1. #1
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    Default A little help for a newbie

    So I'm new to the world of grants. This past year our township cut our funding dramatically. No surprise i'm sure that's a common situation.What they did do was hire a grant writer. This person wrote several grants for the township and supposedly for the AFG one being for an ambulance, and one for the fire company for op's /safety . No one in the fire company saw the grant before it was submitted, (if it was submitted). My question is how do i verify this, and how do i access/ follow progress of this application assuming it was prepared properly.
    This professional has supposedly won awards for several fire depts. in our state and has given us info/advice that seems to be the opposite of many things I have read here.I am not saying he /she has done anything improper, I just feel that a representative from our dept, with our best intrest in mindshould be following and or reviewing this process. any help orr info would be greatly appreciated

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    First off, I'm very skeptical of this grant writer. A good grant writer would have come to the department to find out what the department's needs were, not just write a grant; if in fact it was even done.

    Couple of q's:

    1) Is the fire department a municipal department of the township or a seperate entity?

    2) They wrote a grant for an ambulance; for what agency?

    The only option at this point is to have the Chief go to the grant writer to find out what was done and see if they will provide info on the grant. Unless the grant writer/township is willing to provide the User Name & Password you will have no ability to track the grant.

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    bugle started with a few questions, and once we learn the answers to those...we can fill you in on plenty of other issues that could arise depending upon your situation.

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    OK, a question and a thought here. If the grant is written for a public entity, wouldn't it fall under public records laws? If that's the case, wouldn't the grant write have to provide a copy to the township/FD?

    Along with what onebugle said, the vast majority of grant writers I know work very closely with the department. Most (if not all) will also have the department read through the information before submitting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    OK, a question and a thought here. If the grant is written for a public entity, wouldn't it fall under public records laws? If that's the case, wouldn't the grant write have to provide a copy to the township/FD?

    Along with what onebugle said, the vast majority of grant writers I know work very closely with the department. Most (if not all) will also have the department read through the information before submitting.
    Forgot about that.....Right to Know Laws.
    Last edited by onebugle; 01-17-2010 at 01:38 PM.

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    Not to mention the fact that the Chief of the department is the one repsonsible for the content and substance of the grant and he did not see a copy before it was filed? That is not good at all. Chief needs to get the userid and password ASAP and check things out then we can tell you a lot more based on what you see there.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    We were asked to submit a "wish list" of sorts, I felt we should focus on a specific item or block of items, (updating our extrication equipment for example). but our chief gave a list of equipment that was in essence a wish list. from that the grant was supossedly written. Now from following the threads on this forum i've gotten many of the basics figured out , elegibility , what items possibly take preference. But my question is that who should have the user id and password for the application.I assume the submitter in this case the grant writer. Is it common practice to supply this info to a rep of the organization the grant is submitted for?. What is the Website addresss to use this info once it is obtained? and is there any other method of notification used in addition to posting online?

    Thank you I'm trying to figure this mess out. so at least in the future we as a company have more control.

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    The info is more than likely with the grant writer that has been hired by the township.

    You should be finding out if anyone from the department is even listed as one of the contacts. There are 3; the primary and 2 alternates.

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    I think if it were me, I'd have the chief or someone on the township's board/council (mayor if you have one) contact the grant writer and request copies of the grant(s) and all associated documents.

    If he gives you any grief, just have the townshiip's attorney send a follow-up request. Hopefully it won't come to that.

    Requesting the login information to your department's account into the portal might not be a bad thing, either.

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    Yes, get the login information. You are the ones responsible for the grant. Especially if something should go wrong and if something did go wrong, you wouldn't look very good without having seen or checked on something you were responsible for.

    If your unfamiliar with the process, or what something should look like, I would recommend you give your login information to someone here like Onebugle or Sly or Catch22 or others here who could once over it for you.

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    Unhappy don't hesitate

    Quote Originally Posted by jam24u View Post
    Yes, get the login information. You are the ones responsible for the grant. Especially if something should go wrong and if something did go wrong, you wouldn't look very good without having seen or checked on something you were responsible for.

    If your unfamiliar with the process, or what something should look like, I would recommend you give your login information to someone here like Onebugle or Sly or Catch22 or others here who could once over it for you.
    YOU are the ones financially responsible for everything in that grant!! What if he made false financial information or mis-stated the equipment you had regarding age or usage. Maybe you have 12 runs per year and he said you had 62 runs per year. You would be HUNG in an audit! You are responsible for what is filed on your behalf.

    I would get the username and password and then go in and change the password AND the backup questions. Along with all contact information. You may give grant writer access but that USERNAME is and should be yours forever no matter who writes the grant. Best to have only one usename per department.

    Don't hesitate, get it back now.

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    From the PG:

    Hiring a grant writer, or use of any other third party in preparing the application, does not eliminate the applicant’s responsibility for ensuring that information contained in the application is true and correct. Applicants who submit false information with their applications, or misrepresent their organizations in any material manner, will have their applications deemed ineligible by the AFG Program Office and referred to DHS OIG for further action, as appropriate.
    pg. 42 #7

    You may decide to hire or engage a grant writer to assist you in the application process. However, as the applicant, you are responsible not only for the cost associated with using outside assistance but also for all information contained in your application. By submitting the application, you are certifying that all of the information contained therein is true and is an accurate reflection of your organization. Therefore, prior to submission, please review all work produced by grant writers, or other third parties, on your behalf. Applicants who falsify their applications or misrepresent their organizations in any material manner will have their applications deemed ineligible by the AFG Program Office and referred to the DHS OIG for further action, as appropriate.
    pg. 44

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    Wink Create a new account and search

    You can create a new account by clicking new user. Once you have a username and password setup, you can go in and see if your agency exists in the system. Once you login, I believe the icon says "check to see if someone has started an application for your organization". You can't view the old information, but you can see what previous years someone applied and request access to them. It will also give you the contact name and phone number for the old accounts. All you need is the organization name, city and state to search. I've done this a few times for people who lost their password.

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    I can tell you a number of "horror stories" about departments here locally having problems. Our LEPD director got into writing grants for departments, which at face value isn't a bad thing. However, he's less than educated on how things work and has been known to not only bend the rules, but break them clean off.

    One department I know used to be a rural and city department; seperate on paper, but used the same stations, equipment, and personnel to fight fires in either area. They were awarded apparatus two straight years, before that was allowed. They won the first under the city department, the second under the rural. Fortunately AFG caught on and pulled the second before it was ordered and money paid, otherwise they would have been in major financial trouble.

    Same department got an award for X number of sets of bunker gear. They got a deal and decided to order more. The grant writer advised them they could, so they didn't check. AFG found out and they had to reimburse for the extra sets of gear they bought.

    I had to help a department with a couple of closeouts recently. The first occassion the grant writer completely dropped the ball and didn't mention how they took the replaced vehicle out of service. I spent some time, did the narrative and got it closed out without a problem, but they were left high and dry by the other guy.

    Same department as the last example wrote in one section of the grant they wanted a washer and dryer, in another just the amount for the washer, and was approved for just the washer. Grant writer told them to go ahead and buy both, so they didn't check to make sure. I helped out with close-out and managed to have enough excess funds to cover almost all the cost of the dryer. They got lucky on that one.

    I've also seen false information used, not only by this guy but by other grant writers. I know one department that got awarded 16 sets of gear to outfit their 16 guys. The problem is, they had 8 sets of new gear already and reported on the application they had 24 guys so they could get all 16 in matching, new gear.

    Another instance is a department that requested a new brush truck. Between the application and award, they recieved a foundation grant to buy the truck. They decided they still needed the brush truck through AFG and never let them know their circumstances changed. If AFG ever audits and gets in that deep, I'm betting they have to pay back over $100K.

    That's just a few examples I know of. Be VERY wary anytime you opt to hire a grant writer. Kurt, Brian, and several others that post on here I wouldn't be afraid of hiring. I wouldn't even give it a second thought. Some of the others, no way would I hire them until I did a LOT of background searching on them.

    To be honest, spend the money that you would hiring a grant writer and attend one of Kurt's or Brian's seminars. Hell, go to both, I have.

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    You know Catch, that reinforces even more my desire to be audited. Reminds me of the times I would see a game warden or Coast Guard while being on the water. I would almost have to drag them over to check my safety gear and dealer documentation, because I put a lot of effort and money in to make sure the vessels were compliant and by god I wanted to get inspected. My stories reminded me of what you posted above. Maybe those grant writers can explain to themselves and others about why they feel justified in exaggerating the facts to their benefit, but to me that department who just didn't make the end of the funding list got screwed by the department that intentionally falsified the facts.

    Not trying to be the ethics police about this, but it steams me a bit that the fair and honest got cut out by the ones who weren't.

    Integrity is a reason to be involved with someone or not with someone. Integrity is everything. It is what matters.
    Last edited by jam24u; 01-18-2010 at 08:37 PM.

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