4 FAH-3 H-060
(Office of Origin: CGFS/FPRA/FP)
4 FAH-3 H-061 GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES
4 FAH-3 H-061.1 Purpose and Scope
This subchapter addresses the delegation of authority and procedures for the designation of Department of State personnel to be a U.S. disbursing officer (USDO) or authorized certifying officer (CO). It also addresses the authorization for the Department to certify vouchers for payment for other agencies at post.
4 FAH-3 H-061.2 Separation of Duties
Department of State employees may not hold dual capacities as authorized certifying officers (CO) and USDOs. An individual serving as approving officer may not function as a USDO or cashier at the same time. An individual responsible for contracting, initiating purchases, or approving obligation documents may not function as a CO at the same time and may not certify those same documents that they have approved. If it is not possible to separate any of these functions, the Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services (CGFS) and Office of the Procurement Executive (A/OPE) (if the contract function is involved) must provide special departmental authorization for such dual capacity. The post must contact CGFS’s Office of Financial Policy (CGFS/FPRA/FP) and A/OPE for further guidance.
4 FAH-3 H-062 U.S. DISBURSING OFFICER (USDO)
4 FAH-3 H-062.1 Basic Authority and Delegation
a. In accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3321, the Chief Disbursing Officer of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has delegated disbursing authority for operations in foreign countries to the Department of State positions of USDO and Assistant USDO. This disbursing authority is utilized at CGFS’s offices in Bangkok, Thailand and Charleston, South Carolina. A Department of State U.S. citizen employee assigned to CGFS Bangkok or CGFS Charleston is designated as a USDO by the CGFS Comptroller. The Comptroller designates the USDO in writing. The Office of Global Disbursing Operations (CGFS/DO) coordinates and maintains the records of all USDO designations.
b. See 4 FAH-2 H-113, Designations of USDO.
c. See 4 FAH-2 H-114, Responsibilities and Limitations of USDO.
4 FAH-3 H-062.2 Notifications
a. CGFS/DO advises other CGFS offices, as required, of the USDO’s name, period, and place where the USDO will exercise the disbursing authority.
b. After arrival of the USDO, he or she informs CGFS/DO of the date he or she actually began performing the USDO functions.
c. Upon transfer of a USDO, the USDO’s former office notifies CGFS/DO of the date the individual ceased performing the USDO function and the number of the last Treasury Department check issued by the USDO.
d. CGFS/DO will notify the Comptroller of the date the individual ceased performing the USDO function and request that the USDO’s designation be revoked.
e. Upon the death of a USDO, the Comptroller must be immediately notified in writing and requested to authorize the assistant USDO to act in the capacity of the deceased individual. CGFS/DO has this responsibility for the USDO in Charleston. The senior officer for the Global Financial Service Center Bangkok (CGFS/B) has this responsibility for the Bangkok USDO.
4 FAH-3 H-063 CASHIERS
4 FAH-3 H-064 OCCASIONAL MONEY HOLDERS
The requirements for designation and the accompanying responsibilities of occasional money holders are covered in 4 FAH-3 H-392, Definitions.
4 FAH-3 H-065 authorized CERTIFYING OFFICERS (STATE)
4 FAH-3 H-065.1 Policy
a. Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3325, agency heads, including the Secretary of State, are authorized to certify payments and may delegate this authority by written authorization to subordinate officers and employees. For the Department of State, the Secretary of State has delegated certifying authority to the Chief Financial Officer, who may re-delegate it to the Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services (CGFS) Assistant Secretary (Comptroller) and further as required. Such re-delegations, in writing, may be made to one or more U.S. citizen employees at posts or offices as circumstances may require, and at post, to a locally employed staff (LE staff) meeting the criteria prescribed in 4 FAH-3 H-065.2, Designation of Authorized Certifying Officer, of this subchapter. In addition, by virtue of position, principal officers abroad are authorized to certify vouchers (see 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-3, Principal Officer as Authorized Certifying Officer, of this subchapter). Delegation of authority to designate certifying officers (also referred to as authorized certifying officers) is not delegated to posts. Authorization to certify does not transfer with an individual from one post to another.
b. Responsibilities of authorized certifying officers (CO) are prescribed in 4 FAM 021.2-6, Certifying Officer and 4 FAM 432, Certifying Officers’ Personal Liability and Relief. U.S. citizen financial management officers (FMO) abroad have overall responsibility for voucher certification and normally serve as principal COs. If no FMO is at post, the management officer or another U.S. citizen who has been delegated certifying authority performs the principal certifying officer duties.
c. At specified posts serviced by regional FMO offices, the CO is only authorized to certify cash payment vouchers.
d. No CO may be required to certify a payment or payments. The CGFS Director for Financial Coordination and Reports (CGFS/OMA/FCR) may instruct COs not to certify a particular payment or payments. In the event a CO declines to certify a payment, the payment document in question may be referred to CGFS/OMA/FCR. CGFS/OMA/FCR may refer the payment document to the Office of Financial Policy (CGFS/FPRA/FP) director, who will, with guidance from the Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser (L), determine if a legal opinion will be required to respond to the inquiry.
e. All COs need access to 31 CFR and 31 U.S.C.; the Foreign Affairs Manual; and the Government Accountability Office’s Principles of Federal Appropriations Law. This guidance is available on the Department’s Intranet, the Internet, or in hard copy.
f. Authorized certifying officer functions are inherently governmental functions, which to perform, the Department requires direct-hire employees. As a result, contract personal services agreement (PSA) or personal services contractor (PSC) employees may not be designated as a CO. There is no waiver of this restriction.
g. Each CO must be professionally qualified or have a proven record of integrity and consistent superior performance. "Professionally qualified" means the individual has complied with the training requirements identified in 4 FAH-3 H-065.2, Designation of Authorized Certifying Officer, of this subchapter.
h. Consistent with the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended, the CFO is responsible for ensuring that personnel who perform financial management functions are adequately trained. Therefore, the Department implemented a training requirement (see 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-1, Designations, and 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-2, Designation of Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff), of this subchapter) for all employees who serve as a CO. Employees must be adequately trained to meet minimum training requirements. CGFS/OMA/FCR may grant a temporary 120-day designation to American COs while they meet the minimum requirements. No extensions or waivers will be granted.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2 Designation of Authorized Certifying Officer
CGFS/OMA/FCR is responsible for processing the requests for designations of authorized certifying officers (CO). The Comptroller or his or her designee will approve the designation of certifying officers. Authorized certifying officer designations are made for U.S. citizen certifying officers, LE staff certifying officers, and domestic certifying officers in direct-hire employment positions. Some domestic certifying officers are also designated as Treasury certifying officers as outlined in 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-7, Designation of Treasury Certifying Officers (CO) and Others Involved in the Treasury Payment Process, of this subchapter.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2-1 Designations
CGFS/OMA/FCR will notify the post or bureau of designation action by cable for an overseas CO or memo for a domestic CO or Treasury certifying officer (see 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-6, Electronic Certification System Card (Overseas), of this subchapter) after the post or bureau has completed the requirements as specified below:
(1) Overseas authorized certifying officers: The financial management or management officer must submit a request by cable to CGFS/OMA/FCR (cable address: USOffice Global Financial Services, TAGS: AFIN, pass line: GFS FOR CERTIFYING, caption: GFS FIN CHANNEL) to designate a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-U.S. citizen direct-hire employee of the Department of State (see 4 FAH-3 H-065.1) as a CO at least 15 days before the effective date. The request (Subject: Certifying Officer Designation) must include the following:
(a) The name, current position, and grade of the nominated employee, whether the employee will be an alternate or principal certifying officer, and the effective (date) of the designation;
(b) Information as to whether the employee has or will have a contracting warrant. If so, the financial management or management officer must request approval for dual authority from CGFS/FPRA/FP and A/OPE (see 4 FAH-3 H-061.2, Separation of Duties, of this subchapter);
(c) Confirmation of Foreign Service Institute (FSI) course (number) and (title) was completed (date) or dates of enrollment as confirmed by FSI. Acceptable courses completed may be either FSI course PA216, “Accounting, Vouchering and Certification,” or FSI correspondence course PA291, “How to be a Certifying Officer.” If the individual has completed either of the following training courses, FSI course PA211, “Budget and Financial Management,” or FSI course PA210, “Basics of Financial Management Overseas,” the training requirement is satisfied. Only an American direct-hire officer may be designated for 120 days while completing the required training course. No waivers or extensions will be granted;
(d) Confirmation that the Form DS-1088-A, Signature Card for Certifying Officers (see 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-5 of this subchapter), has been sent or will be forwarded immediately to CGFS/OMA/FCR. The Form DS-1088-A may be downloaded from the Department of State’s Intranet and completed, scanned, and sent to CGFS/OMA/FCR by e-mail;
(e) Confirmation that the employee does not have “write” access to the accounting system for recording or adjusting obligations to the accounting records. No waiver of this limitation will be granted; and
(2) Domestic authorized certifying officers: The designee must be a U.S. citizen direct-hire employee. Generally, the designee's supervisor must send a written request for the designation via memorandum to CGFS/OMA/FCR. If, however, the designee is from a bureau other than CGFS, the bureau’s executive director must send a written request for designation to CGFS/OMA/FCR. In either case, the request must include the following:
(a) The name of the nominated employee, current position, grade (minimum grade level is GS-7), and effective date of the designation;
(b) The course name and completion date of the required training. The required Foreign Service Institute (FSI) training courses are: PA215, “Principles of Appropriations Law,” and either PA216, “Accounting, Vouchering and Certification,” or PA291, “How to be a Certifying Officer,” by correspondence course through the FSI. Non-FSI courses equivalent to PA215 or PA216 must be approved by the Office of Customer Support and Training (CGFS/CST);
(c) Confirmation that the employee does not have “write” access to the accounting system for recording or adjusting obligations to the accounting records. No waiver of this limitation will be granted; and
(d) Confirmation that the employee does not have “write” access to the accounting system for recording or adjusting disbursements. For internal control reasons, designations will not be approved if write access currently exists. Waivers to this important control will not be granted.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2-2 Designation of Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff)
a. A locally employed staff (LE staff) direct-hire nominee (regardless of citizenship) for authorized certifying officer must be professionally qualified (see 4 FAH-3 H-065.1, Policy, of this subchapter). The LE staff nominee must also meet the criteria in the local employee’s position classification handbook for LE staff-certifying positions and must have proven records of integrity and consistent superior performance. Posts should take into consideration an employee’s demonstrated performance and knowledge of the voucher examiner guidelines, laws, regulations, and procedures.
b. Each direct-hire LE staff member must successfully complete formal course work prior to post requests to designate the employee as a CO. The post is responsible for the cost of training.
(1) Employees with an accounting or finance-related college or university degree and 5 years of responsible, relevant job experience are required to complete two courses: FSI course PA215, “Principles of Appropriation Law,” and either FSI course PA216, “Accounting, Vouchering and Certification,” or FSI correspondence course PA291, “How to be a Certifying Officer.” If, however, the employee completes either PA210, “Basics of Financial Management Overseas,” or PA211, “Financial Management Overseas,” the training requirement will be satisfied.
(2) All others are required to take either FSI course PA210, “Basics of Financial Management Overseas,” or PA211, “Financial Management Overseas.”
c. The post financial management office that establishes LE staff-certifying authority must send its request to CGFS/OMA/FCR (cable address: Global Financial Services, USOffice), and include concurrence from the regional bureau to designate an LE staff member as a CO. The request must include the following:
(1) The name of the nominated employee, current position, grade, and the effective date of the designation;
(2) The number of years (5 minimum) of service in financial management in U.S. Government or other relevant financial management experience. CGFS will not waive the experience requirement;
(3) Confirmation that Form DS-1088-A, Signature Card for Certifying Officers, is on file with CGFS/OMA/FCR. (If it is not on file, the form may be downloaded from the Department of State’s Intranet and completed, scanned, and forwarded as an attachment to an e-mail);
(4) Educational background: If college/university degree, provide the major and the name of the educational institution;
(5) Completion dates for the required training and the course titles. CGFS will not waive the training requirement;
(6) The monetary ceiling (U.S. dollar or local currency equivalent by fiscal line item) of disbursements to be certified. Post must also include in the request the list of categories of vouchers the LE staff member may certify. Unlimited and/or blanket authority will not be authorized for monetary ceilings;
(7) Confirmation that the LE staff member CO has access to “Principles of Federal Appropriations Law” (available via Internet on the GAO Web site or CD-ROM purchased from a private vendor);
(8) Confirmation that post has assessed its voucher program and certifies that the internal control process will not be compromised by the appointment of an LE staff member-authorized certifying officer;
(9) Confirmation that post has contacted the Office of Overseas Employment (GTM/OE) regarding position classification;
(10) Confirmation that the regional bureau supports the designation, including the name and position of the individual providing the bureau concurrence;
(11) Confirmation that the CO employee does not have “write” access to the accounting system for recording or adjusting obligations to the accounting records. No waiver of this limitation will be granted; and
(12) Post must provide comments on the separation of duties to indicate that internal control for financial matters will not be adversely affected by granting certifying authority for the LE staff member nominee.
d. The LE staff certifying activity is subject to periodic unannounced review. The FMO (or management officer where there is no FMO) reviews the newly designated LE staff CO monthly for the first 6 months following the designation. After 6 months, reviews may be conducted quarterly. The number of vouchers reviewed, results of the review, and corrective action taken must be recorded. A sample size of 10 percent of certified vouchers is normally considered adequate to perform a review. The reviewing official must document the unannounced reviews in writing and make it available to the LE staff CO. The financial management office retains the document for 3 years for Office of Inspector General (OIG) review.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2-3 Principal Officer as Authorized Certifying Officer
a. A principal officer at posts abroad is, by virtue of his or her status as principal officer, authorized to certify certain payments that are made in accordance with 31 U.S.C. The principal officer’s name and facsimile signature are not required on the official list for this purpose. This authorization is limited to certifying whenever:
(1) Emergencies occur because of the absence or illness of all COs at post; or
(2) A voucher, other than a payroll voucher, is drawn in favor of a CO and the other COs at post are absent.
b. When post operations require designation of the principal officer as a principal CO or alternate CO for all fiscal operations, designation procedures contained in 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-1, Designations, of this subchapter apply.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2-4 Official Signature Card
The post must send one signed copy of Form DS-1088-A, Signature Card for Certifying Officers, to CGFS/OMA/FCR immediately upon requesting the designation, whether for a U.S.-citizen employee or LE staff member, unless a signature card is already on file. To avoid delays in processing, the card must be neatly signed in black ink above the first line, and the name, post, and date must be typed. The Form DS-1088-A may be downloaded from the Department’s Intranet and completed, scanned, and sent to CGFS/OMA/FCR as an attachment to an e-mail.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2-5 Signature Change
When a CO has a change in signature, either a legal change or a change in the method of signing, including the adding or deleting of Sr., Jr., etc., a new signature card must be completed.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2-6 Electronic Certification System Card (Overseas)
Department of State authorized certifying officers overseas (either U.S. citizen or LE staff direct-hire) must also have an electronic certification system (ECS) card to transmit electronically certified vouchers to a disbursing location. The information systems security office (ISSO) at the CGFS center, performing disbursing for that post (Charleston or Bangkok), is responsible for issuing the ECS card. The CO must submit the forms, as required by the ECS Card Key Custodian’s Manual, to the ISSO to activate a card or to deactivate a card when it is no longer needed. The CO’s designation must be on file with the USDO. When the CO leaves post, the CO’s supervisor must return the ECS card to the ISSO and immediately remove it from post inventory.
4 FAH-3 H-065.2-7 Designation of Treasury Certifying Officers (CO) and Others Involved in the Treasury Payment Processes
a. The Comptroller (CGFS) is delegated authority to designate Department of State personnel as Treasury certifying officers (CO) and other positions associated with payments made through the U.S. Treasury in accordance with Volume 1, Treasury Financial Manual, Part 4-1100. This authority may be re-delegated using Form FMS-2958, Delegation of Authority. Treasury certifying officers are those who release Form SF-1166, Voucher and Schedule of Payments, for payments to be made domestically through the Treasury Financial Management systems.
b. The CGFS managing directors or directors must submit a memorandum on an annual basis to the Global Financial System (GFS) Director for Financial Coordination and Reports (CGFS/OMA/FCR) that identifies the individuals designated as Treasury certifying officers and data-entry operators. This memorandum should list the individuals’ names and the respective Treasury role; area of assignment; name of payment application or system; and as applicable, the expiration date of the Treasury role.
c. Each Treasury certifying officer nominee must be a U.S.-citizen, Civil Service, direct-hire employee and must complete and submit Treasury Form FMS-210, Designation for Certifying Officer, to the designating official of the U.S. Department of State. The completed Form FMS-210 will be sent to Treasury’s Financial Management Service as directed by Treasury. The designating official will send a file copy to CGFS/OMA/FCR for retention and maintenance of the official listing of designees.
d. The other position designated by CGFS is the Treasury data entry operator (DEO). The DEO must be a U.S. citizen, either Civil Service or Federal contract employee, with CGFS. Form FMS-210DEO, Designation of SPS Data Entry Operator, is used to designate the DEO.
e. The Treasury designation pertains to one or more of the following Treasury applications or functions:
· Secure Payment Systems (SPS)
· Federal Reserve Wire Transactions (Fedwire)
· Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP)
· Certifying officer in ASAP and create letters of credit accounts in ASAP (FPC)
· Transmission Certifying Officer (TCO) in ASAP (FP9)
· Create letters of credit accounts and credit letters of credit funding in ASAP (FP4)
· Funding in ASAP (FP3)
· Payroll and other.
f. In addition to the training requirements for domestic COs in 4 FAH-3 H-065.2-1, Designations, of this subchapter, Treasury certifying officers must complete Treasury’s 1-day certifying officer course.
4 FAH-3 H-065.3 Revocation or Suspension of Authority
a. When a CO permanently departs from a post or bureau, the CO’s supervisor must immediately notify CGFS/OMA/FCR (Subject: Certifying Officer Revocation) of the date the officer ceased certifying and request that the officer’s certifying authority be revoked.
b. CGFS/OMA/FCR will notify the post or bureau of the revocation action by cable for an overseas CO or memorandum for a domestic CO.
c. In cases of fraud, malfeasance, or negligence, the post management (principal officer, deputy chief of mission, management officer (MO), or financial management officer (FMO)) has the authority to suspend any CO. Circumstances relating to fraud or negligence must be documented and submitted as prescribed in 4 FAM 374, Reports of Investigations. In all cases, post management must notify the OIG, Office of Investigations via “OIG Channel—State” as soon as an authorized certifying officer is suspected of fraud, malfeasance, or negligence in carrying out official duties. In all cases, where fraud or negligence is proven, post management must notify CGFS/OMA/FCR (Subject: Certifying Officer Revocation) immediately requesting that the officer’s authority be revoked.
d. For delegation of authority following revocation of a previous delegation, the instructions in 4 FAH-3 H-065.2, Designation of Authorized Certifying Officer, of this subchapter apply.
4 FAH-3 H-065.4 Official Database of Authorized Certifying Officers
CGFS/OMA/FCR maintains an official database that contains the names of all persons authorized to certify vouchers for the Department of State and provides this list to all USDOs. Supplements to this list are issued, as necessary, to reflect revocations and new delegations. See the CGFS Web site under its site index, “certifying officers by post” for the current listing.
4 FAH-3 H-066 AUTHORIZATION TO CERTIFY FOR OTHER AGENCIES AT POST
a. Other agencies normally designate their own employees to certify vouchers chargeable to their funds. Each agency must send its list of authorized certifying officers (CO) and copies of their signatures (specimen) to post's financial management office. Some agencies choose to delegate certifying authority to the Department of State COs at posts. Certain agencies delegated unlimited certifying authority covering all bureaus of that agency. In agencies where authority to delegate is at the bureau level, certain bureaus delegated unlimited authority, whereas other bureaus delegated restricted authority only.
b. Delegations of authority limited to specific activities or specific posts are sent to the individual posts concerned.
c. The Department of State cannot re-delegate the authority to certify on behalf of other agencies.
d. When a post receives a request for certifying services from an agency for which no certifying authority is on record, the Department must obtain the delegation from the agency concerned. Posts should contact Global Financial Services—Washington Office (CGFS/F/WO), interagency liaison officer, for any questions concerning delegation of certifying authority by other agencies.
4 FAH-3 H-067 THROUGH H-069 UNASSIGNED