15. Can HOPE-funded projects utilize a pre-existing contract with a private firm to carry out the work?
No. An existing contract for private consultant services may not be utilized for the proposed HOPE-funded work unless all competition requirements are satisfied. Per 2 CFR 200.319(a), all procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner that provides full and open competition, eliminates unfair competitive advantage, and ensures objective contractor performance. Applicants also must avoid creating situations that would unfairly favor a private firm that may have helped develop the HOPE application or preclude other firms from competing.