1. #1
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    Default Problem with Closeout Report (from TWO YEARS AGO!)

    My home department received the most unusual email today, from our 2003 award, re: our 2003 Closeout report. We were instructed to go back in and redo the Equipment Inventory, Financial Status and Request Details Sections then resubmit, that it was being sent back to us. We had submitted this report in January of 2005 at the end of the performance period. There were a few minor things that needed to be updated and changed, and we needed to add the serial number of the Thermal Imager.

    The biggest deal is we had entered the amounts in the Request Details Section as they appeared in the original Request Details Section ( on grant application ) not actual spent $.

    So, lesson learned here, don't have Treasurer requesting funds, grant writer/secretary working on grant & reports, etc. Too many DIFFERENT hands in cookie jar, without the same info. Also, they wanted to EXACT line item amount we spent, if it was over, then they wanted that shown, not the amounts we had requested...

    This was our first award, and was my first time assisting a department with any type of hands on management. So, we were (and still are) learning together. Just strange to get it so late after being submitted. We had even received an email from them saying they had received the Closeout and accepted. Go figure.

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    Default

    I sounds to me like they may be trying to determine EXACT equipment cost amounts for the purposes of detemining an" maximum allowable cost" for different items based on the actual prices they are paying.

    I am thinking closer watch on asking for reductions like they did with SCBA and turnouts this year.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Cool Ditto Here, Alana

    Dear Alana,
    I had a very similar situation here with my 2002 grant closeout about a year and a half ago. Much of the problem was also from having too many hands into the whole process, including the kinds of people like you just noted. THERE IS A REASON why the DHS Award Notification lists one person as the OFFICIAL and LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE PARTY for the entire grant process; and this is just one of those many reasons. However, I also understand that (regarding successful grant awards) the old saying holds true:"Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan", and many want a part of the action. If you have figured out a diplomatic way to maintain such control in a Fire Service environment, and still work there, please let me know. To other 2005 winners, let this 'word of advice to the wise' be sufficient. There could be future repercussions, up to and including future ineligibility pitfalls, that could occur when 'homie' experts commandeer the process. Good luck, and God Bless You All.
    -Matt
    Last edited by CptnMatt; 10-26-2005 at 07:44 PM. Reason: spelling error

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    Dixie,

    Curious, how long after you submitted your closeout report did you recieve notification that it was accepted?.. I submitted ours (2003) the end of January 05. To date no formal reply on whether the closeout report has been accepted or rejected. 2 e-mails have gotten the same reply: being reviewed.

    Based on the info you just provided I went back and took a look at our report. It looks like we did it correctly.

    I have to agree too many cooks spoil the soup. A friend of mine was working with a department on their grant narratives. Last year they were awarded a grant. They (a committee) couldn't figure out why they had not recieved their funding. It finally became clear that one hand did not know what the other was doing. Secondly no one read the award letter carefully. What it boiled down to was the 1199A was not printed out and signed and returned. Once done they had their funding. Because they did not know who was doing what caused , I believe, an 8 month delay in getting the funds.

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    One grant manager, one grant file, one contact = NO PROBLEMS and only one person to blame when things go south.

    Almost as bad as working with the grant writer in the dperatment and fine tuning a grant to its best presentation and then having the Chief take out crucial budget information or add a low priority item to the grant application and ruin their chances over something petty. If he was so good at the grant process, why did his applications fail for three years straight before he asked the FF to give it a shot?

    Frustrating for all of us and I see it happen eveyr single year.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Thumbs up Patience.

    Dear onebugle,
    If your timetable is anything like ours was, and I am assuming by your details that it is, then you should probably be looking for a final closeout acceptance letter sometime around May or June of 2006. I know, it's hard, but patience seems to be a key ingredient in the grant business; I'm finding that out myself, at each stage. Good luck.
    -Matt

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle
    Dixie,

    Curious, how long after you submitted your closeout report did you recieve notification that it was accepted?.. I submitted ours (2003) the end of January 05. To date no formal reply on whether the closeout report has been accepted or rejected. 2 e-mails have gotten the same reply: being reviewed.
    I want to say (if I can remember back that far!) that we heard back pretty quickly, like within a month, maybe? BUT, it didn't matter. The people who accepted it, weren't the same department who 10 months later reviewed it and found the mistakes.

    The Chief and I have had several long talks about this over the last few months...problem is handling federal money and items like regular business. I am their secretary and am fortunate to know something about grants. BUT, they have a Treasurer who has always handled the finances. So, in the grant process, it has always been a several person process, where the Chief and Officers ordered (after Board approval) and then the the Treasurer requests the funds.

    I totally agree with the amount of people involved in the process, the fewer the better in the long run.

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    Default Responsible person

    Our FD has only one grant under our belt (2003). I did all of the detail work (paper and electronic). The only other local person involved was the city clerk. This seemed to work well. I did have a glitch on the close out report but the contact person was so very helpful to answer my questions and make sure everything was correct.

    Question; I have my name on this grant as the responsible person. In one month I will step down as Chief of the Dept.. Will I still be the named person as long as I remain with the Dept. or is this transferable to someone else? What if I retire from the Dept. will I be relieved of the liability?

    This forum business should have been around 20 years ago.

    Thanks

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    When you are about a month out from retirement you should designate a new contact person, send a letter to DHS Fire Grant Support on Department Letterhead and ask them to remove you and designate the new contact and new user-id and password. That should do it. Once you have left the service you are no longer repsonsible for anything unless, it was fraudulent in nature and committed while you were the named responsible party.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Thank you.

    SWCHIEF

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    Talking

    Di Nada! No Problema!
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    If I recall correctly, you may not be able to get a new user ID, but can reset to a new password...no problem there. They will have to have the old password and then you can change yourself from the main contact under the Profile section (located beside the Messages/Mail Section) in the Application/Status page (top right).

    They can use a City Clerk/Town Manager if they like, I have a Municipality I work with that she is Main Contact, then the new Fire Chief is the second contact, just so she can request funds, since she has more access to the checking, banking info, etc.

    Congratulations on Retirement, and enjoy yourself!

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    Default

    Thanks for the KUDOS but my situation has sour grapes involved. I'm stepping down as Chief because many within the Dept. have rebeled against my introducing several SOGs begining about a year ago. My Asst. at the time was doing all of the leg work on the SOGs including the dreaded alcohol SOG. Long story short, he was not re-elected as Asst. Chief. Yes, we have elections and the City Council then approves the candidates. My main goal 8 years ago (when I was elected Chief) was to bring this VFD into compliance with all OSHA laws and NFPA regulations. I made this clear in the begining. Now it seems to big of a mountain for me to climb.
    I've decided I will not be responsible for the department that will not comply. I've been a Fire instructor with the State for 20 years, also Capt./ training offficer for 15 years then Chief for the past 8 years in the Dept.. So it gives me a hollow feeling just to walk away from the Chief position but at my age I don't have the spunk for a good fight.
    I will stay on the Dept. for sometime to help the new Chief, but then......??
    I've spent more than half of my days on this earth as a firefighter so when I pull the pin it will surely be a big change to adjust to.
    My biggest regret is for my former Asst. Chief. A young, bright well rounded individual who also has been soured, thats the big loss.
    Yes, life goes on but at times it really sucks.
    Thanks for letting me rant.

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