USGS Home Page

U.S. Geological Survey Manual

U.S. Geological Survey Instructional Memorandum

No.: APS 2006-06

Issuance Date: June 29, 2006

Expiration Date: This IM is effective immediately.  It will remain in effect until its provisions are converted to the Survey Manual, or until it is superseded or revoked, whichever comes first.

Subject: Policy for salary payment of employees working under an Emergency Support Function (ESF), Mission Assignment, or other type of interagency agreement in support of emergency response to natural hazard events.

Reference: SM 500.3 - Policy on Work for Other Federal Agencies; APS 2004-14, APS 2005-04, APS 2006-03 - Special policy guidance related to Emergency spending

This instructional memorandum describes the USGS financial management policy for salary payment to employees working under an emergency agreement with another Federal Agency during a National emergency resulting from a natural hazard such as a hurricane, earthquake, etc.

The National Response Plan, maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was created to more efficiently coordinate the use of resources when responding to national disasters and emergencies.   FEMA authorizes and activates emergency response primarily via two types of authorizations:  Emergency Support Functions and Mission Assignments.

Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) provide the structure for facilitating delivery of critical Federal resources, assets, and assistance during Incidents of National Significance.  Federal departments and agencies are assigned to lead or support the ESF’s based on authorities, resources, and capabilities.  ESF’s are coordinated and billed either through a designated lead agency or directly to FEMA. 

Mission Assignments are activated during emergency responses declared under a Stafford Act disaster.  In these cases, FEMA tasks Federal agencies directly with the issuance of a Mission Assignment form.  Mission assignments are normally negotiated and initiated from a FEMA office located on site near the disaster.  The Mission Assignment contains a brief description of work to be accomplished along with contact names and other critical information needed to carry out the work and billing of the agreement. Mission Assignments are always treated as a reimbursable agreement and do not cover volunteers.
In addition to ESF’s and Mission Assignments, USGS has other authorities which permit providing goods and services to other federal agencies.  These authorities can be found in the policy memorandums referenced above.  These authorities are the basis for entering into reimbursable agreements with other federal agencies for mission-related work regardless of the status of a disaster declaration. All policies related to work with other federal agencies apply to mission-related work in support of hazard events. 

Non-mission related emergency response work, where the Federal Government solicits volunteers and the Director of USGS approves the work, falls under different guidelines. Under these conditions, it is USGS policy that if an employee is assigned whose salary and benefits are completely or partially funded by a reimbursable agreement paid by a USGS customer, that portion of the employee’s salary and benefits must be funded by the bureau’s appropriated dollars.  In these instances, the bureau’s appropriated dollars must cover the work for these non-mission related emergency responses since the employee(s) is not supporting the work of the USGS customer who was funding the salary and expenses for its specific project or work.

To determine the amount of reimbursement for an employee working on non-mission related emergency support activities the following method is used.

  1. Calculate the ratio of federal appropriated salary and benefits to reimbursable salary and benefits that the employee received during the previous 12 months.
  2. Apply that ratio to the total salary and benefit cost incurred by the employee for emergency response activities during the billing period.
  3. Add any travel expenses or costs for supplies and equipment incurred by the employee.

The amount calculated from this process is the amount that must be funded by the bureau’s appropriated dollars.  In some cases, these dollars may be “reimbursed” by a supplemental funding bill or reimbursed by the lead emergency response agency.  (An example of this was the ESF#3 volunteers from Hurricane Katrina who worked with the Bureau of Reclamation to install “blue roofs.”  Under the ESF guidelines issued by FEMA and the Department of the Interior, an employee’s base salary was not reimbursable.  However, if a bureau could support that the employee was paid by a reimbursable agreement with another customer for mission related work, that portion of the salary was recovered.)

In the event of situations described above, instructional and policy memorandums will be distributed to communicate and issue guidelines for charging to USGS accounts.  The guidelines will provide fiscal information needed to manage and report to senior management on the funding implications of such an event.

The policy for reimbursing non-mission related work may be waived on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether a supplemental funding bill is likely or if the lead emergency response agency will reimburse the USGS for the cost incurred.

Karen D. Baker /s/ Karen D. Baker
Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services

Return to Instructional Memoranda Page
Return to Survey Manual Home Page
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
URL: /usgs-manual/im/aps-2006-06.html
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Issuing Office: Office of Fiscal Services
Content Information Contact: Kelly Bradley, 703-648-5040,
Last modification: 15-May-2017@08:22 (kk)
Privacy Statement