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  • SAFER '05 rejection while we wait

    Okay, while we wait for whatever happens next (10q's for AFG, CEDAP III, FPS app, etc)....here's my question from last year's SAFER rejection....

    We are all volunteer, applied for R & R--no hiring. We have a generous disability/life plan and our members had no (and i mean zero) interest in LOSAP (100% preferred equipment or training) So...our project elements submitted were:
    1. Training reimbursement toward additional certifications. Narrative stated that travel & lodging might be reimbursed with department approval. Would serve retention (renewed interest) and recruiting (opportunity, especially for the young).
    2. Entry level physicals and mandantory training.
    3. Matching t-shirts for all members, uniform pants and shirts (we don't have now) and instituting a special jacket award at 5 years service (suitable for duty) with a plaque at 20 years. Would serve retention (pride and sense of belonging) and recruiting (increased public awareness, visibility, etc).

    We had an early "Dear John" citing "inelligible activity". Item 2 seemed fine, so i assumed that #1 was inelligible because of travel and lodging instead of just reimbursing tuition. The R & R section of the PG there was silent on clothing, so i assumed that #3 was okay. Figured it had been a long-shot anyway, and filed it.

    Then, when i was reading the '06 SAFER PG, i noticed that under the Hiring project all items of clothing are specifically excluded. There was a similar exclusion under hiring for '05, but no exclusion for articles of clothing under recruitment and retention. I spoke with a couple of DHS employees at FDIC in '05 before the PG was released and they said "be creative", so i thought i was.

    Could it be that the specific exclusion on articles of clothing in the Hiring Project caused the "inelligible activity" under Recruitment & Retention" in computer scoring? Or is it possible that the reimbursement for travel & lodging was the culprit after all.

    Thanks for the input to a group project and here's hoping others can learn from my error. Speak your minds, i'll not be offended. Let's disect this failure.

    earl (wiser now than a year ago. wise enough??)

  • #2
    Originally posted by Greenacres2
    Could it be that the specific exclusion on articles of clothing in the Hiring Project caused the "inelligible activity" under Recruitment & Retention" in computer scoring? Or is it possible that the reimbursement for travel & lodging was the culprit after all.

    earl (wiser now than a year ago. wise enough??)
    As if I did not have enough to worry about.... What a day.

    My gut feeling is that there is no restriction insofar as clothing
    for recruiting and retention. But, I am by no means an expert...

    Comment


    • #3
      From the FAQs:

      I'm applying for a recruitment and retention grant. May I use SAFER funds to pay for training of firefighters recruited under the program?
      Maybe. The recruitment and retention activity of SAFER was created to help fire departments maintain or increase their complement of firefighters by establishing incentives for firefighters to join the department or to stay with the department. If an applicant can show a relationship between its recruitment problems and the lack of training, or if an applicant can show a relationship between its inability to retain volunteers and the lack of training, then we may consider funding the training. We will not, however, fund the training if the applicant does not provide a compelling rationale to show that training is integral to satisfying a recruitment and/or retention problem. Regardless of the justification, the SAFER funds will not fund training for any department that has a training grant under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

      You could have fallen short on explaining this, but being as it was denied early I'd bet on the uniforms since they are specifically mentioned as being ineligible under Hiring. Since the Program Guidance is only a subset of the actual law governing the program, it may have been one of those details left out. Besides the fact that uniforms are highly perishable and you're going to probably have to supply 2 or more t-shirts per year per person because they'll wear out. Then what? Kinda hard to claim that you need federal funding for something that is going to need replacing so often, and also being claimed as a major cog in the recruitment and retention of people. If you can't afford to buy the t-shirts after the federal funding dries up, are the people going to leave because of it? It's almost the same as those that didn't say they'd continue to fund the program locally after year 4. It's not required, but when you compare one that will with one that won't, the one that will has a better case built.

      Not trying to beat you over the head with anything Earl, just throwing out the view from the other side. After all, that's the side DHS and the reviewers are on.

      One must understand the other side and predict their questions and hesitancies before pressing the Submit button. As I say in class, you have to answer the questions that haven't even been asked yet. Writing is a frame of mind in that sense.

      Reminds me, need more brad nails to put my frame of mind back together, it's falling apart.

      - Brian
      Brian P. Vickers
      www.vickersconsultingservices.com
      Emergency Services Consulting
      Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
      Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

      Comment


      • #4
        Go to www.roybluntforcongress.com
        Under press releases dated 11/3/2005 Bolivar, Missouri received $482,085 SAFER grant to hire and retain firefighters.
        Bolivar Fire Department spokesman Theron Becker, "We will use the money to buy uniforms to give the department a more professional look and provide volunteers with personal equipment as a reward for their service."

        Comment


        • #5
          Just checked under 2005 SAFER awards and Bolivar Fire Department received $82,085.00
          Big difference from the press release.

          Comment


          • #6
            They got $112K for PPE in 2005 AFG, $26K for FP, and $44k for Ops & Safety. Not even $400K between everything. Could have had the hiring dropped because the local checkwriters didn't support it, like so many other places.

            Probably a "typo" on the amount since the $ is on the 4 key. Done that myself a few times.

            Service awards of equipment are explicitly eligible, such as jackets and whatnot. still leaves uniform related stuff up in the air.
            Brian P. Vickers
            www.vickersconsultingservices.com
            Emergency Services Consulting
            Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
            Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

            Comment


            • #7
              We got a 2005 SAFER for Hiring and Recruit and Retention with our Recruit and Retention request including uniforms among other things. (no uniforms for hiring) So, I doubt that it was the uniform request that got you kicked out.

              Did your request include addressing a volunteer coordinator position and/or volunteer recruit and retention plan. If not, then that could be what made you "inelligible".

              Just guessing

              Comment


              • #8
                Well that answers the uniform question.

                That would then more than likely point to the training because as the FAQ answer says there has to be compelling reasons that the training would recruit or retain people. Since training is a main AFG project, and there is supposed to be no duplication of projects across programs, without proof that training will belp build and keep the membership of the department, it's out for SAFER.
                Brian P. Vickers
                www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                Emergency Services Consulting
                Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                Comment


                • #9
                  Could NFPA compliant stationwear be classed as equipment?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    No, only protective-type equipment & clothing. From the PG:

                    Uniforms (formal/parade or station/duty) and uniform items (hats, badges, etc.) are also ineligible expenditures under this activity.
                    Brian P. Vickers
                    www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                    Emergency Services Consulting
                    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Earl

                      By early "Dear John" do you mean your application did not make it to peer review?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chiefmax1200
                        Earl

                        By early "Dear John" do you mean your application did not make it to peer review?
                        Didn't make peer review. It may have just barely made it into the computer!!

                        Brian has made a number of excellent points. It's interesting to think that a written exclusion in one activity (Hiring) might be an unwritten exclusion in R & R. That thought alone will forever change the way i read PG's.

                        Chiefmax, we didn't include a volunteer coordinator, but it seems that would have resulted in lower scoring (perhaps out of the competitive range), not an inelligible activity. Just guessing here, but it's a thought.

                        Great discussion so far, thanks for the input.

                        earl (hoping to learn from my mistakes)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Greenacres2
                          Didn't make peer review. It may have just barely made it into the computer!!

                          Brian has made a number of excellent points. It's interesting to think that a written exclusion in one activity (Hiring) might be an unwritten exclusion in R & R. That thought alone will forever change the way i read PG's.

                          Chiefmax, we didn't include a volunteer coordinator, but it seems that would have resulted in lower scoring (perhaps out of the competitive range), not an inelligible activity. Just guessing here, but it's a thought.

                          Great discussion so far, thanks for the input.

                          earl (hoping to learn from my mistakes)
                          Earl I would agree with Brian . I think since you got the boot at computer scoring, it picked up on the ineligible items ( uniforms) and axed you.
                          Kurt Bradley
                          Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
                          " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ktb9780
                            Earl I would agree with Brian . I think since you got the boot at computer scoring, it picked up on the ineligible items ( uniforms) and axed you.
                            I talked with the help desk today, and they said as long as the uniforms
                            were tied to an incentive type program, they would NOT be a reason to
                            kick the application during computer scoring, at least for the recruiting
                            and retention aspects.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think that puts us back at the training like I mentioned in Post #8. Both are eligible or ineligible based on what you say in the narrative, so with the uniforms as proposed being part of the program to keep people in, it would have to be the training giving it the boot by the computer.
                              Brian P. Vickers
                              www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                              Emergency Services Consulting
                              Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                              Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                              Comment

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