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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

500.27 - Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreements with State and Local Units of Government

 Date: 6/28/10

 OPR:  Office of Policy and Analysis  

Instruction:  New Survey Manual chapter.

1.  Purpose.  This chapter outlines the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) policy and procedures for working with State or local governments pursuant to the provisions of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, 31 United States Code (U.S.C.) §6505, as implemented by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular Number (No.) A-97.

2.  Authorities.

 A.  The Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, 31 U.S.C. §6505.

B.  The OMB Circular No. A-97, Subject:  Rules and regulations permitting Federal agencies to provide specialized or technical services to State and local units of government under Title III of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968.

C.  43 U.S.C. §50b which authorizes the USGS, in carrying out work involving cooperation with any State, Territory, possession, or political subdivision thereof, to record obligations against accounts receivable from any such entities and credit amounts received from such entities to the USGS appropriation.

3.  Policy.  

A.  Pursuant to the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, the USGS may provide reimbursable specialized or technical services to States or local governments at the written request of a State or local government. 

B.  Because the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act requires Federal agencies to receive full reimbursement (salaries and all other identifiable direct and indirect costs) for providing specialized or technical services to States or local governments, the USGS will neither cost share nor match funds when the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act is used as the authority for an agreement with a State or local government.

C.  The USGS preferred business practice is to receive an advance before incurring costs under a reimbursable agreement.  However, if the State or local unit of government cannot provide an advance because of its own laws or policies, the USGS may enter into an Intergovernmental Cooperation Act agreement without receiving an advance.  If an advance is not going to be provided, 43 U.S.C. § 50 b should be included as an authority in the agreement in addition to 31 U.S.C. §6505.

D.  As required by OMB Circular No. A-97, the requesting State or local government agency must include a certification in the agreement that it cannot procure the services requested of the USGS reasonably and expeditiously through ordinary business channels.

4.  Scope.  The authority conferred in the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act is in addition to all other existing authorities possessed by the USGS with respect to furnishing services, whether on a reimbursable or non-reimbursable basis, to States and local units of government.  Consequently, the requirements and conditions pertaining to agreements under the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act are not applicable when a different authority is cited by the USGS on an agreement with a State or local unit of government.

5.  Definitions.  For purposes of this SM chapter, the following terms are defined using the definitions provided in 31 U.S.C. §6505 and OMB Circular No. A-97:

A.  State means any of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, or any agency or instrumentality of a State.

B.  Political subdivision or local government means a local unit of government, including specifically a county, municipality, city, town, township, or a school or other special district created by or pursuant to State law or combinations thereof. 

C.  Specialized or technical services mean statistical and other studies and compilations, development projects, technical tests and evaluations, technical information, training activities, surveys, reports, documents, and any other similar service functions which the USGS is especially equipped and authorized by law to perform.

6.  Type of Services which may be provided through an Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreement.  As stipulated by 31 U.S.C. §6505 and OMB Circular No. A-97, the types of specialized or technical services that may be provided through Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreements are:

 A.  Any existing statistical or other studies or compilations, results of technical tests and evaluations, technical information, surveys, reports, and documents, and any such materials which may be developed or prepared in the future to meet the needs of the Federal Government or to carry out the normal program responsibilities of the USGS.

B.  Preparation of statistical and other studies and compilations, technical tests and evaluations, technical information, surveys, reports, and documents, and assistance in the conduct of such activities and in the preparation of such materials, provided they are of a type similar to those which the USGS is authorized by law to conduct or prepare.

C.  Training of the type the USGS is authorized by law to conduct for Federal personnel or which is similar to such training.

D.  Technical aid in the preparation of proposals for development and other projects, for which the USGS provides grants-in-aid or other assistance, provided such aid primarily strengthens the ability of the recipient in developing its own capacity to prepare proposals.

E.  Technical information, data processing, communications, and personnel management systems services which the USGS normally provides for itself or others under existing authorities.

Should a USGS cost center receive a request for specialized or technical services which is not covered by the above sections 6.A through 6.E, which the cost center manager believes the USGS has the special competence to provide, the request should be submitted through the USGS managerial channels to the USGS Office of Policy and Analysis (OPA).  OPA will consult with the USGS Office of Budget and Performance and, if warranted, prepare a request through appropriate Departmental channels, to OMB for approval for the USGS to provide the requested services.

7.  Conditions Under Which Services May Be Provided.  As stipulated by OMB Circular No. A-97, specialized or technical services provided under the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act may be provided only under the following conditions:

A.  Stipulated services (6.A through 6.E above) will be provided only to the States, political subdivisions thereof, and combinations or associations of such governments or their agencies and instrumentalities.

B.  Stipulated services will be provided only upon the written request of a State or a political subdivision thereof. 

C.  Services will not be provided unless the USGS is providing similar services for its own use under the policies set forth in OMB Circular No. A-76, “Policies for acquiring commercial or industrial products and services for Government use.”  The requesting State or local government unit must certify that the services being requested of the USGS cannot be procured reasonably and expeditiously by the State or local government unit through its ordinary business channels.

D.  The USGS may not provide services if the requested services require any additions of staff or involve outlays for additional equipment or facilities solely for the purpose of providing such services, except where the costs thereof are charged to the user of such services.  Furthermore, the USGS may not make any staff additions which impede adherence to FTE employment ceilings established by OMB.

E.  Services will be provided only upon payment or provision for reimbursement to the USGS, by the State or local unit of government making the request.  In providing services, the USGS must receive 100 percent reimbursement for all incurred costs (salaries and all other identifiable direct and indirect costs). 

F.  Any payments or reimbursements received by the USGS for the costs of such services will be deposited to the credit of the USGS appropriation from which the costs of providing the services have been paid or are to be charged.

G.  In the event a request for service is denied, the USGS official denying the request will furnish the requesting entity a statement indicating the reasons for the denial.

8.  Content and Review of Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreements.  There is no mandatory form for an Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreement.  Figure 27-1 provides a two-page template that contains all the information required by the USGS and which may be provided to a State or local government unit requesting services from the USGS.

If an Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreement is submitted to the USGS in a format other than that provided in Figure 27-1, the agreement must be submitted to the USGS Office of Policy and Analysis or the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor for review prior to USGS approval of the agreement.  The required review ensures that the State or local government unit has included the required statutory certification and that the alternate format does not contain provisions that the USGS, as a Federal agency, cannot accept. 

9.  Authority to Approve Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreements.  Approval authority for Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreements is delegated in Appendix A of SM 205.13, Delegations of Authority to Enter into Agreements and to Accept Contributions. 

Figure 27-1

            /s/ Karen D. Baker                                                                    April 13, 2010
_____________________________________________                  _______________
Karen D. Baker                                                                                      Date
Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services


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