The intergovernmental grant system as seen by local, State, and Federal officials : Page: 28
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The principal question in this part of the survey
focused on Federal management circulars issued
by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
and the General Services Administration (GSA) to
standardize, simplify, and improve Federal grant
administration. The questionnaire identified each
of the circulars and the basic change or changes
they were designed to achieve. It then asked the
respondents to indicate whether they were aware
of each circular, whether they thought that the
listed changes had actually occurred, and if so,
whether the changes had improved grant administration.
Table II-11 recapitulates the responses relating
to respondents' awareness of the four circulars.
Clearly, both the city and county officials were
most aware of FMC 74-7, the circular requiring
standardization and simplification of 15 types of
administrative requirements, and OMB A-95, prescribing
procedures for review and comment on
applications for certain kinds of grants. The least
familiar to both groups was the circular prescribing
audit procedures (FMC 73-2). The county officials'
awareness of the cost principles circular
(FMC 74-4) was noticeably high, relative to their
awareness of the other circulars as well as to the
awareness mark on this circular registered by the
With both groups of officials, there is a clear
tendency for awareness to decline with the size of
jurisdiction. This is understandable in light of the
smaller places' lesser involvement in grant programs.
On a regional basis the one point that stands
out is the noticeably higher degree of awareness
among officials from southern cities. The audit
circular is the exception to that generalization; yet,
even here, southern city officials register the highest
percentage of familiarity. Why the cities in the
south should be more conscious of these administrative
circulars is not immediately apparent.
Perhaps it has something to do with the efforts of
Federal regional and area offices that serve that
part of the country.
The level of familiarity with all four circulars is
patently higher among central city officials and
metropolitan county officials than among their colleagues
from suburban or rural areas. In the degree
of awareness registered by city officials representing
the two major forms of city governmentmayor-council
has a slight edge. Officials from counties with administrators
indicated a substantially greater
familiarity with the circulars than their colleagues
from counties without administrators.
These figures suggest overall that Federal officials
need to target more of their communications
efforts on management circulars toward cities
under 50,000 population and those in suburban
and non-metropolitan areas, and toward counties
under 100,000 population and those in nonmetropolitan
The survey next sought to determine how the
city and county officials viewed the effects of the
circulars or certain parts of them. Under FMC 74-7,
which purported to standardize and simplify a
range of administrative procedures and requirements,
the questionnaire focused on the five general
provisions or groups of provisions that:
* Relieved recipients of the requirement of keeping
separate bank accounts for individual grants;
* Minimized the time between Federal disbursement
and grantee use of funds;
* Standardized pre-application procedures for
* Standardized forms for application, review, and
approval of project grants; and
* Standardized procedures for payments, determining
matching shares, budget revisions, reporting
grants close out, and record retention.
On FMC 74-4 (cost principles) and FMC 73-2
(auditing), the questionnaire asked simply for reactions
to the overall circulars. On OMB A-95, it
requested opinions on the provision for referring to
general purpose local governments of grant applications
from special districts. This part of the circular
was singled out, because it is one part that
requires involvement of cities and counties, a condition
that does not necessarily apply to other parts
of the project notification and review system under
Title I of the circular.
On each of the eight above items the survey
asked local officials' views on whether they
thought a change had occurred in the administration
of the subject area covered by the circular or
the specified part of the circular. Respondents to
this question were not limited to those who had
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United States. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The intergovernmental grant system as seen by local, State, and Federal officials :, book, March 1977; Washington, D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1368/m1/36/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.