of allowable direct costs and a portion of allowable indirect costs as determined by a grantee's indirect cost rate. Among other criteria, costs must be reasonable and necessary to grant purposes and adequately documented. OMB Circular A-122, Attachment A, A.2.a. and g. The Circular defines direct costs as -

those that can be identified specifically with a final cost objective . . . However, a cost may not be assigned to an award as a direct cost if any other cost incurred for the same purpose, in like circumstances, has been allocated to an award as an indirect cost . . . .

OMB Circular A-122, Attachment A, B.1.

Indirect costs are defined as -

those that have been incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be readily identified with a particular final cost objective . . . A cost may not be allocated to an award as an indirect cost if any other cost incurred for the same purpose, in like

circumstances, has been assigned to an award as a direct cost . . . .

Id. at C.1.

The primary basis for ANA's refusal to reclassify costs that were originally treated as indirect costs in the fixed with carryforward indirect cost rate process used by Kuigpagmiut and DOI is that such reclassification would enable Kuigpagmiut to be compensated twice for what in effect was the same cost. Kuigpagmiut would first be compensated under the indirect cost rate process and would again be compensated as an offset to this disallowance when the same costs were reclassified as direct costs. For the reasons discussed below, we agree with ANA that the reclassifications proposed by Kuigpagmiut would effectively provide Kuigpagmiut with duplicate compensation for the same costs and would consequently not be permissible.

Kuigpagmiut receives compensation for all of its indirect costs arising from ANA grant programs by means of an indirect cost rate authorized by the Agreement between Kuigpagmiut and DOI. The Agreement specifies the methodology for determining a fixed with carryforward annual rate and provides guidance in the classification of costs either as indirect or direct. The carryforward process operates as follows:

Fixed carryforward rates are based on an estimate of the costs which will be incurred during the period for which the rates apply. When the actual costs for such periods have been determined, an adjustment will be made to rates for future periods, if necessary, to compensate for the difference between the costs used to establish the fixed rate and actual costs.

Kuigpagmiut Ex. 5 at 4.

It is undisputed that, with the possible exceptions of some travel and per diem costs and the $188 in telephone costs, Kuigpagmiut initially treated all of the 1996 costs at issue here as indirect costs and has not until the issuance of this disallowance attempted to claim these costs as direct costs. Kuigpagmiut nevertheless argued that the terms of the Agreement gave the parties discretion to treat the costs in question either as indirect or direct, depending on the type of the activity and the programs involved. Kuigpagmiut further argued that it would not receive double compensation for the same cost under its Agreement because the carryforward procedures under its Agreement allowed DOI to modify future indirect cost rates to reflect this reclassification.

Kuigpagmiut has already been fully compensated for these costs through the operation of the 1996 indirect cost rate. Moreover, as ANA asserted, there is no basis for finding that the costs identified by Kuigpagmiut could qualify as direct costs under the terms of the Agreement in view of the nature of the costs and the grant programs involved. Kuigpagmiut failed to establish that similar types of costs or indeed these very types of costs had been treated consistently as direct costs in all of the intervening years between the year of the estimate (1996) and the year (still to be determined) in which the adjustment might occur. However, even if Kuigpagmiut's Agreement afforded the parties some latitude to designate these particular costs as direct costs as Kuigpagmiut argued, this Board lacks the authority to modify a rate determined under an agreement between a grantee and DOI. See Nisqually Indian Tribe, DAB No. 994 (1988). In any event, we would not do so here because Kuigpagmiut has failed to establish a basis for any adjustment in a future rate. The carryforward provisions are not designed to remedy retroactively a very belated discretionary revision in the computation of a single year's fixed rate occurring several years after-the-fact. Rather, the procedures are designed generally to remedy, if necessary, the difference between estimated and actual costs in a year subsequent to the year where the fixed rate applied.

At the very least, before this Board would be in a position to find these amounts to be allowable direct costs as Kuigpagmiut proposed, we would have to first receive confirmation from DOI that a carryforward adjustment had been made for a future year that had fully repaid ANA for the portion of the indirect costs (paid to Kuigpagmiut) that were attributable to these very same costs. Based on our understanding of the operation of the carryforward procedures, we seriously doubt whether any such confirmation could ever be forthcoming.

Accordingly, we conclude that Kuigpagmiut's proposal to reclassify 1996 indirect costs to direct costs is without merit in every instance.

As noted above, however, ANA agreed that, to the extent that Kuigpagmiut could establish that travel and per diem costs were directly related to the second Economic Development Grant, Kuigpagmiut would not receive double compensation because such costs were not part of the travel and per diem costs included in the indirect cost pool. In response, Kuigpagmiut provided an affidavit from its acting director explaining that $300 was spent on contract labor for the relocation of the Economic Development Director from St. Mary's to Mountain Village, Alaska. The affidavit further explained that $340 was spent to transport the President to a Tribal Courts Workshop. Kuigpagmiut also provided copies of check requests and checks for these amounts. We conclude that this documentation does not adequately establish that either of these costs was allowable and allocable in its entirety as a direct cost of the second Economic Development Grant. It is not apparent from this documentation why the labor was a reasonable and necessary cost of the grant or how the Tribal Courts Workshop was related to the grant. For example, the affiant's citation to $300 for "contract labor" for relocation of the project director does not explain the nature of the labor, why it was required to relocate the project director or why relocation was necessary. It is not apparent from this documentation why the labor was a reasonable and necessary cost of the grant or how the President's attendance at the Tribal Courts Workshop benefitted the grant project. Accordingly, there is no basis for treating these costs as an offset to the disallowance.(4)

Newly claimed indirect costs may not be used by Kuigpagmiut to offset the disallowance.

Along with its assertion that it had discovered new direct costs, Kuigpagmiut also asserted that when indirect costs were properly reclassified as direct costs, additional new indirect costs would be attributable to them. Thus, according to Kuigpagmiut, the combined total of these "new" direct and indirect expenses should be applied to offset the disallowance. Kuigpagmiut Reply Br. at 14. As discussed earlier, since Kuigpagmiut may not now reclassify as direct, costs originally treated as indirect for purposes of the 1996 grants, there are no "new" direct costs available to Kuigpagmiut and therefore no "new" indirect costs available to Kuigpagmiut to offset the disallowance.

2. Proposed shifting of claimed costs from the EPA environmental grant to the ANA environmental quality grant

As noted earlier, on September 10, 1996, ANA awarded Kuigpagmiut an Environmental Quality Grant totaling $195,000 for the period September 30, 1996 through August 29, 1997 for the first year of a project to improve environmental quality in Kuigpagmiut's constituent villages.

Based on a July 19, 1996 application, Kuigpagmiut received an EPA grant for $75,000 for the period October 1, 1996 through September 30, 2000 for essentially the same purposes outlined in Kuigpagmiut's ANA Environmental Quality grant application. In 1997, EPA made an additional award for the remainder of the project. ANA Br. at 11; Kuigpagmiut Ex. 2, Tab 7 at 27 and Tab 8 at 30. Although the ANA and EPA grants had related purposes, the ANA grant included additional activities and personnel beyond that provided in the EPA award. ANA Br. at 11; Kuigpagmiut Ex. 2, Tab 4 at 18, 41.

The basic premise of Kuigpagmiut's position is that the EPA and ANA grants are designed to accomplish essentially the same objectives, and reclassification of costs from the EPA grant to the ANA grant, covering September 30, 1996 through August 27, 1997, would be appropriate because Kuigpagmiut had not drawn down any funding under the EPA grant in 1996. Consequently, Kuigpagmiut claimed that expenditures incurred and charged to its 1996 EPA grant can be considered as expenditures under the ANA Environmental Quality Grant and applied to offset the disallowed costs.

Kuigpagmiut noted specifically that in 1996 it incurred $12,235 in expenses under the EPA grant, but did not draw down any EPA grant funds during that year. Kuigpagmiut noted that "the majority" of the costs were attributable to travel, fringe benefits, consultant and telephone costs incurred for the EPA grant director, who was also the ANA grant director. Kuigpagmiut's reasoning was that since it had not drawn down EPA funding for these expenses, it was free to reallocate the expenses to the ANA grant. Kuigpagmiut Br. at 15-16. Subsequently, Kuigpagmiut indicated that in --

1997 . . . [it] booked too much of the program expenses to the . . . [EPA] grant and not enough to the . . . ANA . . . grant just as it did in 1996. This is apparent as the ANA . . . grant has a deferred revenue of $33,903, ($8,787 + $25,116), and the . . . [EPA grant] has a receivable $53,086. This results in a net receivable of $19,183. The two grants are for one program with

identical objectives as illustrated in the Appeals Brief at 13-15.

Kuigpagmiut Supplement at 3.

Kuigpagmiut later reiterated that these two grants were for the same purpose. Kuigpagmiut indicated that in 1996 it reported costs of $13,757 for the EPA grant, as well as $24,344 for the ANA grant, but drew down $52,386 from ANA only. Kuigpagmiut noted that if it had recorded all of the costs of its environmental program under the ANA grant in 1996, all of the ANA funding receipts would have been expended by 1996 and thus before the close of the grant period. Kuigpagmiut contended that it was simply trying to correct its 1996 financial statements and grant reports. Kuigpagmiut Further Response at 2-3.

ANA asserted that for the period covered by the audit for 1996, Kuigpagmiut allocated costs between ANA and EPA grants as directed by OMB Circular A-122, Attachment A, 4.a., that is, to each grant program based on the benefits received. ANA pointed out that the auditors did not question Kuigpagmiut's allocation. ANA Br. at 11.

ANA argued that Kuigpagmiut's proposed reallocation of expenditures would now lead to Kuigpagmiut recovering the same costs under both grants and would therefore result in funds appropriated for ANA for 1996 being applied to the costs incurred for the EPA grant in violation of 31 U.S.C. 1301(a), which provides:

Appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made except as otherwise provided by law.

ANA further argued that, in any event, two of the cost components involved in this issue could not be claimed as direct costs because they were part of the 1996 Agreement: $735 in Travel Costs which would have been part of the Travel & Per Diem - Staff Travel and Training ($23,800) in the 1996 Agreement and $191 for telephone costs which would have fallen under the $7,200 for Telephone listed in the 1996 Agreement. ANA Br. at 9.

We are not persuaded that there is a basis for costs claimed under the EPA grant as offset to the disallowance. Kuigpagmiut's position affects funds of another federal agency, here EPA. Regardless of whether Kuigpagmiut drew down any EPA grant funds in 1996, we do not understand how Kuigpagmiut can currently contend that the 1996 EPA expenditure is still unresolved. Rather, the record indicates that EPA funds were ultimately drawn down and applied to this expenditure after 1996. Kuigpagmiut Br. at 15, n.2. Thus, were ANA simply to pay this charge, Kuigpagmiut would have received both ANA and EPA funding covering these costs. That would be an example of the double recovery which concerns ANA in this case. ANA funding may not be applied to costs charged to a federal grant from another agency.

Moreover, to the extent that Kuigpagmiut here argued that it is prepared to withdraw its claim for these same costs from its EPA grant and repay EPA for any withdrawn claim, it must first complete these transactions before ANA need consider whether the same costs were fully allocable and could now be allowable under the ANA Environmental Quality Grant and thus serve as an offset for this disallowance. We also agree with ANA that those costs claimed under the EPA grant that were treated under Kuigpagmiut's Agreement as indirect costs in determining the final rate for 1996 may not now be claimed as direct costs.

3. The proposed shifting of the $346 expenditure from the Environmental Quality Grant to the first Economic Development Grant

At issue is a $346 expenditure for computer equipment transportation which Kuigpagmiut charged to the first Environmental Quality Grant (see Kuigpagmiut Ex. 7 at 3) but which Kuigpagmiut asserted here should have been considered as an expenditure under its first Economic Development Grant. ANA asserted that this was not a new expenditure, and that there was not a disallowance taken involving this cost. ANA noted that Kuigpagmiut had discovered this alleged error well after the disallowance was taken. ANA argued that Kuigpagmiut had been compensated for this expense as a 1996 Environmental Quality Grant expenditure. Thus, now allowing Kuigpagmiut reimbursement for this expenditure under the first Economic Development Grant following its reimbursement under the Environmental Quality Grant would constitute a double recovery. ANA suggested that the only way the funds could be reclassified is if they are first returned to ANA. ANA Br. at 2-3; ANA Supplement to Brief at 1-2.

Kuigpagmiut questioned the process established by ANA to correct what it described as a manifest error. Kuigpagmiut said it could not understand why a physical repayment was necessary to effect this correction as, in its opinion, it was clear that costs which should have been charged to the Economic Development Grant were mistakenly charged to the Environmental Quality Grant. Kuigpagmiut Further Response at 7-8.

ANA's position is reasonable, even if not as clearly articulated as we might wish. The disallowance for the Environmental Quality grant was calculated by subtracting total allowable costs previously reported (including the $346) from the total funds received. Reducing the amount of allowable expenditures would increase the disallowance, rather than reduce it. While it would be preferable to have the cost charged to the correct grant, if indeed it was claimed incorrectly earlier, no benefit would accrue to Kuigpagmiut by virtue of this.

Conclusion

Based on the preceding analysis, we sustain the remaining disputed disallowance of $18,117.

JUDGE
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Judith A. Ballard

Cecilia Sparks Ford

Donald F. Garrett
Presiding Board Member

FOOTNOTES
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1. These two conceded items were cash on hand in Kuigpagmiut's General Fund on December 31, 1997 ($4,033), which Kuigpagmiut had proposed to offset against the disallowance (Kuigpagmiut Supplement to Brief (Kuigpagmiut Supplement)at 2-3), and travel expenses for a Tribal Consultant incurred in 1996 ($960).

2. These three individual components of the disallowances totaled $23,735. Apparently, ANA then offset the $622 in additional allowable costs from the first Economic Development Grant against the $23,735 to arrive at $23,112. As noted above, on appeal Kuigpagmiut conceded $4,993 of disallowed costs.

3. Kuigpagmiut contended that it was simply seeking to have costs reclassified that were improperly classified initially. According to Kuigpagmiut, the improper classification resulted in an over-recovery of indirect costs and an under-reporting of direct costs in 1996.

4. Moreover, as previously noted, Kuigpagmiut also alleged that a mathematical error was made in totalling the amount of travel and per diem costs that were directly related to the second Economic Development grant. ANA should review its records and reduce the disallowance to the extent that it finds that the amount of such travel and per diem costs was understated.

CASE | DECISION | ANALYSIS | JUDGE | FOOTNOTES