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    Default Need Explaination

    Can anyone tell me Why, after a decade of AFG do we find ourselves in this situation? Its January folks JANUARY that's right the first month of a new year. And we are STILL waiting for the release of the first round?

    Why is it? That we need "system upgrades" to make things run smoother and this is the result?...Uh sorry not looking like it .. box the crap back up and return it cause its not working. In past years there was more funding available. which in my mind you would think would present a larger problem distributing the funds. But even then the majority went out in the same CALENDER YEAR as the application!!!!!

    Now we find ourselves in 2010 waiting for funds from 2009 applications that somehow got sidelined by unresolved issues from 2008????? You have to admit if WE as first responders provided this type of service they would be hunting us down with torches and pitchforks.

    Our elected officials who choose to allow this to go on need to be reevaluated at election time. Yes i say "choose" because if they wanted to they could pry themselves away from their pet projects and resolve this. If this were an election year you can bet they would be all over it and of course using it to their political advantage.

    So please, can anyone tell me why in January of 2010 we are waiting for funds that should have been released in August of 2009? What is the problem? what is the solution? and why hasnt that solution been implemented yet?

    This is NOT a new program its been running for over TEN YEARS and instead of getting better and running smoother its getting worse every year...who is asleep at the wheel and why hasnt someone knocked them to the side and regained control of this goat roping contest??

    Anyone have a clue?
    Last edited by falcon325; 01-21-2010 at 09:00 AM.

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    Nice rant. I should know, I do them often enough. Might think about starting a chapter of the Tea Party Patriots in your county. (I did)

    I think AFG has got to be one of the better run federal programs. Outside of the military. LOL The state governments muddied up the HSGP projects for the local departments.

    Actually, looking back I think the AFG office has done pretty well with the added pressures of stimulus funding (SCG) as a political priority being thrown within the middle of the year and no real staff increases to handle it. So I hear anyway.

    Someone wanting new computer systems on top of the delays. AFG getting 380 million pulled out and thrown into 2010 SAFER and then the lobbying to get the AFG extension to 2014.

    Fankly, I'm surprised its running this smoothly.

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    Default Nice Rant

    I agree with jam.
    "There's no such thing as a bad day,
    Some are just better than others." JFR 1914-1997

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    1. The nation is broke.

    2. The Federal Gov't is criminally incompetent. The FG program has been around long enough it has been infected with all the Fed diseases (careerism, cronyism, empire building, massive Peter Principalism, etc). Add in DHS/FEMA.

    All new programs or products have a life cycle. Unfortunately the cycle with our Fed Gov't is birth, growth, maturity and endless dementia. Merciful death never occurs. NASA certainly is a good example. DOD is one of the few examples were the good outweighs the bad and that is entirely due presence of dedicated sworn uniformed personnel.

    It may be time to kill the beast.

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    The computer upgrade isn't any different than anyone's home computer situation. Most of us have moved up to broadband connections, wireless routers, and probably at least at Windows XP if not something newer for an operating system. Or some like me with the same box I built a 200Mhz system in and have been trading components out for 10 years. Either way time makes new technology, and the problem is that time isn't making smarter people so the issue here is the low-bid contractors that they brought in. Having lived that world for over 10 years before this I know that things get screwed up when project managers give incomplete design specs and application requirements, or even worse all that stuff is complete but want a 4 month project in 2 weeks. Both spell bad news and errors across the board.

    The station grants did throw in a monkey wrench because those same politicians that you want to step in and fix this thing are the ones that jammed FSC down everyone's throats without understanding the red tape that comes with spending federal money to build things. That's why no one from Round 1 FSC has been allowed to draw any lines on paper yet. Announcements would have started on 2009 AFG back in July if FSC hadn't come out. So I'm with everyone in wanting these awards out sooner than later since it's affecting my ability to get work done for 2010 too, but it's better than having Congress open an investigation because then we'll never see anything past 2010 as they analyze the bejesus out of it to nitpick every issue.

    It could be worse, the program could be nonexistent and them sending more $$ overseas for drought relief in 3rd world countries. We have those problems here and no money goes to it. AFG is money for American FDs, with 99% of the vendors being American. Live with the issues and keep the money here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon325 View Post
    Can anyone tell me Why, after a decade of AFG do we find ourselves in this situation? Its January folks JANUARY that's right the first month of a new year. And we are STILL waiting for the release of the first round?

    Ok, the big question - do you feel better now?

    I got to agree with Jam - for what it is, for what keeps getting piled on it,
    and like Brian points out, computer do tend to need to get upgraded as support
    goes away, equipment gets old, etc, the program is still going a lot better than others
    in todays government.

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    falcon325 nice rant! You are expressing the frustrations of hundreds of us out here, believe me. Its not a perfect system for sure but, what program is anywhere?
    The awards will come, as they have each year fo rthe last 10 years. We have been this patient and we will continue to be patient until they eventually let the Eagle soar... what else can we do.. we are prisoners of the system.

    Voting them out can't happen for awhile, at least not in time to do anything about the current siutation. I mean after all, we just put them in office a little over 12 months ago and guess what? Our own apathy and lack of lobbying of our local citizens to get out and vote correctly let the two founding fathers of the AFG get defeated at the polls and not a single Senator or Congressman has reached over to take the wheel and steer this ship called AFG through the maze of Congressional concensus needed to effect change. We really have nobody to blame for this mess but ourselves.. we made our bed and we now must lie in it.
    Kurt Bradley
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    the problem is quite simple actually......

    .....the obama administration.......

    i still have my mccain sign in my front yard and it will stay there until 2013.....

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    Default

    amen brother!!!! what you said.

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    The lib's all say it is Bush's fault.

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    The problem lies squarely in the hands of all elected officials from both parties , that are more interested in handing out sweetheart deals and pork projects to the campaign donors that put them there.
    To blame Obama after only a year or Bush after 8 years is nonsense. If you think St Sara would have made a difference, ask someone from Alaska.

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    Angry Enough already

    Arent there enough freakin politics in the fire service before everyone starts playing the freakin blame game! Everyone needs to sit back take a deep breath and relax! Some of us were around before we had the AFG or all the other grant programs, you should be happy you have something to wait for (award release dates). I am in the same boat a lot of you are in I have several grants written, 1199'd and 10 questions returned and I can attest I have one grant for a volunteer department for a new engine that is very badly needed (been without an engine for almost a year) but, I am not crying like most. Some one on here said it best (and I apologize for not giving proper credit) it is what it is.

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    Default Clarification

    I understand that we are indeed fortunate to have programs such as this in place. And I like many of you here remember when such programs were just a fantasy or wishful thinking. That being said I also remember when we wore long rubber coats and rubber boots and "did the best we could" cause "we're just volunteers" well folks that dog just dont hunt anymore.

    If you accept responsibility for a task you have an obligation to those affected to provide the best available service..thats the standard that WE are held to.. try showing up to a house fire and say "hey just be happy we showed up" a 100 years ago you didnt even have a fire dept." see how far that gets you.

    And as far as "finger pointing " goes yes someone is responsible for this drawn out "watching paint dry" vigil and they should be held accountable. patience is a virtue, granted, but it dont put equipment in the inventory or apparatus on the bay floor. Whats next ? apply in 2010 and wait till 2012 for an answer?

    I know that "beggars can't be choosers" but when the government sets a time line they should be held to it. And if you miss the mark like the SAFER grants oh well thats just too bad. the rest of us had the applications in by the FIRST deadline. and now you get a flood of other applications to water down the mix. And i know some have said it dont matter because only good apps will be funded but thats BS!! the more applications that are in there the more competition. How would you feel if the AFG decided now to allow additional applications because "some depts missed the deadline" ? Run the program the way you said it would be run , follow your own rules and set realistic and attainable deadlines..if you want to "upgrade" do it in the "Application period". Geez we can gear up an entire army and and spend BILLIONS invading a country in less time it takes these clowns to pass out the table scraps that they kick down to us
    Last edited by falcon325; 01-22-2010 at 10:29 AM.

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    i'll say it again......

    .....obama administration.....

    res18cue, truth hurts somtimes...i know what it's like before the grants, and i agree that it is a blessing for the fire service, but.....

    the 2010 grant period is upon us and not one grant has been given out for 2009, how is anyone supposed to even try to prepare for 2010? we can't....

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    Quote Originally Posted by steelman View Post
    i'll say it again......

    .....obama administration.....

    res18cue, truth hurts somtimes...i know what it's like before the grants, and i agree that it is a blessing for the fire service, but.....

    the 2010 grant period is upon us and not one grant has been given out for 2009, how is anyone supposed to even try to prepare for 2010? we can't....
    I agree this delay defiantly goes back to the new administration. I too need to start my next applications but am in limbo. It is what it is.....

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    Folks IMHO nobody needs to be waiting for an answer for 09 AFG, to be working on your 2010 AFG right now. Its simple:

    Plan A - if 2009 fails I will re-evaluate, educate myself to why it failed, make correctons and re-submit.

    Plan-B: Assuming that 2009 AFG scores and we get awarded, we should be working on what our next project would be .

    Plan A will require the least time to prepare and submit; so be working on Plan B right now.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    Folks IMHO nobody needs to be waiting for an answer for 09 AFG, to be working on your 2010 AFG right now. Its simple:

    Plan A - if 2009 fails I will re-evaluate, educate myself to why it failed, make correctons and re-submit.

    Plan-B: Assuming that 2009 AFG scores and we get awarded, we should be working on what our next project would be .

    Plan A will require the least time to prepare and submit; so be working on Plan B right now.
    how do you know if "Plan A" failed if they dont tell you till its time to submit the next application? granted maybe some folks have a "shake and Bake" grant application on their shelf somewhere. but others actually have to put some thought and effort into it. how do you plan for your NEXT project Plan "B" if you"re not sure if you"re CURRENT project plan "A" is completed???

    Am i to assume i should resubmit a 2010 application based on the 2009 shortcomings (that im not aware of yet) or just punt, and hope that this one gets funded and move on to the next waiting game? Isnt that the same as placing a cart IN FRONT of a horse? Or should i just say "to hell with it we didnt need that stuff in the 2009 application anyway" and just move on to a new project for 2010???

    I fail to see the logic in that. Can you elaborate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon325 View Post
    how do you know if "Plan A" failed if they dont tell you till its time to submit the next application? granted maybe some folks have a "shake and Bake" grant application on their shelf somewhere. but others actually have to put some thought and effort into it. how do you plan for your NEXT project Plan "B" if you"re not sure if you"re CURRENT project plan "A" is completed???

    Am i to assume i should resubmit a 2010 application based on the 2009 shortcomings (that im not aware of yet) or just punt, and hope that this one gets funded and move on to the next waiting game? Isnt that the same as placing a cart IN FRONT of a horse? Or should i just say "to hell with it we didnt need that stuff in the 2009 application anyway" and just move on to a new project for 2010???

    I fail to see the logic in that. Can you elaborate?
    Your needs assessment should take alot of thought out of the process. Once you get a good strong narrative written its just a matter of adding and subtracting what you are asking for. The department info and financial need should be pretty much universal.

    Don't let this whole process getcha down man. Good things come to those who are patient and are willing to spend alittletime on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon325 View Post
    how do you know if "Plan A" failed if they dont tell you till its time to submit the next application? granted maybe some folks have a "shake and Bake" grant application on their shelf somewhere. but others actually have to put some thought and effort into it. how do you plan for your NEXT project Plan "B" if you"re not sure if you"re CURRENT project plan "A" is completed???

    Am i to assume i should resubmit a 2010 application based on the 2009 shortcomings (that im not aware of yet) or just punt, and hope that this one gets funded and move on to the next waiting game? Isnt that the same as placing a cart IN FRONT of a horse? Or should i just say "to hell with it we didnt need that stuff in the 2009 application anyway" and just move on to a new project for 2010???

    I fail to see the logic in that. Can you elaborate?
    Well let's see, its now Jan 22 and we probablay won't see all the awards out by an April application date if it follows last years pattern. That means you have about 12 weeks right now that you could be working on something, instead of wringing your hands and pulling your hair out by the roots waiting.

    You can bet on the fact though that if you recive a DJ in the first round of rejection notices, which will fall in February, that you did not make it past competitive computer scoring and on to the peer review so, they either had poor numbers or poor projects to begin with. That would indicate that working on a Plan B project ( new project) right now is not a bad idea and certainly not a waste of effort or time. You would need to rethink that whole project to begin with and probably scrap it and go after something else with more priority or less cost, regardless.

    Now as you get closer to the actual 2010 application period, if a DJ drops in your lap, you can assume that you made it to peer but were not strong enough in your narative. Assuming as you said in your own words that you " had put some effort and thought into the 09 AFG" most of your work is already doen here, so a rewrite and resubmission with improvements is the order of the day and since a Plan A rewrite will take considerably less time than Plan B ( new project entirely) there is a sound logic to it if your desire is to not be jammed up against a deadline.

    What does not make any logical sense is the Plan F option ( and read that to mean fail in 2010 also) which is to sit idly by right now with an uncertian, but nonetheless approaching opening date for 2010 AFG, and suddenly find yourself facing a 30 day deadline without any preparation being done. This would mean you would rush your application and submit a half-baked project.

    Guy I am not trying to be confrontational with you and I feel your pain, beleive me! You think its bad not knowing about 1 application, try walking in my moccassins for awhile with 350-400 clients anxiously awaiting this event to occur and calling and emailing you daily for some sort of word. I am only trying to say that realistically there is no reason to have to wait to start doing something proactive towards 2010.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Falcon it's not as if you really get an answer on what didn't work in your application, the DJs are automated and based on relative scores. And since humans are involved in the process what didn't score at one table this year might at another this year.

    And since when is a need related to one grant program? Of course you can write an entire application for 2010 for a new project and if 2009 doesn't fund then you have that one for 2011. Go find some of my articles here at Firehouse.com, I've been elaborating on how to do it for a long time. PodCasts cover the subject too.

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    Gentlemen, I get the fact that there is no need to sit idly by and let the 2010 application period approach without preparation. I also get that to recycle an unfunded application is a viable option (we have done it with success) I also get that rejected applications can be slightly altered in a short period of time and resubmitted without going through the process of an entirely new project. All valid points and all well taken.

    I also do not want to appear confrontational. And am not one to complain for the sake of complaining. But someone somewhere has dropped the ball, screwed the pooch, or left the barn door open to have gotten us to a point where we are THIS CLOSE to the next application period without one cent of last years funding being released.

    Can ANYONE tell me with ANY degree of certainty when the funding will be released? In years past 30+ish rounds have been released over a period of 6 months give or take. now they are gonna try to jam all those out before the next application period? what about those who are waiting for notification in the very last rounds? how much time will they have to plan or resubmit for 2010?

    And lets look at 2010 it wouldnt be bad if they could provide assurance that this was the last year for this foolishness, last "computer update or glich" , last complication because of 2009 "issues", or someone forgot to sign or approve something before they took summer break. What excuse are they gonna throw out this year while we sweat throught the summer waiting, then ponder further as the leaves change colors in the fall, then watch the snow fall, take bets on "before or after christmas", then oh well here comes the new year..still waiting.

    I think we deserve better treatment of our money.. yes I said OUR money, not just as a member of a Fire Dept, But as a US Citizen and taxpayer.. our money should be managed better than this. I dont understand why the funding seemed to flow well in the earlier rounds when they were still "learning and working out the bugs" and now after ten years its gotten worse.. maybe they should apply the concept of "If its not broke ...Dont FIX it"

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    Next Friday, 1000+ awards. Software issues happen, and thanks to loads of oversight and other taxpayer accountability details when such things happen they can't just be fixed and moved on. Other wings of the government have stepped in to help AFG crawl, from the FSC program being tossed and touted as an economy saver to the GAO who audited the AFG program to find that the closeout forms were not up to fed requirements. So since the closeouts couldn't be done correctly, they again couldn't get clearance to announce awards. I realize that common sense says with a 12 months POP that if they released in October while they were fixing the closeout module there wouldn't be an issue of overlap, but when it was decided years ago to legislate the bejesus out of every aspect of life in this country the law is the law so they had to follow it.

    And the don't break what's fixed is nice except that there have been changes every year, however minor. In the software world, there are no minor changes other than the color of something. Mess with algorithms and things can blow up real quick if the architecture isn't fault tolerant along with the applications themselves. That's the exception by the way, after all doing something right the first time is expensive and takes a long time to accomplish. Which no one has which is why we only have time to do things twice not right. The government takes that to extremes sometimes because someone threatens to sue, and all that other fun stuff. But I take another thought process with the money thing, as in once it goes to the IRS it's not mine anymore, it's entrusted to the elected officials and salaried employees of the government to do the right thing with it. Won't get on that soap box...

    Don't get me wrong, I'm with you on the delay since it's tough to keep making the donuts when everyone is sitting on their hands waiting for results. But more importantly everyone is sitting around using crappy stuff for another day with a high risk of injury.

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    falcon325, I could not agree with you more.. the system is broken and we seem to be at a loss for finding a new Congressional champion, like Curt Weldon was, that will take the bull by the horns and force some action. Other agendas are being served, as is the case with every new administartion.

    We can point fingers at this person or that person, blame Obama, but lets not forget that this year the fire service got a huge boost with the Fire Station Construction grant. Something missing from these programs for more than 20 years.

    What was the sacrifice? I think the delays in AFG were the price we paid. Was it worth it? I am sure that the winners of the station grants are quite certain that a delay here in AFG to gain an award of a new station house was worth a 5 -6 month delay.

    You are right and I hope you will do as I have and be vehment and vocal about it. Write letters to Congressman, to Janet Napolitano. to Craig Fugate, to th director of AFG; ask the newspapers why they don't repoort on these problems, make some noise. To me the silence on these issues is in fact deafening!
    Kurt Bradley
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    I'm just a little confused here. The current administration in Washington wanted to look like they were doing something on the economy so the Fire Station Grants were pushed as a political priority and AFG had to take a back seat. Don't get me wrong here, I think anyone who received a FSC, it is probably a blessing to them. What confuses me is the fact that the State of Kansas received (to date) 1 FSC Grant! Last year there were 64 departments in Kansas that received an AFG. Maybe I'm not looking at the big picture here, but to me it seems that they could have saved or created more jobs by getting AFG started first. But then again, the AFG program wasn't invented by this administration, therefore, it didn't give them anything new to brag about on the evening news.
    Sorry for the rant, I just had to get it off my chest.
    Last edited by jmkfire; 01-22-2010 at 04:16 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Make sure it's good press though, we already have enough bad with that "Dr" that tried to show how ineffective all of AFG was by showing back in 2006 how little SAFER had done, which was a good thing since 2005 was the first year of it and none of the awardees had hired personnel from it. After all the media doesn't tend to let facts get in the way of a good story. Newspaper stories are meant to sell newspapers and ad space, nothing more.

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