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RED TAPE - Defined

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  • RED TAPE - Defined

    RED TAPE: (noun) ? Official routine or procedure marked by excessive complexity which results in delay or inaction. Also known as: ?Bureaucratic Red Tape?.

    Example: The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program started in 2001 with a paper application and required that the applicant supply an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and a Checking Account Number as part of their application.

    18 years later, in addition to the EIN and Checking Account Number, the AFG now has an Online Application ?Portal?, applicants are required to supply a ?Dun and Bradstreet Number? (DUNS), must maintain a Systems of Awards Management (SAM) account, and must now open a FEMA Grants Outcome (FEMA-GO) account, of which doesn?t seem to work correctly. All of this, and application periods are now 6+ months later in the year and awards start 12+ months later in the year.

    Continuing with the ?Bureaucracy? theme, FEMA and the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) now offer a 4-day course for ?Grants Management?. The course description says that ??the course covers high-level grant management principles with the understanding that processes may differ from program to program.? Yet the 4-day ?high level grant management? course is titled ?FUNDAMENTALS of Grants Management?. And of course, the link to the application for the course, and the application instructions, is broken.

  • #2
    You are so right. I mean, all this for the measly millions of dollars in Grants? I think you should not accept any grant funds - turn them down in protest. Too much paperwork for all that money.


    • #3
      Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
      You are so right. I mean, all this for the measly millions of dollars in Grants? I think you should not accept any grant funds - turn them down in protest. Too much paperwork for all that money.
      Settle down now Bud. Just having fun pointing out the irony that the application has more systems in place, there are fewer awards, I'm guessing there are more federal employees and contractors involved,... yet the application is much more complex and many months slower. To the point that they are running up hard against the federal budget year deadline, even though year after year they announce that they are trying to get back into timelines similar to 15 years ago. We used to be able to give a reasonable prediction to our Boards/Councils/Chiefs as to when awards were coming and when the application period is coming. Anymore, any "prediction" is a wild guess at best.


      • #4
        More complex application? Nah. Yeah, delays this year due to a mandated change to web based changes, along with peer being computer based after years of paper applications. Try telling your Board/Council/Chiefs to "settle down now Bud", and let them know this is still the BEST grant program for the Fire Service. Those of us that have been getting awards since... 2002? have seen many issues, but in the end it all works out.

        If they don't chill, try Thorazine.


        • #5
          Blake, I was thinking Prozac, but Thorazine will work to.
          If God be for us, who can be against us. Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the light.


          • #6
            Bear in mind that this is a grant system that passes out hundreds of millions of dollars each year and requires zero pieces of paper to apply for funds, receive those funds, and report on expenditures. In many ways, it is a model of efficiency.

            At the same time, it is often sidetracked by reallocation of staffing to emergent disasters, and in this year's case, by an overly ambitious time frame for implementing new technology. Setting GO aside, this year would have been just as efficient as any other, but somebody somewhere made the decision to push GO into operation before rather than after awards, and that's where the whole thing derailed.
            “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
            ― Hunter S. Thompson


            • #7
              I don't like to complain, and I've had a lot of success with the program over the last decade or so that I've submitted applications for different departments. But, I have to agree with Wolf8552. 10-11 months between application submission and notifications about awards or denials is ridiculous at best. Especially on the denials - I really don't see why those couldn't be released months ago.

              And, EastKyFF - I may not have to submit any paper to FEMA, but I certainly kill plenty of trees making sure all my record keeping is in perfect order just in case they want to see it or it's needed for audit.


              • #8
                Dropping denials was nice in an odd way when it happened in April last year even though final notifications didn't show up until September. We had about 30 departments who couldn't apply in 2018 because there was only 2 weeks between final denials and the app period opening up, so they didn't have enough weeks until the app period closed to get permission from the powers that be for the matching funds or anything else. So they had to sit out. Back in the day the progressive denials was a good thing, it gave those who needed to do more work to improve that time to do it before the next go-round instead of having to make rash decisions about what someone they didn't know thought or didn't think, and then tear apart what was most likely a solid narrative only to make it worse the next cycle and get canned again.

                Most grants are an extended notification, I'm used to it since some of these private foundations take a year to decide also.
                Brian P. Vickers
                CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
                FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor


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