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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Research Foundation News: New Policy on Assigning Extra Service from Federally Funded Grants

From the Special Adviser to the Provost for Academic Research Initiatives
In October 2012, Timothy Killeen, Ph.D., president of the Research Foundation (RF) and SUNY vice chancellor for research, unveiled Operation Excelsior in response to recent RF audits. Included in Operation Excelsior are a number of new policies that will take effect March 15. One of these policies affects the payment of extra service directly from federally funded projects. The full text of the policy may be found on the Research Foundation for SUNY website.

In general, full-time RF or SUNY exempt employees may be entitled to receive extra service compensation if all of the following conditions have been met:

  1. The work is different from or in addition to the individual’s regular department load, and it does not interfere with the employee’s regular professional obligations.
  2. Extra service that is paid from a sponsored award is disclosed and approved in accordance with sponsor requirements, if applicable.
  3. Payment is properly authorized in accordance with RF policy and procedures.

There are additional requirements for extra service on federally funded activities. For faculty working on projects sponsored by federal funds, OMB Circular A-21 restricts compensation above the base salary; however, “in unusual cases where consultation is across departmental lines or involves a separate or remote operation, and the work performed by the consultant is in addition to his regular departmental load, any charges for such work representing extra compensation above the base salary are allowable provided that such consulting arrangements are specifically provided for in the agreement or approved in writing by the sponsoring agency.” This may be accomplished by itemizing extra service in the budget, in the proposal, or in the agreement, or by other means that shows sponsor approval, if known.

Consultation as used here refers to the individual’s activities outside of and in addition to his or her full-time obligation. Indications that the work is across departmental lines may include research in a different discipline than a faculty member’s course load, or work performed in a different department (SUNY employees) or specialized unit within a large primary employing department (both RF and SUNY employees).

For non-exempt department secretaries who are requested to take on additional duties for PIs that fall outside their normal duties and workday (verified through the campus HR department), additional compensation including overtime may be allowed. The employee and supervisor should track the hours spent performing RF project work. The employee is paid at his or her usual rate of compensation, including overtime if applicable, from state funds, which are then reimbursed from RF if the work is budgeted in the grant.

For exempt employees working on federally funded projects, the determination of whether extra service compensation is allowable must be made on a case-by-case basis. For questions, please consult with Mark Severson, special adviser to the provost for academic research initiatives, or with Robert Baumet, RF deputy operations manager.

Sincerely,

Mark W. Severson, Ph.D.
Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences