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Thread: AFG and Gov shut down

  1. #1
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    Default AFG and Gov shut down

    This came to me today.

    Dear Colleagues,

    As many of you are aware, Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funding for the Federal Government expires on September 30, 2013. However, there is enough time for Congress to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to maintain our current operations and prevent a lapse in funding on October 1.

    Prudent management requires that we be prepared for all contingencies, including the possibility of a government hiatus. If funding lapses on October 1, many government activities will cease because they no longer have the authority to incur further financial obligations, except those necessary to suspend operations. Employees who are associated with those activities would be temporarily furloughed.

    To prepare for this possibility, we are working to update our contingency plans for executing an orderly shutdown of activities that would be affected by a lapse in appropriations.

    Impacts that FEMA Grantees Can Expect in the Event of a Lapse in FY14 Appropriations


    In the event of a lapse of FY14 appropriations, we have prepared the following information to address the questions of many of our grant recipients:



    Will the lapse affect my grant?



    * Grant-funded projects for which funding has been awarded, obligated, and released by FEMA will not be affected by the lapse of FY14 appropriations and work can continue unimpeded.



    * Grantees will be able to draw down funds from the Response, Recovery, Mitigation, National Preparedness and Grant Programs Directorate-managed grants through the Payment and Reporting System (PARS) and Smart-link systems if all reporting submissions are up to date and holds on funding are released. Manual (paper) requests for grant reimbursements will not be processed during the lapse.



    * Grantees will not be able to draw down funds for Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER), Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG), or Fire Prevention and Safety grants because these rely on manual processes that will not be staffed during a lapse in appropriations.



    * FEMA will not announce FY13 AFG or SAFER awards during the lapse in appropriations and reimbursement for SAFER invitational travelers will be delayed.



    * The disaster declaration and request process will remain unchanged. Grantees will be able to draw down grant funds from disaster declarations through requests to the National Emergency Management Information System (NEMIS) system if all reporting submissions are up to date and holds on funding are released.



    * FEMA staff is working to release as many fund holds as possible prior to close of business on Monday, September 30, 2013.



    Do we still need to submit grant reports?



    * Grantees are advised to make sure that all Semi-Annual Performance Reports and Federal Financial Status Reports (SF-425) are submitted prior to close of business on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, so that they are current on their reporting requirements. Delinquent reports can and will result in system-based holds and grantees will be unable to draw funds out of PARS if they remain delinquent.



    What if I have questions or need help with my grant?



    * Unfortunately, no FEMA grant staff will be available to answer grantee questions during a lapse in FY14 appropriations; however, we will work closely with grantees who have questions once the lapse has ended.

    * FEMA's grant help desks will not be staffed, including the Centralized Information and Scheduling Desk (ASKCSID), Grant Award and Administration Control Desk, and Assistance to Firefighters Grants Help Desk.



    * During the lapse, FEMA grant staff will not be able to address rejected payment requests or problems related to holds, missing reports, or to reset passwords for grants processed through the PARS and Smart-link systems.


    I know that the budget uncertainties put our workforce in a difficult situation and that many employees, as well as those we serve every day, would face hardships should a funding lapse occur. As we approach the end of the month, I am committed to providing you with updated and timely information on any further developments.

    Situations like this are always difficult and your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process are appreciated. Thank you for your continued service to our mission and to the Nation.

  2. #2
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    Well, depending upon how long it takes to get a CR or break this impasse, I think it would be fair to assume at this point that we won't see AFG open this week.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Just tried the webinar that we were supposed to have in Region 8 and there were no presenters. No notice or anything. I emailed my Region rep and the response was:
    "Due to a lapse in appropriations, i am ooutof the office on furlough until further notice. I am not able to read orrespond to your message."

    Too bad they can't make the money that we send outside the US work for us within the US and keep the GOV'T open!!!


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    They could start by taking the POTUS and every Congressional members salary and suspending it until they can sit down like adults instead of children and agree on something for a change.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Every elected official needs to be locked in a big cave for 3 weeks, and issued boxing gloves and 2 bottles of water along with a 1 week supply of C rats.
    Let them feel what it's like to be poor and hungry surviving on crap.

    No paycheck::: no staff flunkie's to kiss their arses::: no special benefits or healthcare coverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    Every elected official needs to be locked in a big cave for 3 weeks, and issued boxing gloves and 2 bottles of water along with a 1 week supply of C rats.
    Let them feel what it's like to be poor and hungry surviving on crap.

    No paycheck::: no staff flunkie's to kiss their arses::: no special benefits or healthcare coverage.
    Come on let them have obamacare!!!!

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    Can anyone explain to me how furloughing "nonessential" govt employees and then guaranteeing that they will be paid the back pay is saving one dime of the federal govt's money!Sounds to me like nothing but a couple of weeks extra paid vacation just got added to their benefits package.How do I sign up for that?
    Kurt Bradley
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    I said the same thing today. If they agree to guarantee pay - why then don't they call them back to work? The reason is - we want to make this as hard on the average American as possible and use scare tactics - all while making sure we take care of the government employees. I will gladly pay you $2 tomorrow for a hamburger today - sounds almost like the "negotiating" that is taking place in our government.

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    Lets see if the furloughed govt workers get counted in this month's "unemployment" totals? I would lay odds that they will not. Speaking of unemployment, how are those of you with SAFER hiring grants open planning on paying your FFs if you cannot draw down your funds since the people who handle that process are considered to be "non-essential" and have been furloughed? Probably won't be a problem for most but, for those cities with multi-million dollar SAFER awards whose bi-weekly payroll tops $100K, its going to be interesting to see how this little dilemma gets handled. I see a falling domino effect coming as those cities may have to temporarily furlough their SAFER FFs.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    Can anyone explain to me how furloughing "nonessential" govt employees and then guaranteeing that they will be paid the back pay is saving one dime of the federal govt's money!Sounds to me like nothing but a couple of weeks extra paid vacation just got added to their benefits package.How do I sign up for that?
    The shut down isn't about saving the government money, it's about healthcare. Or at least it was last week.

    Just so you know, a lot of the people that work on the AFG grant (and SAFER and Fire Prevention) aren't federal employees but government contractors, and we are not allowed to work until the government reopens and will not be getting back pay.
    We even got official notice yesterday that no matter how Congress votes on furlough pay, contractors are not included.
    Believed by many to be the best-administered homeland security grant in the country, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program provides an accessible competitive opportunity for fire departments and non-affiliated EMS agencies across the US to get funding for a wide range of operations and safety, vehicles, and regional communications projects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shesinsane View Post
    The shut down isn't about saving the government money, it's about healthcare. Or at least it was last week.

    Just so you know, a lot of the people that work on the AFG grant (and SAFER and Fire Prevention) aren't federal employees but government contractors, and we are not allowed to work until the government reopens and will not be getting back pay.
    We even got official notice yesterday that no matter how Congress votes on furlough pay, contractors are not included.
    Mea culpa, apparently I should have been more specific to differentiate that difference. So I guess what I should have said was Official US Government employees, not contractors. I am well aware of and very appreciative of what the contractors do for the Fire Act Grants and as any regular reader in here knows, I am one of the strongest supporters of the AFG being the finest most well run grant program in the US and I have publicly stated same in these forums on many occasions. My statement was not a complaint about the employees so much as it was a complaint about the inability of our Congressional leaders and the POTUS to be able to sit down and negotiate in good faith with each other. The name calling and rhetoric being tossed around lately on both sides of the aisle is nauseating and offensive.Sorry that you are obviously also caught up in this boondoggle.
    \
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    Kurt Bradley
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    Kurt, the next grant you write I challenge you to use the boondoggle. lol Jeff
    I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EMT6126 View Post
    Kurt, the next grant you write I challenge you to use the boondoggle. lol Jeff
    I'll try that. LOL
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Ok lets see who is closest to the opening of the Grant Period... I will shoot from the hip and say 11/11/13 (of course it is a guess with them being shut down) Anyone else?
    John & Sheila
    McMechen Volunteer Fire Department
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    www.mcmechenvfd.com
    jdavis@mcmechenvfd.com

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    11/18 open to 12/28 closing

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    If they approve something before the end of this week to end the shutdown might see it on the 28th, figure a week for them to get back into the office and sort emails, put out the PG. Not gonna hold my breath on it, but no matter how it goes I'll be cooking the beer turkey on the grill with the laptop writing away....

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    I know what you mean Brian we leave for Haiti Jamaica & Cozumel on the 8th wont be home till the 18th Fun Fun, I will drive 1000 miles to get on the ship with Sheila typing away
    John & Sheila
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    jdavis@mcmechenvfd.com

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    Hope Sheila doesn't get carsick while she's typing John, sounds like you're a week late on your guess. Doesn't sound like it will be shortened because of the holiday in the middle.

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    So when are you hearing? Do we have guidance? i talked with them today they told me guidance in 2 weeks lol
    John & Sheila
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    Depended on OMB approval of the PG but the goal was 11/4, closing 12/6 if OMB released the Guidelines back so they could be posted to us by next Wednesday.

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