1. #1
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    Default Congressional Letter's of Support

    I was just wondering how many out there has recieved any help by getting letters of support. Our two Senators and Rep have sent numerous letters and phone calls to DHS and still to this point we have still yet to hear anything.

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    In 03 I had zero letters of support. 1 out of 3 grants.

    This year, out of three grants (same as last year) there is 1 winner, different then last year, with letter of suuport from a house rep. The other 2 are still pending.

    I cant tell from personal experience if it realy helps.

    I sometimes think that it may be over doing it, at least as far as the peer review goes.

    Sorry, not much help, no an expert here, by no means.
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    We've had our representative send letters in the past, but without any success. This year we asked for no help and got funded. I don't think the politicians have a whole lot of influence in this program.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
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    No letters of support, and 2 grants here.

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    They didn't help me get past the computer scoring this year.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I have a contact within the grants office. I asked them about the letters of support just a few weeks ago. They advised you can send them but it plays no part in there decision. They did say it actually complicates there job due to the added phone calls and inquries they are forced to deal with.



    Steve

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    Originally posted by steverfd
    I have a contact within the grants office. I asked them about the letters of support just a few weeks ago. They advised you can send them but it plays no part in there decision. They did say it actually complicates there job due to the added phone calls and inquries they are forced to deal with.



    Steve
    If this is a valid statement from inside I would suggest that ODP remove this from the grant application process. We was encourged by our Rep's Federal and State to get them all the information and they wanted to send them. Also, was encourged numerous times at the Grant Training Class offered by FEMA this past spring to get in as many letters from local, state, and federal. Even though they say it had no affect I feel it has some if a Rep or Senator is coming up for relection they have some pull. I know in our state we have a Sentaor up for relection and he is the only one handing out grants to get the exposure.

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    I don't know. From reading the posts concerning grants for the past three years, I think FEMA is very strict on lobbying activities from politicians in the awarding process. Now I'm not that naive to think that it isn't attempted, but I had a bunch of them sent in from various levels of government (local, state and federal). I also requested to be cc'd for all correspondance they sent. Ironically there were two addresses they could be sent to, and upon receipt of their letters, they were sent to four or five different people. Looking back through other posts, there just doesn't seem to be any effect on being awarded, whether you have them or not. It would be interesting if the board monitors here ran a poll for the award winners to see if there was a significant statistical advantage to having the support letter(s).

    Personally, I haven't heard anything one way or the other concerning the status of our grant. I am thinking that if a grant was to be awarded to a Company or Department, perhaps they aid the reviewers in narrowing down which government official needs to be notified. I have seen numerous posts in this forum stating that the government official knows about a pending award prior to the recipient.

    Just a thought...

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    I wrote the following:

    2001, 5 grants, 1 award
    2002, 3 grants, 2 awards
    2003, 3 grants, 3 awards
    2004, 5 grants, 4 awards, 1 just waiting for the award and submitting the questions.

    None of the grants had support letters attached.

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    I have to agree with the ones who say it has no bearing on the award. I too, have a fellow administrator who sits on the review panel for the program. He states that the scoring is done by the information submitted and the letters of support have no bearing on the score. Your congressmen and senators do appreciate being notified and announcing your award.
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    I think FEMA is very strict on lobbying activities from politicians in the awarding process.

    My opinion from what I've seen:

    Congressmen have no influence on the awarding of grants.

    They *do* have influence on the timing -- the grants in my Congressional district two years ago sure seemed to be timed well to get newspaper coverage alongside whatever big democratic shin-ding that month was.

    It's obvious that FEMA can play with the timing of awards (witness the 343 given out on September 11, 2004...) and I'm sure that power is one they can use to do favors for congressmen even if the lobbying had no effect on whether or not the money would be awarded.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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    Apparently the people at DHS do in fact read the letters of support. I received a copy of a letter sent to our local State Representative from the Executive Director of the Office for State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness (imagine what that business card looks like).
    Anyway, it was a basic form letter outlining the program's nuts and bolts, how many departments had applied, and also a promise of a weekly notification of awards in our State (PA).
    By no means am I looking at this for more than its worth (i.e award), but figured I would pass on the info.

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