USE CAUTION WHEN PROVIDING MAINTENANCE AND OTHER SERVICE WORK DURING A CR
It has been awhile since we’ve covered the need for companies providing service and maintenance to federal agencies operating under a CR to exercise caution. Your federal customer can’t issue an annual maintenance agreement if they’re using appropriated funds to pay for your services while a CR is in place. That doesn’t mean that they can’t pay you, however. Agencies are allowed to continue operations that are already underway, unless there is a specific Congressional mandate telling them to stop. Such mandates usually involve only high visibility projects and likely do not cover circumstances such as printer maintenance. You and your customer agency need to work out an agreement so that you are paid month-to-month for the service your customer likely still expects you to provide. Performing free services with the expectation of being paid later, however, could very likely cause a problem – especially for your customer. The Anti-Deficiency Act prohibits agencies from obligating funds not yet appropriated. Allowing you to perform free services now with an expectation of later payment is, indeed, interpreted as an “obligation” by many agencies. If your company hasn’t had these discussions with your customer yet, they are past due. Make sure that you and your customer follow appropriate acquisition rules. Neither of you want to get in trouble over a small matter that could well impact larger business dealings.