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    1. Once certified funds are provided can a budget agency withdraw the funds at any time for any reason? 2. Initially, I included 52.232-18 subject to availability of funds. Upon receiving the certified funds I removed this clause and let all interested parties know funds were certified, was this improper?


    Answer

    Let's start with your first question: Once certified funds are provided can a budget agency withdraw the funds at any time for any reason?
     
    Here is what is says in the DoD Financial Management Regulation (Volume 3, Chapter 15) regarding commitment of funds:
     
    "150202. Commitments A.  A commitment is an administrative reservation of funds based upon firm procurement requests, orders, directives, and equivalent instruments. Since an obligation equal to or less than the commitment may be incurred without further recourse to an authorizing official, commitments are required for some appropriations (see subparagraph 150202.C) and are permissible for others. A commitment, when recorded in the accounting records, reduces the allotment's available fund balance. A commitment document must be signed by a person authorized to reserve funds; i.e., the official responsible for administrative control of funds for the affected subdivision of the appropriation. This helps ensure that the subsequent entry of an obligation will not exceed available
    funds."
     
    The whole point is to "reserve" funds for whatever the particular effort at hand.  That way, that money could not be accidentally used/applied to another effort, thus creating an anti-deficiency situation.  Now - it is certainly possible (not highly probable) to have funds that were committed on an official, certified commitment document and then have those funded "de-committed" without telling the Contracting Officer.  That would be a foul by the Budget personnel involved here.  It is there job to make sure no changes have been made - certainly where they have provided a commitment document to a Contracting Officer with the official reservation of funds.
     
    Now on to your second question:  Initially, I included 52.232-18 subject to availability of funds. Upon receiving the certified funds I removed this clause and let all interested parties know funds were certified, was this improper?
     
    So - from a certification of funds perspective - there was nothing improper to tell everyone that funds have been set aside (committed) for an effort once a commitment document was in the Contracting Officer's hands and to remove the 52.232-18 clause from the solicitation. Like I said above - that is the whole point of the commitment document.  It provides notice to everyone - especially the Contracting Officer that they have money set aside for them to obligate.
     
    Lastly, based upon your background information, there appears to be a lack of stable requirements that would allow for a sum certain amount of funds to be "reserved" for the solicitation.  If the "Civil Engineering adds work to a project, but delivers revised estimates, drawings, and addendums to the SOW near the close date of the solicitation" then how can the amount of money "reserved" not require adjustment.  So, it is no wonder why they (Civil Engineering) want a new estimate of funds needed.  But, if they "pull" the funds, the Contracting Officer should cancel the solicitation due to lack of funds.
     
    The best solution appears to be more coordination of the solicitation requirement and the funds necessary before issuing the solicitation.  Then, if an adjustment is required, make all necessary adjustments (including funding) before sending out an amendment to the solicitation.

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