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Board Member Questions

For NPC Managers

About NAVREF

For Industry Sponsors

Preferred Vendors

Questions And Answers

Board Member Questions

What’s the minimum number of board members?

5 or 6.

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Can an NPC have more than the statutorily required number of board members?

In addition to the number of board members set by the statute, the number of additional board members is determined (limited) by an NPC's by-laws: 

1. Medical Center Director

2. Chief of Staff

3. Associate Chief of Staff for Research

4. Associate Chief of Staff for Education

5. Statutory Non-Federal

6. Statutory Non-Federal

 

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For NPC Managers

Can an NPC give a VA employee a gift or bonus?

Regarding gifts: Gifts between VA and NPC employees are governed by federal ethics regulations (5 CFR Part 2635 http://www.usoge.gov/pages/laws_regs_fedreg_stats/oge_regs/5cfr2635.html). General Counsel has determined that as a consequence of their WOC appointments, NPC employees are bound by federal ethics regulations pertaining to conduct as well as conflicts of interest so the same rules apply to gifts among NPC employees.

The pamphlet "Gifts Between Employees" on the Office of Government Ethics web site does a good job of explaining that federal employees generally may give each other gifts with a value of less than $10 on traditional gift giving occasions. Go to http://www.usoge.gov/pages/forms_pubs_otherdocs/forms_pubs_other.html and click on ”Pamphlets.”  OGC guidance on holiday gift giving is available at http://www.navref.org/newsletter/word/OGC_Gift_Guidance.doc

Another pamphlet, “Gifts from Outside Sources” on the same web site discusses the limits on what VA employees may accept from non-government sources.

However . . . Regardless of whether the cost is below the $10 threshold or falls within the $20/50 exception, and despite the OGC’s position that NPCs are not prohibited sources, NAVREF strongly advises against using NPC funds to pay for gifts, or to reimburse PIs for gifts for their VA, NPC or university employees/colleagues or for vendors. Even if the giver and the recipient are research employees, discretionary holiday gift giving is not consistent with the purpose of the NPCs.  Nor does NPC payment for the gifts (whether directly or through reimbursement) negate the applicability of the federal gift rules.  If VA or NPC employees want to give gifts, they must follow the federal gift rules and should pay for them personally.

Regarding bonuses:  As private sector organizations, NPCs may provide performance bonuses to their own employees when such awards are part of an organization-wide program consistently applied to all employees, subject to relevant tax withholding.  However, NPC bonuses become problematic when the potential recipient is also a VA employee.

The applicable federal statute is found at 18 U.S.C. § 209 (see http://www.usoge.gov/pages/laws_regs_fedreg_stats/comp_fed_ethics_laws.pdf page 20).  This law prohibits federal employees from receiving anything other than their federal salary as compensation for services as a government employee.  Violations may subject both the payer and the payee to criminal penalties amounting to as much as five years in prison and $50,000.

Under no circumstance may an NPC make any form of payment to federal employees for services that relate to their official positions.  Further, NAVREF strongly advises against paying any form of bonuses to dual VA/NPC employees. The risk of failing to adequately distinguish a joint employee's exemplary performance in his VA job from his NPC responsibilities is simply too high.  Even the perception that a bonus was paid for VA - as opposed to NPC - performance could trigger the criminal statute.

NAVREF encourages NPCs to think of creative, non-monetary ways to acknowledge exemplary performance by dedicated VA and NPC personnel.

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What is the reason for not permitting qualifying organizations to submit IRS Form 990EZ?

IRS Forms 990-EZ (as well as IRS Forms 990-N and IRS Forms 990-PF) are not accepted because they do not contain much of the information that is required to properly adjudicate CFC charity applications and make eligibility determinations in accordance with the public accountability standards at 5 CFR §950.203. The IRS Form 990-EZ, in particular, does not contain adequate governing body and management information nor complete information on compensation of officers, directors, trustees, etc.; it does not contain detailed enough statements of revenue and functional expenses; and it does not include thorough enough information on an organization's financial statements and reporting procedures.

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About NAVREF

Can my NPC host a NAVREF board meeting?

Any member NPC can host a quarterly NAVREF Board of Directors’ meeting.  It is the board’s goal to convene quarterly business/policy meetings at different NPCs each quarter each year.  The intention is for the Board to become acquainted with members’ director, and to provide an opportunity for the host NPC board to share time with the NAVREF board to discuss local and mutual concerns or suggestions.  During its’ January board meeting, the NAVREF board reviews the listing of members and directs staff to confirm interest and availability for the next fiscal year.  Hosting generally involves working with NAVREF staff to select a hotel, arrange for a meeting room at the VAMC, a continental breakfast, a lunch with the local board and ground transportation.   If your NPC is interested particularly to host a NAVREF board meeting, please contact the NAVREF office.

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For Industry Sponsors

Where can I find more information about CRADAs?

For additional information about Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), please go to http://www.research.va.gov/programs/tech_transfer/crada/resources.cfm  

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Preferred Vendors

What is the NAVREF Preferred Vendor Program?

This program is an ongoing effort to negotiate and secure national purchasing contracts for the benefit of all NAVREF members.  Each vendor contract is designed to offer research and office supplies and services at the lowest possible cost.  NAVREF's position with each vendor grows stronger when participating members direct purchasing for research, education and general NPC administration to the preferred vendors.  Each contract is reevaluated on a periodic basis.  The more volume NAVREF members generate, the better the pricing.

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How does the Preferred Vendor Program work?

Based on a survey of NAVREF members, a contract target list was formed from the vendors that appeared most frequently.  The vendors that participate in the program were carefully selected based on the following criteria: 

  • Willingness to offer preferred pricing
  • Product variety, quality and availability
  • Customer service and ease of ordering
  • National distribution capability
  • Return policy

Once a contract was negotiated, a NAVREF member list was supplied to the vendor to identify exiting accounts or set-up new accounts.  All discounts are tied to the account number.  Due to the large variety of products available from each vendor, the discounts will vary.

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What do I have to do to participate in the Preferred Vendor Program?

Contact each participating vendor to establish an account number or, if you already have an account, make sure it has been identified with the NAVREF program.

  • Identify yourself as a NAVREF member.
  • Give the exact name of your Foundation.
  • Establish your own "ship to" addresses.
  • Request catalogs for all your P.I's.
  • Notify your P.I's about the NAVREF Preferred Vendor Program.
  • Encourage the P.I.'s to use the Preferred Vendors.
  • Build a relationship with your local sales reps.
  • Provide a PI contact list for the local sales representatives. They can help spread the word on a more technical level and encourage them to purchase from NAVREF's Preferred Vendors

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