1.     Program spending may not depart from the approved program budget unless:

   a. An amendment has been presented and approved or,

   b. An unforeseen and unavoidable situation has occurred (e.g., the cost of rent or fuel 
        increased unexpectedly).

2.    Salary Changes

       In general, salaries of management staff are set by the CEO, in consultation with the Director of Human Resources. Division Directors have authority to make individual changes in program management staff salaries, either because of changes in duties or to address inequities between managers' salaries, but not to make global changes in program manager salary levels. However, any such change in a manager’s salary must be reviewed and approved by the Director of HR prior to implementation. Wages of most Direct Care staff are set through the Union contract negotiation process and may not vary from the agreed-upon contract. There are certain other non-bargaining-unit/non-management positions for which Program Directors may have some discretion in setting salaries. If a proposed position/salary change affects only the internal budget of the program (i.e. the only change would be a line item shift within the pre-established program budget), the Program Director may make the change, provided that s/he obtains the prior approval of the Director of HR. If the proposed change affects any contracts, or changes the client/staff ratio, the change must have the approval of the Division Director, indicating that all budgetary consequences have been appropriately considered, in addition to the HR Director’s sign-off. The "Employee Change of Status Form" reflects the needed approvals/signatures as noted above.

3.    Program Expenditures

All program expenditures, including expenditures under the transportation, recreation and training line items, must be related to client treatment. Program Directors must review, approve, and sign all invoices and receipts except for bills for routine payments such as rent and telephones. Receipts for all non-routine expenditures to be charged to recreation, training, transportation or food, must be accompanied by a written explanation of the expenditure, including:

a. A list of the clients(s) on the receipt (designated by initials to protect client confidentiality),

b. Staff for whom the expenditure was made,

c. A statement explaining its relevance to client treatment.

4.   Parties , Gifts

Generally, agency funds may not be used for parties or gifts for staff for birthdays, anniversaries, when they leave the agency or at any other time. Parties and/or gifts given to staff must be given on a voluntary basis from the personal funds of individual staff members. The only exception to this would be a staff going-away party attended by clients, which is deemed clinically necessary to assist clients in processing the separation. Reasonable costs of a party in this instance can be charged to program funds. Also, agency funds may be used to pay for flowers or similar gifts in the case of the death or serious illness of an employee or a close family member.

Agency funds from the administrative budget may be used for gifts or parties for board members and/or outside people (e.g., a reception for board members, flowers for a staff person from another agency who is ill) at the discretion of the CEO.

Agency funds from the program budget may be used for client gifts. There is a limit of $25.00 per gift per event (birthday, Christmas, anniversary in program or graduation from program) per client.

5.   Staff Training/Meetings

Staff training money from program budgets may be used for professional workshops whether inside or outside of ServiceNet. The meeting or retreat must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a specific training/professional development agenda;
  2. Be conducted by a qualified facilitator;
  3. Have content specifically related to the professional responsibilities of the staff attending.

ServiceNet may pay for outside workshops whose fees include meals. When meals are not included in a workshop fee (and therefore mealtime is not part of the workshop experience), the Travel Expenses policy should be followed (See Section 6, below). 

When a program conducts a professional workshop or retreat for staff (meeting the criteria above), the program budget may pay for a modest meal; however, no program will pay for more than two staff meals per fiscal year. Food may not be purchased from agency funds for staff meetings unless a professional workshop is being conducted or outside consultants or fee-for-service personnel are present and participating in the meeting. 

Similarly, no more than two workshops per year for support or administrative staff may include a meal. In addition, quarterly Management Team meetings, as well as New Staff Orientations, to occur no more than once a month (and each new staff will attend just once), may include food. Also, ServiceNet as a whole may conduct a maximum of two agency-wide events per year which include a staff meal. ServiceNet’s monthly board meetings may include food provided to board members, as well as to staff members who attend the meetings. 

ServiceNet will not pay for staff members to go to a restaurant for special meetings to discuss clients or any other issues. 

Workshops or training outside of ServiceNet require a description of training and signed approval by Program Director and Division Director. 

The agency may provide food and/or hotel accommodations to outside people for meetings or special events at the discretion of the CEO. 

Staff awards may be given with prior approval of the  CEO.

6. Travel Expenses

For travel related to program business, the agency will reimburse mileage at $.28/mile, plus actual cost of tolls and reasonable parking expenses. (The mileage rate may be revised when the rate approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts changes.) Alternatively, the actual cost of reasonable public transportation may be reimbursed.

If an employee is required to be out of town (defined as more than 75 miles from his/her normal workplace) for more than 24 hours, the agency will reimburse the reasonable costs of lodging, as well as a per diem rate to cover meals and incidental expenses (such as tips for hotel personnel). The current per diem rate is $42/day for "high-cost localities" (as defined by the IRS, and generally including large metropolitan areas) and $34/day for all other localities. The employee should consult with the CFO to verify which cities/areas are currently defined as "high-cost". If the employee is gone for a time period which includes fraction of a day (e.g. 2 ½ days), the per diem rate paid will be pro-rated. Lodging costs are not included in the per diem rate, and receipts must be submitted for lodging.

When requesting reimbursement of expenses related to out-of-town conferences or other overnight business travel, the special Expense Reimbursement for Overnight Conferences should be used.

7.  Capital Purchases

A capital purchase is defined (by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) as any item (or group or related items) of furniture or equipment costing more than $1,500.00, or major repair or improvement costing more than $500.00. See separate "Capital Purchases" policy for guidance regarding these expenditures.

8.  Non-Reimbursable Costs

The following items are considered "non-Reimbursable costs" by the State Division of Purchased Services and may never be charged to any state or federal contract funds or client fees:

Fund-raising Expenses


Gifts, parties, or food for staff only

Bad Debts


Marketing or Advertising (other than classified ads for staff positions)

9.  Violation of Policy

Whenever any receipts or bills submitted for reimbursement violate or appear to violate any part of this policy, it is the responsibility of the Chief Financial Officer to withhold payment on the item and inform the Division Manager of the apparent violation of policy, within three working days of receipt of the item. The Division Manager, in turn, is responsible for notifying the Program Director of the problem within two working days of his/her notification by the CFO. The Division Manager and CFO will jointly resolve the problem.