(1) An employer has the right to appeal when a recommending entity:
(a) fails to take action on a grant application for more than 30 days after submission by the employer;
(b) decides not to recommend grant funding for incumbent worker training; or
(c) recommends less grant funding than requested.
(2) The employer first must seek informal administrative review of a funding recommendation by submitting a written request for review, a copy of the grant application, and a copy of the notice letter to the appropriate entity, as follows:
(a) funding decisions of a BEAR program must be submitted for review to the Montana Economic Development Association, MEDA-BEAR Working Group, 118 E. Seventh Street, Suite 2A, Anaconda, MT 59711; (406) 563-5259;
(b) funding decisions of a SBDC must be submitted for review to the Department of Commerce, SBDC Lead Center, Business Resources Division, Room 116, P.O. Box 200505, Helena, MT 59620-0505; (406) 841-2769; and
(c) funding decisions of MMEC must be submitted for review to the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, P.O. Box 174255, Bozeman, MT 59717; (406) 994-3876.
(3) The entity providing administrative review shall evaluate the funding decision and send a written notice of findings and recommendations to the employer and the department within 30 days of receipt of the request for review.
(4) Within 20 days of the mailing of the notice of findings and recommendations by the entity providing administrative review, the department shall consider the findings and recommendations and make a final decision on the grant application and notify the parties in writing.
(5) Within 20 days of the mailing of the notice of the final decision of the department, the employer may submit a written request to the department for a contested case proceeding, pursuant to Title 2, chapter 4, MCA, to challenge a department action to deny a grant application or to provide less grant funding than requested.
(6) The employer bears the burden of demonstrating that the action by the department constitutes an abuse of discretion.
(7) A BEAR program which is aggrieved by a decision to either deny recognition or to remove recognition pursuant to ARM 24.22.304 may submit a written request to the department for a contested case proceeding, pursuant to Title 2, chapter 4, MCA, within 20 days of being notified of the decision to deny or remove recognition.