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Frequently Asked Questions for Experts, Consultants or Contractors Employed by the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia
Contracting with our Office
When a case requires the services of an expert or outside vendor, a member of the case team will contact their chosen provider and discuss details of the services needed. The Financial Administrator will then create a contract with the exact terms and conditions, and then contact the provider before any services begin.
Your contract is for an hourly rate and completed work must be invoiced in this manner. Flat fees for services, or certain aspects of services, cannot be reimbursed.
This Office will not pay invoices that are greater than the "Not to Exceed" amount in the contract. The “Not to Exceed” amount is a maximum amount and we ask experts and vendors to be fiscally responsible, as the Federal Defenders Office operates on a limited budget. If services can be completed without spending the maximum, please do so. If additional services are requested by the office, then the contract amount can be increased through supplemental funding, upon approval. Please ensure that your initial assessment of the hours needed is correct.
All information shared about a current case should be considered confidential and written permission must be granted before sharing any such information.
Billing, Invoices, and Payment Procedures
We are an agency of the Federal Government and are tax exempt, please reflect this in your invoices. This Office is prohibited from paying for any item or service that has not yet been received.
We cannot pay for work that was done before a contract is signed.
Government regulations dictate that the following information that must be included on an invoice:
- your business name;
- remittance address; and
- detailed information including the date(s), number of hours, client name, and description of the specific work performed in those hours;
If your invoice does not have invoice numbers, please consider creating a system that includes invoices with specific invoice numbers. This allows for a quick verification of what invoices have been paid.
Invoices should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for payment.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Financial Administrator with questions or concerns.
WE DO NOT ISSUE YOUR CHECK. Payment checks are sent from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia’s financial office, in a small manila envelope. Payment information (corresponding invoice number) will be in the center of the check, near the top.
There is a four level approval process for invoice payments and while most payments are received in 5-10 business days from the time of receipt, payments should be expected within 30 calendar days.
After 30 days, please contact Michael Carrasco, the Administrative Officer for assistance.
Service Related Travel
In some cases, travel is necessary to perform the office’s requested expert services. Travel must be explicitly authorized in a contract for any reimbursement of travel expenses. If an expert intends to seek travel reimbursement, then travel expenses must be part of the original quote for services. Please review the following list of guidelines before you travel or bill for travel directly related to services within a contract:
- Travel reimbursement costs are included in the “Not to Exceed” amount in the contract, and the office is not obligated to pay any amount in excess of the “Not to Exceed” ceiling stated in the contract.
- Lodging, transportation, and food are not covered, under any circumstance, unless there is prior approval and explicit approval within the contact.
- Food items cannot be reimbursed unless there is an authorized overnight stay needed to complete your requested work.
Reimbursement is for costs incurred, capped at the government rate, and receipts must be attached for all travel related items with your invoice, no full per diem rate reimbursements will be made.
We do not reimburse for entertainment or alcoholic beverages.
Make travel reservations with our Administrative Officer, Michael Carrasco (703) 600 - 0830, in order to guarantee reimbursement.
Mileage reimbursement is based on the annual GSA mileage reimbursement rates. Click here to find the most recent rate.
Mileage reimbursement can only be authorized for trips with one-way travel greater than 40.00 miles from your place of business, using Google Maps, taking the shortest distance. This is at the discretion of the Federal Public Defender, and is not automatically included in funding or a contract, unless explicitly stated.