Service First Update
Jennifer Eberlien, Interagency Service First Coordinator July 30, 2008
Jennifer_Eberlien@blm.gov; 202-452-5147; 202-205-0917
Authority Expiration, Extension and Continuing Resolution
Current authority expires Sept 30, 2008. A request for authority extension through FY 2011 has been
included in the BLM/DOI and Forest Service FY 2009 budget requests. This extension hinges on
Congress passing the FY 2009 appropriations package. Most believe that the majority of the federal
government will be operating under a continuing resolution (CR) in the next year. We have included
effects statements and requests to ensure continuing authority under a CR in BLM/DOI and FS
documents. Budget and legislative affairs staff are continually monitoring these processes.
Interagency Service First MOU
Like the legislation, the interagency MOU expires Sept 30, 2008. I am working with the agencies to get
an extension to the MOU as well as begin revising the MOU (typos, and clarifying language). Will keep
you posted as this develops.
Interagency Team to Develop Service First Guidelines
The past year has demonstrated that there are inconsistencies and misunderstandings related to
applying and using the Service First authority. The gap (or lack) of Service First related guidelines and
policy was recently noted by the DOI Solicitor’s office after a Service First agreement prompted their
review. To address this issue, an interagency team composed of national agreement staff, partnership
coordinators, and field unit participants will begin building some Service First guidelines or
management tools, such as a decision tree on when to use Service First authority, to help provide some
consistent national direction. First conference call is scheduled for August 7. These guidelines or
management tools may be attached to the revised interagency Service First MOU or eventually
transformed into official policy.
Service First Fiscal Year 2007 Awards – Award Ceremony August 19
The FY 2007 award winners have been selected! They are:
• Teresa Harshman Ward – joint administrative officer for Lakeview BLM and Fremont-Winema NF
in Lakeview, OR
• Aquatic and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Program – BLM Oregon State Office and USFS
• Central Utah Fire and Fuels Management – Richfield and Fillmore BLM Offices, Fishlake NF, and
State of Utah
• San Juan Public Lands Center for integrated planning of BLM and FS lands in Southwest
• Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Law Enforcement Team in Las Vegas Area
• America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass National
Implementation Team out of Washington, DC
Representatives from these teams will travel to Washington DC to receive their Service First award
from DOI Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett and USDA Under Secretary Mark Rey on August 19, 2008. An
official announcement letter to the four Service First agency employees is in the clearance process
right now and will soon be sent to the field. The FY 2007 award winners’ nominations will be posted to
the Service First website. The FY 2008 Service First Award call for nominations letter will be issued
Service First Pilots of Transfer Authority
The Service First authority allows for agencies to enter into reimbursable agreements and also directly
transfer funds via Treasury between agencies. To date, the agencies have never used the transfer
authority route until now. The San Juan Public Lands Center (BLM/FS) in Durango, Colorado and the
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument (BLM/NPS) agreed to pilot the transfer authority process
in an attempt to test if it is an easier and more efficient process than reimbursable agreements. At
this point, we are at the assessment stage (how did it work? pros and cons, etc.) and after analysis, will
determine if/when to roll this process out to a wider audience in FY2008.
Non-Forest Service Employee eAccess Tracking System (NATS) Database
The NATS database has been established to track non-Forest Service employees who have/need access
to FS systems. NATS links non-FS employees with a particular contract or agreement. Many non-FS
employees have already been registered in the NATS database since they are under a Service First
agreement. However, there are many situations where non-FS employees need access to the FS
systems who are not under a specific agreement or are in an offset relationship with the FS unit
(referred to as offset non-FS employees). On July 23, Doug Hodge, Patti Palmer, and Jennifer
discussed and agreed to use the national Service First MOU Agreement number to register offset non-FS
employees. Before we can register offset non-FS employees, the NATS database managers need to
make edits to allow field staff to access a national MOU. Contact your FS regional agreements staff for
more information. I’ll let you know when the NATS database change is made.
1-IT – Joint BLM and FS Technology Team
After several months of down time, the 1-IT team has been re-energized and is working to bridge the
technology divide, initially between the BLM and FS and then addressing the other two agencies. The
San Luis Public Lands Center in Montrose, CO is the pilot office for giving FS employees access to BLM’s
Quiktime (payroll), Lotus Notes, and MIS database. There are still some glitches to work out before
opening access to everyone. Interagency videoconferencing compatibility is almost complete with
standard operating procedures being finalized and given to the FS and BLM’s computer help desks.
Once the procedures for videconferencing, Lotus Notes, Quiktime, and MIS are prepared, I will let you
know. Next is to begin addressing GIS access with a pilot test.
Service First Website
The Service First revised and updated website should be live by the end of summer. Rachel Franchina
of the Forest Service’s Independent Resources Enterprise Team is helping in this effort. You may
receive a call from her since we’re trying to verify if the information on the current website is correct
and find out what you need or would like to see on the website.
Reciprocity between FS Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and BLM’s Risk Management
Draft FS Manual language allowing for reciprocity between JHAs and RMAs is now posted and open for
comment on the FS’ Office of Health and Safety website. Forest units can use the BLM’s RMA if it fits
the work situation and to eliminate redundancy such as filling out a JHA when a RMA is already
completed. This direction will be official once the Forest Service Manual process is completed.
Sharing Seasonal Law Enforcement Positions between Forest Service and the
National Park Service
Much discussion has occurred about the idea of sharing FLETC commissioned law enforcement officers,
but there has also been discussion around sharing seasonal officers such as Forest Service Protection
Officers (FPOs) and NPS seasonal rangers. The FWS and the BLM only hire full-commissioned, FLETC
trained law enforcement officers while the FS and the NPS can hire differently levels of officers.
Brought up by units in Colorado, Jennifer has been meeting with national LE&I leadership to discuss
this issue. At the last meeting, we all agreed that sharing seasonal law enforcement staff will be
addressed on a case-by-case basis with the Special Agent in Charge (FS) and the Washington Office staff
(NPS) making the final decision. Issues of scope of duties, chain of command and daily supervision,
levels of training, liability, and use of force are all issues that need to be considered prior to making a
decision. Jennifer is still staffing out some liability and legal questions with the USDA Office of
General Counsel and the DOI Solicitor’s Office. If you have specific questions, give Jennifer a call.
Funds Control Clause Added to Delegation of Authority letters
Raised during a FS/BLM agreement issue, the following statement will be included in FS Manual
direction for delegation of authority and included in future letters. Although not mandatory for other
agencies, the clause is pretty simple and will cover any questions regarding whether delegation of
authority allows another agency’s employee to expend or obligate funds.
“This delegation includes authority to obligate and expend Forest Service funds necessary to carry out
the [insert position name] responsibilities, including the dual signing of interagency agreements
between [insert agency] and the [insert agency] that cite Service First authority.”
If there is no possibility a delegated employee could sign an agreement or contract for two agencies,
you don’t have to have the last part of the clause (after the comma). We had a situation where a FS
employee was dual delegated BLM authority and, as the top official for both agencies at that unit,
signed agreements obligating funds for both agencies. Although permitted under Service First
authority, FS financial policy wanted to make sure that this financial delegation was clearly spelled out
– covers the employee as well as the agency. Please call if you have questions.
Service First Logo
You’ll notice at the top of this document that Service First has a new logo! Soon, downloadable
versions will be posted on the Service First website (http://www.fs.fed.us/servicefirst/). This logo is
not mandatory. Many units have already created their own interagency logo or style. This logo is not
intended to displace local symbols or force agencies to use it if they are partnering together on a
project. It is acceptable to use the official Agency shields without the Service First logo. Please see
use guidelines for more information. Stay tuned for the refreshed website later this summer!