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  • Do the political leaders know?

    I received a call the end of last week from someone from our Congressional Reps office (I will not share the name of the Rep) asking us to do a radio spot for the congressmans election. He based this on we received an award from the 2004 "FIRE Grant" and 2006 "FIRE Grant".

    I told him the 2006 awards were not announced yet and seed the opportunity to put him through an inquisition. He backpedeled something fierce and refused to further discuss our awards.

    We will be doing the radio spot. I am kinda excited about this but I am very cautious about our optimism. So I guess what I am asking is what would be the validity of this "disclosure"?

  • #2
    We recieved a grant in 02. We have not been asked to make or endorse any candiate. Supposely, their letters of support have NO bearing on the outcome of the grant. I would go back and see if they supported the legislation to do the fire grant and the amount of funding they suggested and did they sign this. If they didn't, well you might be in a pickle!

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    • #3
      That too was my impression that the political leaders had no bearing on the AFG other than to alot the money and let you know if you received any. The congressman has been a avid supporter of the AFG and also sits on the appropriations committee.

      Again, taking this all with a grain of salt, but I feel this is an odd coincidence.

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      • #4
        Our Congressman avidly supports AFG and his office is "distressed" over all of the delays. We were awarded in '02 and '04 and the only thing that they have ever wanted was to be mentioned or to let them also release a press release from their office to the media about the awards. They may not be "technically" suppose to make a difference as far as support goes, but they can use their contacts to help get info regarding apps.
        The Grant Specialist with our congressman's office has informed me that our app has been looked at several times and that it could be in the running for an award. That is no gimme but he said in the past when he was told that about other depts., they were awarded. It is an election year for many and their offices seem to really want to help out as much as they can.
        Just my 2 cents worth.
        sigpic
        "Just remember. No matter where you go. There you are!"

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        • #5
          I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you cannot tell me that there is no political influence on awards. I am not saying you cannot get an award without the letters of support. However, this a federally funded program, operated by individuals with ties to the federal government. I do know that a certain area close to me has received awards three years in a row and coincidently has ties to the regions congressman. Be it as it may, I am going for the letters of support every chance I get!!

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          • #6
            Come to think of it now, he did say in one phone conversation, that if our grant app made it pass the computer, and if they could find out if it was going to pass peer review, that they would send a letter to DHS recommending it to be funded. They didn't get involved until a couple of months ago. So they wanted the application cover sheet that had app # and dept. info so they could "take a look at it". At this point, I'll take any help!
            sigpic
            "Just remember. No matter where you go. There you are!"

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            • #7
              Letters may be helpful, but we have received funding for 3 out of 5 AFG's without any outside assistance. No letters of support, no writing assistance. Just answer the questions truthfully and paint the picture of why you deserve funding in the narrative. I have written all five of the grants, plus a successful CEDAP and other federal grants and the biggest asset to winning is the advice from the knowledgeable folks on these forums. However if you folks can get a letter to help further your cause, then more power to you!
              Glenn Rainey
              Colington Fire Department
              Dare County, North Carolina
              The Outer Banks

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              • #8
                It's my belief that a Congressional office can sometimes intervene to truly help an award happen. If i'm right, i hope it's only done for great need and not for political payback. I further believe that AFG and CEDAP may be some of the cleanest run Federal programs there are, and the program managers and staffs work hard to keep it that way. (Thanks to all the Peer Reviewers volunteer their time and energy also!!)

                In theory, the letter of support is used after an application is in award range and signifies local support for the award. If that holds true, the letters may rarely have any real impact on specific awards. It is, however, highly important to all of us that each applicant request letters from their Congressman, Senators, and top local officials. The narrative that we send along with each support request serves as a reminder of the dire straits that many departments face. In the big picture, Congressional letters of support continue to remind our legislators of the need for funding and the risks we face if funding does not continue.

                I would encourage any department applying to use their AFG, SAFER, FPS, and CDEAP applications as a reminder of the needs we face in the fire service.

                earl

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                • #9
                  A Congressional Office sure can intervene to help with a grant. But his Congressional office better not be solicating your help with a campaign ad. That call better be coming from his campaign office, and only his campaign office, and even than it borders on the ethical edge.
                  Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
                  -Big Russ

                  Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

                  Originally posted by nyckftbl
                  LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by imafireman
                    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you cannot tell me that there is no political influence on awards. I am not saying you cannot get an award without the letters of support. However, this a federally funded program, operated by individuals with ties to the federal government. I do know that a certain area close to me has received awards three years in a row and coincidently has ties to the regions congressman. Be it as it may, I am going for the letters of support every chance I get!!
                    I hate to be the bearer of more bad news -- Congressmen/women and Senators have no bearing/political influence on awards. And I work for a Congressman who is heavily involved with the fire service, so I know this first hand. We get plenty of e-mails and letters from folks complaining that they have been rejected.

                    And yes, the request for the campaign ad has to come from the campaign office. If it's from the Washington office or the District office, it's an ethics violation.
                    Last edited by DianeC; 08-30-2006, 04:36 PM.
                    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
                    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

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                    • #11
                      Just to clarify it was from an election office PR person who lives within our fire district, so in actuality they are quite far down on the food chain and may have no knowledge of our actual grant but rather an intention to get our department PR w/the Congressman. The last post just put me into this into perspective for me.

                      Thanks.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DianeC
                        I hate to be the bearer of more bad news -- Congressmen/women and Senators have no bearing/political influence on awards. And I work for a Congressman who is heavily involved with the fire service, so I know this first hand. We get plenty of e-mails and letters from folks complaining that they have been rejected.

                        And yes, the request for the campaign ad has to come from the campaign office. If it's from the Washington office or the District office, it's an ethics violation.
                        You don't send letters to go along with your folks applications? While it is not a big help, it can sway things to a positive end for the applications that might be balanceing on the fence.
                        Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
                        -Big Russ

                        Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

                        Originally posted by nyckftbl
                        LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Actually it won't sway any decisions if you're not already in the potential scoring zone. But if your situation seems to show that you can't afford what you applied for and you have a letter from lots of officials at all levels of government stating that they will help the department meet its obligations if awarded, that would be the difference in Tech Review. You could be passed over if it doesn't seem like you'd be able to meet the requirements of the award. So send them in, it at least makes the offices aware that you are applying for the program and it is still needed. If we don't apply, make noise for more money, and spread the success stories they could cut the funding. We're lucky that there were nearly 3,000 less applications this year and they are still increasing the funding for 2007.
                          Brian P. Vickers
                          www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                          Emergency Services Consulting
                          Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                          Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with all of you and would like to ad my two cents. Politicians control the money, period! Although a letter of support is by no means a "magic bullet" it is nonetheless something that conveys to the congressional rep and to the USFA that this is a program that needs to be on the front burner all the time. Squeaky wheels get oiled many times and it never hurts to enlist the aid of your local politicians in resolving your needs and issues. If you application failed, and you congressman is aware it has failed, then their offices may be able to point you to other funding sources that can assist in resolving those issues and I am not specifically referring ot just Federal grant programs.

                            I am currently aware of one of my clients who, after being instructed to alert the grants liaison person at his local congressmans office of their plight, is now recieving $5000.00 in funding quarterly from that congressman's input and direction. It never hurts folks! These politicians are experts at fundraising, they know where the money is and how and whom to contact to get it. Don't ignore this vital link ot the grants process.
                            Kurt Bradley
                            Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
                            " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Im surprised no one has bylaws against endorsing someone for political office. It was written into ours 75 years ago. Even members can't portray the department so it can't be construed that the department endorses any particular candidate.

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