Competitive Selection of a One-Stop Operator and Various Entity Roles – Additional FAQ
- Can a Local Board issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Invitation for Bid (IFB) that does not include any funding?
No. A local workforce development board (WDB) (or State WDB, in the case of single-area states) cannot issue a request for proposal (RFP) or invitation for bid (IFB) that includes no funding, or only includes nominal funding. An RFP or IFB with no funding or nominal funding will restrict competition and will result in either no responses or a limited number of responses from entities already receiving Title I funds. Such an RFP or IFB would violate the prohibition on noncompetitive pricing practices under 2 CFR 200.319(a) and 29 CFR 97.36(c)(1)(iii).
- Can a fiscal agent bid to become a one-stop operator?
Yes, the same entity may be both designated as fiscal agent by the chief elected official (CEO) (or by the Governor, where the Governor serves as the local grant recipient for a local area) and bid for, and be selected by the local WDB (or State WDB, in single-area states) as, the OSO. In the case where the same entity functions as both the fiscal agent and as the OSO, the entity must enter a written agreement with the local WDB and the CEO clarifying how the entity will perform these functions consistent with the requirements of WIOA, of relevant OMB circulars, and of the State's conflicts of interest policies, as required by 20 CFR 679.430. If a Local WDB selects a fiscal agent as an OSO, the contract or legal instrument must clearly delineate the role and functions of the entity serving as OSO from those as fiscal agent to avoid conflicts of interest from the entity performing both roles.
- May a fiscal agent both procure (or otherwise have involvement with) a one-stop operator solicitation, and also bid on a one-stop operator contract?
No. The conflict of interest provisions outlined in TEGL No. 15-16 apply to all competitions to select an OSO. While in general, a local WDB can direct a fiscal agent to procure contracts, pursuant to 20 CFR 679.420(c) (1), a fiscal agent that has been directed to procure contracts for a OSO cannot also participate as a competitor (i.e., submit a bid or proposal) in the OSO competition. TEGL 15-16 requires that when a local WDB chooses to select an outside entity to conduct all or part of the one-stop operator competition, that the outside entity chosen must be an independent organization. A fiscal agent cannot be party to the development and drafting of a RFP/IFB if it intends to bid or submit a proposal to become the OSO.
- What are the roles of and functions of the chief elected official, local fiscal agent, the one-stop operator and the local WDB?
Chief Elected Official: The CEO (or Governor, where the Governor serves as the local grant recipient for a local area) may designate a fiscal agent to assist in the administration of grant funds. If a fiscal agent is designated, the CEO must ensure its roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The roles the CEO may designate to the fiscal agent generally include accounting and funds management functions, as listed in 20 CFR 679.420(b), rather than policy or service delivery (except that a fiscal agent may be a provider of youth workforce investment activities, pursuant to 20 CFR 681.400(a), as described more fully in TEGL No. 21-16).
Fiscal agents have no independent authority under WIOA beyond what is granted to them by the CEO, or by the specific, limited direction of the local WDB (or State WDB) under 20 CFR 679.420(c). Furthermore, the CEO always retains liability for misuse of grant funds. In addition, fiscal agents cannot represent the Local WDB in any legal proceedings, and cannot appeal or assume the liability responsibilities of the local WDB. At no time can a fiscal agent usurp or take over the duties or functions of the Local Board.
The OSO's role must, at a minimum, be to coordinate the service delivery of required one-stop partners and service providers, as set forth in 20 CFR 678.620(a). The OSO may also coordinate service providers or service delivery, and provide some services within a center or be the primary provider of services. The OSO is explicitly prohibited, in its role as OSO, from performing certain other functions, including particular functions related to developing and preparing a local plan, providing oversight over itself as OSO, managing or significantly participating in the OSO competition, selecting or terminating OSOs or providers of career services or youth services, negotiating local performance accountability measures, or developing or submitting a local WDB budget, as set forth in 20 CFR 678.620(b).
The many functions of the local WDB are set forth in WIOA sec. 107(d) and 20 CFR 679.370. These include, but are not limited to, hiring staff, developing the local plan; conducting workforce research and regional labor market analysis; convening stakeholders in the local workforce development system; leading efforts to engage with regional employers; developing career pathways in conjunction with representatives of secondary and postsecondary education programs; selecting providers of youth activities, training services, career services, and OSOs, and conducting oversight of activities and uses of funds in conjunction with the CEO. Separately, a local WDB can direct a fiscal agent to undertake the functions set forth in 20 CFR 679.420(c)â€”procuring contracts or obtaining written agreements, conducting financial monitoring of service providers, and ensuring an independent audit of all employment and training programsâ€”and can additionally determine, consistent with 20 CFR 681.400, that a fiscal agent will be the direct provider of some or all of the youth workforce investment activities.
- May the staff to the Local Board or the administrative entity both procure (or otherwise have involvement with) a one-stop operator solicitation and also bid on a one-stop operator contract?
No. The conflict of interest provisions outlined in TEGL No. 15-16 apply to all competitions to select an OSO. While in general, a local WDB can direct an administrative entity, staff to the local WBD, and/or fiscal agent to procure contracts, pursuant to 20 CFR 679.420(c)(1), none of these entities that have been directed to procure contracts for a OSO can participate as a competitor (i.e., submit a bid or proposal) in the OSO competition. EGL 15-16 requires that when a local WDB chooses to select an outside entity to conduct all or part of the one-stop operator competition, that the outside entity chosen must be an independent organization. An administrative entity, staff to the local board, and/or fiscal agent cannot be party to the development and drafting of a RFP/IFB if it intends to bid or submit a proposal to become the OSO. It is strongly encouraged that the approval of any of the entities as an OSO be obtained from the CEO. Furthermore, in order to be eligible to bid on the OSO contract, the staff or administrative entity must be among the type of eligible entities to serve as OSOs as identified in 20 CFR 678.600(c).