II. Achievement of Operational Status

Operational status for grant projects refers to the point at which a project, has been fully constructed and is ready to begin its intended function or operation. In the context of grant projects, achieving operational status means that the project has been implemented, and all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that it can operate as intended. This may include development of policies and procedures to ensure that the project is fully functional and meets all applicable standards and requirements and hiring of staff. Achieving operational status is often a critical milestone in the life cycle of a grant project, as it marks the transition from construction to operation and maintenance.

The expectation for accepting an award from OCJP is that the subrecipient will have in place a system that is adequate for carrying out the administrative/financial, as well as the programmatic aspects of the grant award.  This includes good communication between the board of directors (if applicable), administrative/financial staff and the programmatic staff.  Management should pay particular attention to the budget and expenditure process of the grant award.  The subrecipient management devotes a great deal of thought to the purpose of the grant, therefore, everyone who works within the grant must be familiar with the fiscal and programmatic aspects of the OCJP Administrative Manual so that the project and funding are managed appropriately.

The subrecipient must establish and maintain program records to ensure that the direct and subcontracted project activities are in compliance with the approved Project Narrative/Logic Model.  Such records must be readily available for review.

  1. The subrecipient must establish and maintain fiscal controls and procedures that assure that federal and/or local funds available for the grant program are properly disbursed.
  2. Funds awarded may be expended only for activities and purposes set forth in the approved Project Narrative/Logic Model and budget within the approved grant period.  (The "grant period" is that period of time listed in the grant contract.)
  3. Grant funds must be obligated and expended prior to the termination date of the grant award period.  Obligated funds are those funds for which goods or services have been encumbered, such as a valid purchase order or requisition to cover the cost of purchasing an authorized item on or after the begin date.  These items or services must have been received and there must be an obligation to pay by the end date of the award period.
  4.  Requirement to report actual or imminent breach of personally identifiable information (PII):  The sub-recipient must have written procedures in place to respond in the event of an actual or imminent breach if the sub-recipient 1) creates, collects, uses, processes, stores, maintains, disseminates, discloses, or disposes of personally identifiable information (PII) or 2) uses or operates a Grant Management system, i.e. NCAtrak. The recipient's breach procedures must include a requirement to report actual or imminent breach of PII to an OCJP Program Manager no later than 24 hours after an occurrence of an actual breach, or the detection of an imminent breach.

Each state or federally funded project not achieving operational status within sixty (60) days of the beginning date of the grant period listed in the grant contract must write a letter or email to the Program Manager assigned to the subrecipient and send to the Department of Finance and Administration, Office of Criminal Justice Programs, describing steps taken to initiate the project, reasons for delay, and the projected operational date.  If operational status is not achieved within ninety (90) days of the beginning date of the grant period, the subrecipient must submit a second letter or email explaining the additional delay in implementation. The Office of Criminal Justice Programs may, after reviewing the circumstances, elect to cancel the project and redistribute funds.

This is the individual who will be in direct operational charge of the project. The agency’s management will make it explicit to the selected Project Director what his/her duties will entail, as Project Director. These responsibilities include ensuring that the project is implemented as described in the Project Narrative/ Logic Model, and assuming oversight responsibility for the direct and subcontracted services provided.  The Project Director must ensure that all grant requirements are completed and documented within the specified deadlines as provided by OCJP through the Administrative Manual or through correspondences from OCJP staff.

The Project Director should be a person who combines knowledge and experience in the project area with ability in administration and supervision of personnel.  He/she shares responsibility with the financial office for seeing that all expenditures are within the approved budget and ensures that all reporting requirements are met.  It is the responsibility of the Project Director to assure that any subrecipient personnel working within the grant-funded project receive copies of all information distributed from the Office of Criminal Justice Programs, including a copy of the executed current contract.  All new Project Directors are responsible for completing Civil Rights Compliance Training within 90 days of start date as well as providing periodic training for staff.

The Project Director is responsible for ensuring that client files are maintained on each individual receiving direct or subcontracted services under this grant.  If multiple funding sources support a single function (i.e. shelter), the Project Director must be able to delineate which funding source(s) support which service(s) the individual received. The file on each individual should minimally include identifying information about the individual served, services provided and dates of service(s).

The individual selected as Project Director cannot be the same person who serves as Authorized Official or Financial Director for the project.  The Office of Criminal Justice Programs must be notified in writing within ten (10) days in the event of a change in Project Director.

For minimum client file requirements, please reference Chapter XX. Retention and Access to Records.

This is the person who is responsible for fiscal matters relating to the grant-funded project and is ultimately in charge of accounting, management of funds, verification of expenditures, and grant financial reports. The Financial Director must establish and maintain grant accounting systems and financial records to accurately account for funds awarded to them.  The Financial Director must be aware of acceptable accounting practices and must possess the fiscal skills necessary to adhere to the fiscal requirements of the grant, as specified in Chapter III – Financial Requirements.

The Financial Director must be familiar with the OCJP Grants Manual and all of the responsibilities that correspond with the fiscal function of OCJP grants. The Office of Criminal Justice Programs must be notified in writing within ten (10) days in the event there is a change in Financial Director.

This is the individual who is authorized to enter into binding commitments on behalf of the Authorizing Agency. This is the person who will sign the contract between your organization and the state.

1. State and local government agencies: Authorized Officials must be Mayors, City Managers, County Executives/Mayors, District Attorneys, or State Commissioners. The Office of Criminal Justice Programs must be notified in writing within ten (10) days in the event of a change in Authorized Official.

2. Non-profit agencies: The Authorized Official must be the President/Chairperson of the Board of Directors who will be signing the grant on behalf of the agency’s governing board. As the legal contracting entity and person ultimately responsible for its overall operation, the board President/Chairperson, is the board representative of the governing board financially liable for the service program described in the legal agreement. The Office of Criminal Justice Programs must be notified in writing within ten (10) days in the event of a change in President/Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization.

In rare cases, OCJP will accept that an Authorized Official has delegated signatory authority for the signing of legal binding contracts, special conditions, certifications, and other grant forms. The designee is the person granted authorization to sign the Authorized Official's signature. The designee is only valid for the term of current official or Board Chair, unless otherwise stated in a government charter/resolution or nonprofit bylaws.

Before a designee can remit any signed documents, a completed Signature Authorization Packet must be received and accepted by OCJP. This packet must include, board minutes or government charter/resolution or nonprofit bylaws that clearly define that the Board/Governing Body has selected the proposed designee, that it is understood that the designee is signing legal documents on behalf of the agency and binding the agency by signature to the documents signed and a copy of the policies and procedures that pertain to delegating signatory authority.  A new packet must be completed once a new Authorized Official takes office unless the designation is made by City or County charter/resolution or nonprofit bylaws.

A designee must sign documents for OCJP with the authorized official’s name and the designee’s initials, unless otherwise determined. When submitting the Signature Authorization Packet for approval by OCJP, OCJP will need a document on agency letterhead that provides the following information:

·         Printed Name and Title of the Authorized Official

·         Printed Name and Title of the Designee

·         Description of what documents the Designee is authorized to sign

·         Duration of designation (cannot exceed the tenure of the Authorized Official, unless designated in a governmental charter/resolution.

·         Authorized Official’s signature

·         Designee’s signature as the Authorized Official as it will appear on documents signed for OCJP (Authorized official’s name and designee’s initials).

If the designation is made in a government charter/resolution, or is in a nonprofit’s bylaws, then the agency must provide that document. OCJP will then accept signatures for legal documents as described in the charter/resolution/bylaws.

See OCJP Appendix M– Non-Profit Organizations and the Governing Board of Director’s Responsibilities and the  Office of Tennessee Attorney General's Nonprofit Guidebook.

The governing board of non-profit organizations is the legal contracting entity and ultimately is responsible for its overall operation.  It is the governing board’s responsibility to act as stewards, accountable to the state’s government that granted the organization their respective charters, accountable to the federal government that granted tax-exempt status, and ultimately accountable to the public itself. See OCJP Appendix M– Non-Profit Organizations and the Governing Board of Director’s Responsibilities.

All non-profit board members of agencies funded by the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP) are required to complete the Resource Sharing Project E-Learning Course for Board of Directors found at:  http://www.resourcesharingproject.org/e-learning-course-boards-directors.  New board members must complete this training within three months of joining the board. A certificate of completion for each board member must be kept in the grant file.

Subrecipients must provide written notification to OCJP within ten (10) days from the date of occurrence of any of the following:

1.       Any change of address for Authorized Official, Project Director, or Financial Director for the grant-funded project.

2.       Any lawsuit filed against an OCJP funded project. (Note: Notification of EEOC claims or lawsuits claiming discrimination must follow the procedure outlined in Chapter XXII: Civil Rights.)

3.       Any cessation or interruption of implementation of project activities arising from litigation, loss of staff, or programmatic restructuring

4.       Change in project site or location

5.       Change in or temporary absence of the Project Director or Financial Director

6.       Change in Authorized Official.

7.       Change in the name of the person responsible for reporting civil rights findings of discrimination

8.       Addition of equipment and/or Sensitive Minor Equipment to project budget not previously identified (Note: Sensitive Minor Equipment requires prior approval from OCJP, see Chapter XIV: Allowable Costs and Chapter XV: Unallowable Costs)

9.       Change in scope of programmatic activities or purpose of project

10.    Change in e-mail address of Project Director, Financial Director, Authorized Official or any personnel funded by this grant.

11.    Change in grant funded personnel positions. Temporary staff changes should also be reported.

12.    Documentation of current registration in the US Federal Governments System for Award Management (SAM).

13.    Vacancies in all grant funded positions MUST be reported in writing (e- mail, fax, or mail) to OCJP within 10 days of the vacancy.  All grant funded vacant positions MUST be filled within 45 days of the vacancy.  Failure to abide by this requirement may result in the agency losing the position(s) in question.  If the position(s) is/are not filled within 45 days, the subrecipient must submit a letter to OCJP justifying the delay in filling the position and explaining how the program is providing services while the position is vacant.  After 45 days OCJP must receive a monthly report of this information until the position is filled. Once the vacant position(s) is filled the subrecipient agency MUST notify OCJP in writing within 10 days of the following information as it pertains to the new employee(s):

a.       Position Title

b.       Name of Employee

c.        Date Hired

d.       Salary

e.       Percent of time allotted to the grant funded project

f.         Job Description

PLEASE NOTE: Agencies must use the Personnel Spreadsheet to notify OCJP of staff on the grant(s), and any staffing changes made throughout the life of the project. You are required to submit this form to your OCJP program manager in accordance with the above staff notification requirements.

14.    Receipt of any additional Federal Grant funds to be used for a currently funded OCJP project. Agencies may utilize the Other Funds Form

15.    Any change in the subrecipient’s banking information that is being used for direct deposit payment of OCJP grant funds must be reported.  The subrecipient must submit a completed original (not a copy) Automated Clearing House (ACH) form directly to:

Attn:  Supplier Maintenance
21st Floor WRS Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L Parks Ave
Nashville, TN 37243

See Appendix G ACH Form.

16.    In the event of a formal allegation of civil rights discrimination, including those related to employment, OCJP subrecipients must immediately notify the OCJP Civil Rights Coordinator by completing the Appendix P: Civil Rights Complaint Notification form within forty-five (45) days.  Subrecipients must report, in writing, the status of any on-going investigations to OCJP. A subrecipient may request exemption or modification of this requirement by submitting a written request to the OCJP Civil Rights Coordinator.

17.    In the event a federal or state court or a federal or state administrative agency makes an adverse finding of discrimination against a subrecipient agency, after a due-process hearing, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, or disability the subrecipient agency must send a copy of the finding to OCJP within forty-five (45) days.


All OCJP funded agencies providing direct services are required to establish a written grievance process in their policies and procedures which provides a means through which service recipients may present grievances about the operation of the services program.  Clients should receive a copy of the grievance procedure and this should be documented in the client file.

These policy requirements are IN ADDITION to the required process for responding to unlawful discrimination (see Chapter XII. Civil Rights) AND the required posting of fraud, waste, and abuse notifications (see Chapter I. Pre-Award Requirements, Section E. Part 5. Public Accountability

Grievances filed in accordance with an agency’s policy should be investigated and escalated in a timely fashion. The agency’s policy should establish a reasonable maximum threshold that a complaint will be open without resolution to assure that all grievances can be investigated thoroughly and resolved expeditiously. When a response to a grievance is furnished by any person other than an agency’s board or government agency’s appointing authority there should be a process of appeal that terminates with those entities.

A copy of each grievance filed should be maintained by the agency. A written response should be provided to the individual who filed each grievance

At a minimum all grievance policies shall include:

1)      The individual or process for submitting a grievance.

        a.       This process should not allow a grievance to be submitted to the individual that is the subject of the grievance.

2)      A reasonable period for investigating and responding to a grievance.

3)      The process for appeal if the response is furnished by any individual other than an agency’s board or appointing authority.

4)      A copy of the grievance and disposition must be maintained in writing in the individual’s file.


Pursuant to the Tennessee Family Violence Shelter Standards agencies who meet the standards of a “family violence shelter” the program policy regarding grievances shall require:

1)      Procedures which clearly describe the lines of decision-making for appeals.

2)      Appeals to be submitted in writing within 24 hours of the event.

3)      Response to an appeal at each level to be within 24 hours and in writing.

4)      A copy of the grievance, supportive information and disposition of the appeal must be maintained in the individual’s file.

Grievance Policy Example:

The [AGENCY] is a broad based regional organization providing a full complement of quality services to empower individuals and families to improve their quality of life through a dedicated caring staff.  It is a non-profit 501(3)(c) entity and has a variety of grant funding programs to provide services with a variety of private and public funded sources.  The public funding includes, but is not limited to, the TN Office of Criminal Justice (FVPSA) and [CITY].  Their grievance procedures are as follows:

If, for any reason you have a problem concerning the services you have received, you may follow

the procedure listed below to state your grievance.

1.       In writing, state your grievance for the [AGENCY] Director.  He/she will respond to your complaint within 24 hours.

2.       If his/her response does not meet your satisfaction, please submit your grievance in writing to the [AGENCY] Executive Director.  He/she will answer your grievance in writing within 24 hours of receiving notification of your complaint.

3.       If this response does not satisfy your complaint, you have the final recourse to submit to the [AGENCY] Board of Directors, [ADDRESS], a copy of your complaint.  The [AGENCY] Board of Directors will act according to its procedures for grievance within 24 hours.