130.630 Dispute resolution procedures.§ 130.630 Dispute resolution procedures.
(a) Financial Disputes. (1) A recipient organization wishing to resolve a financial Dispute formally must submit a written statement describing the subject of the Dispute, together with any relevant documents or other evidence bearing on the Dispute, to the Grants Management Specialist, with copies to the Project Officer. The Grants Management Specialist shall respond in writing to the recipient organization within 30 calendar days of receipt of the descriptive statement.
(2) If the recipient organization receives an unfavorable decision from the Grants Management Specialist, it may file an appeal with the AA/SBDCs within 30 calendar days of issuance of the unfavorable decision. The AA/SBDCs shall respond in writing to the recipient organization within 15 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.
(3) If the recipient organization receives an unfavorable decision from the AA/SBDCs, it may make a final appeal to the SBA Grants and Cooperative Agreements Appeals Committee (the “Committee”) within 30 calendar days of the date of issuance of the AA/SBDCs' written decision. Copies of the appeal shall also be sent to the Grants Management Specialist and the Project Officer.
(4) Appeals must be in writing. Formal briefs and other technical forms of pleading are not required. Requests for a hearing will not be granted unless there are material facts substantially in dispute. Appeals must contain at least the following:
(i) Name and address of the recipient organization;
(ii) The SBA field office;
(iii) The Cooperative Agreement;
(iv) A statement of the grounds for appeal, with reasons why the appeal should be sustained;
(v) The specific relief desired on appeal; and
(vi) If a hearing is requested, a statement of the material facts which are substantially in dispute.
(5) The AA/SBDCs or the Committee may request from the SBDC or the District Office additional information or documentation at any stage in the proceedings.
(6) If a request for a hearing is granted, the Committee will provide the recipient organization with written instructions, and will afford the parties an opportunity to present their positions to the Committee.
(7) The Committee will reach a decision on the merits of the appeal within 30 days of the hearing date.
(8) The Chairperson, with advice from the Office of General Counsel, shall prepare and transmit a written final decision to the recipient organization with copies to the Grants Management Specialist and the Project Officer.
(9) Expedited Dispute appeal process. By an affirmative vote constituting a majority of its total membership, the Committee may shorten response times to attain final resolution of a Dispute before the issuance date of a new Cooperative Agreement. At any time within 120 days of the end of the budget period, the recipient organization may submit a written request to use an expedited process. If a Dispute affects refunding, the Committee must meet to consider the matter prior to the end of the budget period, provided that the recipient organization has supplied the Committee with all requested documentation.
(b) Programmatic (non-financial) Disputes. (1) If a programmatic Dispute is not resolved at the SBA District Office level, the recipient organization may request its submission to the next SBA administrative level having authority to review such matter. The Project Officer shall refer the Dispute in writing, including comments of the SBDC Director, within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request.
(2) If the programmatic Dispute is not resolved at an intermediate SBA administrative level within 15 calendar days of receipt thereof, it shall be forwarded, in writing, to the AA/SBDCs for final resolution. All comments of the SBDC Director must be included in any package forwarded to the AA/SBDCs.
(3) The AA/SBDCs shall transmit a final, written decision to the recipient organization, the SBDC Director, the SBA Project Officer and other appropriate SBA field office personnel within 30 calendar days of receipt of such documentation, unless an extension of time is mutually agreed upon by the recipient organization and the AA/SBDCs.