Advocacy Performance Oversight Hearing: The Office of Contracting and Procurement

 Warren Corprew, Director of Business Planning and Analysis At SOME

Good afternoon, Chairperson Robert White, Jr., and members of the Committee. My name is Warren Corprew, and I am Director of Business Planning and Analysis at SOME, Inc. (often called So Others Might Eat). Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony on the FY2021 Performance of the Office on Contracting and Procurement (OCP).

SOME is active in an ad hoc coalition of non-profit District service providers, the Coalition for Nonprofit Equity, that is focused on promoting fairness in reimbursement of indirect costs. We are pleased to report on tentative progress toward that long-term goal, and we thank the Chair, the Committee, and Committee staff, and OCP leadership, for understanding the import of our concerns and for engaging constructively with us. We endorse the testimony of Lori Kaplan and other members of the Coalition.

The Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Support Act directs OCP to provide an analysis to the Mayor and Council by April 1, 2021, on how much federal funding the District government has retained on federal contracts and grants implemented by nonprofits. The analysis will (1) review grant and contract terms between the government and nonprofits, (2) produce a table of indirect costs associated with federal grants and contracts, with amounts of funding not passed through to implementing nonprofits, and (3) offer improvements.

Unfortunately, as many nonprofits know, the District has not been fully and consistently “passing-through” indirect-cost funds to nonprofits providing services, as required by federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance. The upcoming OCP analysis will not only identify the extent to which nonprofits have been shortchanged on federal grants and contracts, but should also provide a strong starting point to create or update regulations, policy, and perhaps most importantly, training for contract officers, monitors, and administrators. This $200,000 analysis should be able to clarify the District government’s current practices, and it should result in process improvements that ensure that indirect costs are properly and timely passed through on future federal contracts and grants. 

Further, pursuant to the mandate of the Nonprofit Fair Compensation Act of 2020 (A23-0565), we look forward to changes in the contracting process, starting in FY2022, in which the District will offer opportunities for nonprofits to develop their indirect-cost rate and use that rate in contract negotiations. This phased-in process, which increases in the contract and grant amount over several fiscal years, will slowly begin to capture indirect-cost rates in all contracts negotiated between nonprofits and the District government. The nonprofit sector remains ready to work with OCP to effectively implement systemic changes to the contracting process.