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Section 3: Project On-Site Monitoring

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Background

Calls, letters, and occasional meetings are generally not sufficient to adequately monitor a project. In most cases, a project manager (for Traffic Safety Specialist [TSS]-managed projects) or program manager (for state-managed projects) will need to go on-site to review project status, documents, and subgrantee grant management and financial records and systems. This type of in-depth review is often called “project on-site monitoring” because the project or program manager must actually go to the location of the project and the offices of the subgrantee to conduct this monitoring. On-site monitoring should involve all project personnel with management or oversight responsibility for the project, including a financial representative.

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Frequency

On-site monitoring for new subgrantees of projects must be completed within the first quarter of the project. On-site monitoring for projects beyond the first year must be conducted at least once during the first three quarters of the fiscal year. Projects evidencing any problems might need on-site monitoring more than once during the fiscal year.

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Items to Review

On-site monitoring includes all issues related to the effective and efficient operation of the project. The following, though not all-inclusive, are the most important items to review:

  • progress toward achievement of objectives and performance measures
  • adherence to the action plan (for General grants), timely submission of complete and correct reports, including required documentation
  • status of expenditures as they relate to the budget, including any overruns or underruns
  • accounting records
  • personnel records and time sheets
  • any necessary pre-approvals
  • supporting documentation (training documentation, verification of average cost per mile to operate patrol or fleet vehicles, etc.).

In addition, the project or program manager will normally inventory and inspect annually any equipment purchased or leased as part of the project and ensure that it is being used for the purpose for which it was bought or leased under the grant agreement or Interagency Cooperation Contract (IAC).

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Advance Preparation

Prior to the on-site monitoring, the project or program manager should:

  • plan each on-site monitoring visit well in advance (preferably at least three to four weeks)
  • refer the project director to the appropriate procedures in Section 3 of this chapter
  • carefully review the grant agreement to determine which activities in the action plan should have been accomplished by the on-site monitoring date (for General Grants)
  • note any special terms, conditions, or problems that need monitoring
  • review all correspondence, Performance Reports, and Requests for Reimbursement (RFRs) submitted prior to the visit
  • set up appointments with key project staff (management and fiscal)
  • provide a list of the types of documents to be reviewed, including time sheets, purchase vouchers, and forms
  • note any items requiring follow-up from a previous monitoring visit.
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Review of Source Documents

During at least one on-site monitoring visit, the project or program manager will review source documents and evidence of task completion, depending upon the activities to be conducted and the types of costs involved in the project. Examples of source documents to be included in the financial review are presented in the table below.

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Document Type

Notes

Requests for Reimbursement

Include any appropriate outlay detail forms or other supporting documentation.

Time sheets

Time sheets, pay records, payroll registers, and possibly personnel (salary rate) records must be reviewed to determine that salary and wage costs are fully supported. Time sheets must account for 100% of time, regardless of the amount charged to a grant. If only a percent of time is to be reimbursed, then the prorated amount must be correct.

Fringe benefits

If reimbursable, fringe benefits (such as health insurance, pension plan, etc.) must correspond to the amount or percent in the executed grant budget.

Travel costs

Only travel directly associated with the grant may be reimbursed. This might include, for example, travel to meetings called by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Invoices and payments

Only those costs in the approved budget may be reimbursed. Any payments must be directly attributable to the grant costs.



In reviewing these documents, a sampling methodology may be used, either randomly or selectively (such as, every fifth voucher or every other time sheet). The purpose of the financial document review is to ensure that costs claimed reconcile with the approved grant budget and the documentation.

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Review of Project Status

The project or program manager will review the status of project activities. Examples of evidence of progress toward task completion might include:

  • attendance rosters for training projects or events
  • the number of citations and warnings for enforcement projects
  • newspaper clippings of events and public information activities
  • written analyses and reports for data or problem identification projects
  • survey or questionnaire results
  • personnel training records.
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Review of Budget Requirements

The project or program manager will review appropriate program and financial documents for adherence to budget requirements, including, but not limited to, determining whether:

  • expenditures are on schedule
  • costs are in the approved budget category or any subsequent amendment
  • any necessary prior approvals for travel, equipment purchases, or changes have been obtained
  • appropriate procedures have been followed for all expenditures
  • appropriate supporting documentation, including those related to matching funds, is available and filed.
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Direct Observations

Although not required, on-site monitoring could also include direct observation of activities performed. These might include attendance or participation in a:

  • meeting, workshop or training course
  • press conference or other media event
  • presentation to a school, organization or civic club
  • task force or committee meeting
  • shift of Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) enforcement.
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Documentation

The project or program manager will complete, through the Traffic Safety Electronic Grants Management System (eGrants), all on-site monitoring form pages and attach copies of all appropriate records and other documents reviewed during the visit. To document on-site subgrantee monitoring activities, program and project managers must create and submit an On-site Monitoring Report in eGrants. The subgrantee monitoring reports can be found by viewing a subgrantee’s grant in eGrants. “Subgrantee Monitoring” can be found under “Examine Related Items.”

To complete the on-site monitoring report, follow the procedures listed below.

  • Initiate a Subgrantee On-Site Monitoring Report.
  • Select “I Agree” when prompted “Are you sure you want to create a new Subgrantee Monitoring Report?”
  • Under the “View, Edit and Complete” forms section, complete and save the “On-Site Monitoring” form pages.
  • Add additional information and/or attachments if necessary by opening and completing the applicable “Attachments” form page.
  • Once the report is submitted, Change the status of the On-Site Subgrantee Monitoring Report to “Subgrantee Monitoring Submitted” by going to the “Change the Status” section.

NOTE: Once the status has been changed to “Subgrantee Monitoring Submitted” the subgrantee will be able to view the monitoring report.

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