32 CFR § 22.815 - Claims, disputes, and appeals.

§ 22.815 Claims, disputes, and appeals.

(a) Award terms. Grants officers shall include in grants and cooperative agreements a term or condition that incorporates the procedures of this section for:

(1) Processing recipient claims and disputes.

(2) Deciding appeals of grants officers' decisions.

(b) Submission of claims -

(1) Recipient claims. If a recipient wishes to submit a claim arising out of or relating to a grant or cooperative agreement, the grants officer shall inform the recipient that the claim must:

(i) Be submitted in writing to the grants officer for decision;

(ii) Specify the nature and basis for the relief requested; and

(iii) Include all data that supports the claim.

(2) DoD Component claims. Claims by a DoD Component shall be the subject of a written decision by a grants officer.

(c) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) -

(1) Policy. DoD policy is to try to resolve all issues concerning grants and cooperative agreements by mutual agreement at the grants officer's level. DoD Components therefore are encouraged to use ADR procedures to the maximum extent practicable. ADR procedures are any voluntary means (e.g., mini-trials or mediation) used to resolve issues in controversy without resorting to formal administrative appeals (see paragraph (e) of this section) or to litigation.

(2) Procedures.

(i) The ADR procedures or techniques to be used may either be agreed upon by the Government and the recipient in advance (e.g., when agreeing on the terms and conditions of the grant or cooperative agreement), or may be agreed upon at the time the parties determine to use ADR procedures.

(ii) If a grants officer and a recipient are not able to resolve an issue through unassisted negotiations, the grants officer shall encourage the recipient to enter into ADR procedures. ADR procedures may be used prior to submission of a recipient's claim or at any time prior to the Grant Appeal Authority's decision on a recipient's appeal (see paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section).

(d) Grants officer decisions.

(1) Within 60 calendar days of receipt of a written claim, the grants officer shall either:

(i) Prepare a written decision, which shall include the reasons for the decision; shall identify all relevant data on which the decision is based; shall identify the cognizant Grant Appeal Authority and give his or her mailing address; and shall be included in the award file; or

(ii) Notify the recipient of a specific date when he or she will render a written decision, if more time is required to do so. The notice shall inform the recipient of the reason for delaying the decision (e.g., the complexity of the claim, a need for more time to complete ADR procedures, or a need for the recipient to provide additional information to support the claim).

(2) The decision of the grants officer shall be final, unless the recipient decides to appeal. If a recipient decides to appeal a grants officer's decision, the grants officer shall encourage the recipient to enter into ADR procedures, as described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(e) Formal administrative appeals -

(1) Grant appeal authorities. Each DoD Component that awards grants or cooperative agreements shall establish one or more Grant Appeal Authorities to decide formal, administrative appeals in accordance with paragraph (e)(3) of this section. Each Grant Appeal Authority shall be either:

(i) An individual at a grade level in the Senior Executive Service, if civilian, or at the rank of Flag or General Officer, if military; or

(ii) A board chaired by such an individual.

(2) Right of appeal. A recipient has the right to appeal a grants officer's decision to the Grant Appeal Authority (but note that ADR procedures, as described in paragraph (c) of this section, are the preferred means for resolving any appeal).

(3) Appeal procedures -

(i) Notice of appeal. A recipient may appeal a decision of the grants officer within 90 calendar days of receiving that decision, by filing a written notice of appeal to the Grant Appeal Authority and to the grants officer. If a recipient elects to use an ADR procedure, the recipient is permitted an additional 60 calendar days to file the written notice of appeal to the Grant Appeal Authority and grants officer.

(ii) Appeal file. Within 30 calendar days of receiving the notice of appeal, the grants officer shall forward to the Grant Appeal Authority and the recipient the appeal file, which shall include copies of all documents relevant to the appeal. The recipient may supplement the file with additional documents it deems relevant. Either the grants officer or the recipient may supplement the file with a memorandum in support of its position. The Grant Appeal Authority may request additional information from either the grants officer or the recipient.

(iii) Decision. The appeal shall be decided solely on the basis of the written record, unless the Grant Appeal Authority decides to conduct fact-finding procedures or an oral hearing on the appeal. Any fact-finding or hearing shall be conducted using procedures that the Grant Appeal Authority deems appropriate.

(f) Representation. A recipient may be represented by counsel or any other designated representative in any claim, appeal, or ADR proceeding brought pursuant to this section, as long as the representative is not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation from appearing before the DoD Component concerned.

(g) Non-exclusivity of remedies. Nothing in this section is intended to limit a recipient's right to any remedy under the law.