NAFOA POLICY ALERT: OMB Memo Disbands COFAR and Pauses Promise Zone Reporting Requirements


NAFOA POLICY ALERT: OMB Memo Disbands COFAR and Pauses Promise Zone Reporting Requirements

June 28, 2017

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued memorandum M-17-26  last week which rescinds, modifies, and/or pauses a large number of past OMB projects and memoranda. Of concern to the NAFOA community is the disbandment of the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR), pausing a prior memorandum pertaining to Promise Zone designations, and removing projects to determine if the OMB Uniform Guidance is meeting its intended goals.


Eliminated: COFAR

Over the past five years NAFOA has been an active member of the COFAR, ensuring that tribal interests are considered in grant management reform. The COFAR members provide recommendations to OMB on policies and actions necessary to report on federal grants and cooperative agreements and contribute to FAQ documents. OMB has not provided further details as to why it disbanded the COFAR or what implications this could have on grant oversight.


Paused: Promise Zones

The Promise Zone initiative was enacted to boost economic activity and job growth, improve educational opportunities, and leverage private investment in high poverty areas, including tribal communities. M-17-26 suspends OMB Memo M-16-23, which called for federal agencies to identify financial assistance and other resources where preference could be offered to Promise Zone designatees and to make preference available. Under the new memorandum, federal agencies having to report resources awarded to Promise Zone in the prior fiscal year is also halted.  


Eliminated: Uniform Guidance Metrics

M-17-26 eliminates the OMB Memo M-14-17, which required the Federal Audit Clearinghouse to provide information on single audit metrics such as the number of modified opinions for higher-risk major programs, the number of audit findings of material weaknesses in internal controls for higher-risk major programs, the number of major programs selected for audit and the number of audit objectives in the OMB Compliance Supplement.


Eliminated: New CFDA Numbering

The new memorandum states that agencies are no longer required to prepare for an expanded Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbering system. A previous controller alert required agencies to construct a numbering schematic from XX.XXX to XXX.XXXX in an effort to align with the three-digit Common Government-Wide Accounting Classification agency code used in the Treasury Account Symbol.


We will continue to update the NAFOA community as information becomes available. For questions or comments please contact Jennifer Parisien at  or (202) 558-8040. 


Memorandum M-17-26