No single issue is more critical to the proper administration of an SAA’s job performance than the management of the award and the monitoring of federal funds to eligible grantees. If properly executed, the agency will thrive, programs will flourish and best practices will advance. If not, the agency will suffer, not only in reputation, but also in the ultimate denial of sufficient funds to promote positive programs and criminal justice advances in the state. States such as Maryland prepare a statewide Crime Control & Prevention Plan for the Governor every three years. Such plans serves as roadmaps for specific steps to take to improve public safety and guides decisions regarding the allocation of grant funds, and articulates the reasons for funding decisions.
More significant than the selection of any one particular model of administration is the necessity to have an effective and wholly legal process in place. For example, whether a state chooses to use the advisory board model in all instances – whether federally required or not – is of lesser importance than is the need to ensure that a comprehensive method has been established to assure that all legal and accounting requirements are met. You as the SAA owe this not only to sub-grantees, but also to your state’s criminal justice effort as a whole.
Many states divide their criminal justice planning staff programmatically, while others utilize a model with grant specialists handling all types of grants. For example, in states using the first model, all juvenile grants are handled by individuals assigned to a juvenile section or unit; with the second structure, juvenile grants, victims’ grants, drug grants and state funded grants are administered by a grant team or section, leaving programmatic and policy issues to others. Still others utilize a third structure, organizing staff geographically so a single staff member oversees all grants awarded in a specific jurisdiction. Whichever model is used, strong emphasis must always be placed upon proper accounting and accountability procedures. This applies to the agency itself as well as to all sub-grantees.
The SAA in even the smallest state is unlikely to know the large number of requirements attached to each award. Therefore, it is incumbent upon her to employ professional grant managers and accounting staff who do possess this detailed knowledge and upon whom she can rely with confidence.
Visti the Grants Management section for in-depth information about this topic. See also the Receiving Federal Funds for more information about grants awarded by OJP.