In order to deploy Recovery Act funds quickly with the requisite oversight, EERE staff has to use their knowledge of an array of Federal financial assistance rules—and fast. As Recovery Act projects have commenced, EERE staff had to be able to answer new questions about how these funds can be used. Project Officers must balance the need for flexibility in managing projects with regulations in place to ensure that Federal funds are spent properly.
An audit of one state weatherization program raised questions about certain expenses for health and safety measures. Specifically, the auditor questioned whether the combined cost of energy saving measures and health and safety measures could exceed pre-established cost guidance. If the answer was no, then the state would have to revise their plans and amend at least 12 sub-recipient agreements.
To assist the recipient, the Project Officer referred to the weatherization program regulations and the state plan, and read the provisions in the requirements for health and safety costs. Working with the project team, DOE’s Office of the General Council confirmed that the health and safety expenses were acceptable. As a result, the project was able to continue its work, confident that it was not only promoting local jobs and improving the environment, but meeting its regulatory requirements.