(a)Informal dispute resolution. Whenever practicable, DOE shall attempt to resolve informally any dispute over the award or administration of financial assistance. Informal resolution, including resolution through an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, shall be preferred over formal procedures, to the extent practicable.
(b)Alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Before issuing a final determination in any dispute in which informal resolution has not been achieved, the Contracting Officer shall suggest that the other party consider the use of voluntary consensual methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation. The DOE dispute resolution specialist is available to provide assistance for such disputes, as are trained mediators of other federal agencies. ADR may be used at any stage of a dispute.
(c)Final determination. Whenever a dispute is not resolved informally or through an alternative dispute resolution process, DOE shall mail (by certified mail) a brief written determination signed by a Contracting Officer, setting forth DOE's final disposition of such dispute. Such determination shall contain the following information:
(1) A summary of the dispute, including a statement of the issues and of the positions taken by the Department and the party or parties to the dispute; and
(2) The factual, legal and, if appropriate, policy reasons for DOE's disposition of the dispute.
(d)Right of appeal. Except as provided in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the final determination under paragraph (c) of this section may be appealed to the cognizant Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) for either DOE or the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The mailing address for the DOE SPE is Office of Procurement and Assistance Management, 1000 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20585. The mailing address for the NNSA SPE is Office of Acquisition and Supply Management, 1000 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20585.
(e)Effect of appeal. The filing of an appeal with the SPE shall not stay any determination or action taken by DOE which is the subject of the appeal. Consistent with its obligation to protect the interests of the Federal Government, DOE may take such authorized actions as may be necessary to preserve the status quo pending decision by the SPE, or to preserve its ability to provide relief in the event the SPE decides in favor of the appellant.
(f)Review on appeal.
(1) The SPE shall have no jurisdiction to review
(i) Any preaward dispute (except as provided in paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of this section), including use of any special restrictive condition pursuant to § 600.114, § 600.212, or § 600.304;
(iii) DOE denial of a request for a budget revision or other change in the approved project under § 600.125, § 600.127, § 600.222, § 600.230, § 600.315, or § 600.317 of this part or under another term or condition of the award;
(v) Any DOE decision about an action requiring prior DOE approval under § 600.144, § 600.236, or § 600.331 of this part or under another term or condition of the award;
(2) In addition to any right of appeal established by program rule, or by the terms and conditions (not inconsistent with paragraph (f)(1) of this section) of an award, the Board shall have jurisdiction to review:
(i) A DOE determination that the recipient has failed to comply with the applicable requirements of this part, the program statute or rules, or other terms and conditions of the award;
(ii) A DOE decision not to make a continuation award based on any of the determinations described in paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section;
(iii) Termination of an award for cause, in whole or in part, by DOE;
(iv) A DOE determination that an award is void or invalid;
(v) The application by DOE of an indirect cost rate; and
(vi) DOE disallowance of costs.
(3) In reviewing disputes authorized under paragraph (f)(2) of this section, the Board shall be bound by the applicable law, statutes, and rules, including the requirements of this part, and by the terms and conditions of the award.
(4) The decision of the Board shall be the final decision of the Department.