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  1. #1
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    Default SAFER '05 rejection while we wait

    Okay, while we wait for whatever happens next (10q's for AFG, CEDAP III, FPS app, etc)....here's my question from last year's SAFER rejection....

    We are all volunteer, applied for R & R--no hiring. We have a generous disability/life plan and our members had no (and i mean zero) interest in LOSAP (100% preferred equipment or training) So...our project elements submitted were:
    1. Training reimbursement toward additional certifications. Narrative stated that travel & lodging might be reimbursed with department approval. Would serve retention (renewed interest) and recruiting (opportunity, especially for the young).
    2. Entry level physicals and mandantory training.
    3. Matching t-shirts for all members, uniform pants and shirts (we don't have now) and instituting a special jacket award at 5 years service (suitable for duty) with a plaque at 20 years. Would serve retention (pride and sense of belonging) and recruiting (increased public awareness, visibility, etc).

    We had an early "Dear John" citing "inelligible activity". Item 2 seemed fine, so i assumed that #1 was inelligible because of travel and lodging instead of just reimbursing tuition. The R & R section of the PG there was silent on clothing, so i assumed that #3 was okay. Figured it had been a long-shot anyway, and filed it.

    Then, when i was reading the '06 SAFER PG, i noticed that under the Hiring project all items of clothing are specifically excluded. There was a similar exclusion under hiring for '05, but no exclusion for articles of clothing under recruitment and retention. I spoke with a couple of DHS employees at FDIC in '05 before the PG was released and they said "be creative", so i thought i was.

    Could it be that the specific exclusion on articles of clothing in the Hiring Project caused the "inelligible activity" under Recruitment & Retention" in computer scoring? Or is it possible that the reimbursement for travel & lodging was the culprit after all.

    Thanks for the input to a group project and here's hoping others can learn from my error. Speak your minds, i'll not be offended. Let's disect this failure.

    earl (wiser now than a year ago. wise enough??)


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenacres2
    Could it be that the specific exclusion on articles of clothing in the Hiring Project caused the "inelligible activity" under Recruitment & Retention" in computer scoring? Or is it possible that the reimbursement for travel & lodging was the culprit after all.

    earl (wiser now than a year ago. wise enough??)
    As if I did not have enough to worry about.... What a day.

    My gut feeling is that there is no restriction insofar as clothing
    for recruiting and retention. But, I am by no means an expert...

  3. #3
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    From the FAQs:

    I'm applying for a recruitment and retention grant. May I use SAFER funds to pay for training of firefighters recruited under the program?
    Maybe. The recruitment and retention activity of SAFER was created to help fire departments maintain or increase their complement of firefighters by establishing incentives for firefighters to join the department or to stay with the department. If an applicant can show a relationship between its recruitment problems and the lack of training, or if an applicant can show a relationship between its inability to retain volunteers and the lack of training, then we may consider funding the training. We will not, however, fund the training if the applicant does not provide a compelling rationale to show that training is integral to satisfying a recruitment and/or retention problem. Regardless of the justification, the SAFER funds will not fund training for any department that has a training grant under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

    You could have fallen short on explaining this, but being as it was denied early I'd bet on the uniforms since they are specifically mentioned as being ineligible under Hiring. Since the Program Guidance is only a subset of the actual law governing the program, it may have been one of those details left out. Besides the fact that uniforms are highly perishable and you're going to probably have to supply 2 or more t-shirts per year per person because they'll wear out. Then what? Kinda hard to claim that you need federal funding for something that is going to need replacing so often, and also being claimed as a major cog in the recruitment and retention of people. If you can't afford to buy the t-shirts after the federal funding dries up, are the people going to leave because of it? It's almost the same as those that didn't say they'd continue to fund the program locally after year 4. It's not required, but when you compare one that will with one that won't, the one that will has a better case built.

    Not trying to beat you over the head with anything Earl, just throwing out the view from the other side. After all, that's the side DHS and the reviewers are on.

    One must understand the other side and predict their questions and hesitancies before pressing the Submit button. As I say in class, you have to answer the questions that haven't even been asked yet. Writing is a frame of mind in that sense.

    Reminds me, need more brad nails to put my frame of mind back together, it's falling apart.

    - Brian

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    Go to www.roybluntforcongress.com
    Under press releases dated 11/3/2005 Bolivar, Missouri received $482,085 SAFER grant to hire and retain firefighters.
    Bolivar Fire Department spokesman Theron Becker, "We will use the money to buy uniforms to give the department a more professional look and provide volunteers with personal equipment as a reward for their service."

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    Just checked under 2005 SAFER awards and Bolivar Fire Department received $82,085.00
    Big difference from the press release.

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    They got $112K for PPE in 2005 AFG, $26K for FP, and $44k for Ops & Safety. Not even $400K between everything. Could have had the hiring dropped because the local checkwriters didn't support it, like so many other places.

    Probably a "typo" on the amount since the $ is on the 4 key. Done that myself a few times.

    Service awards of equipment are explicitly eligible, such as jackets and whatnot. still leaves uniform related stuff up in the air.

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    We got a 2005 SAFER for Hiring and Recruit and Retention with our Recruit and Retention request including uniforms among other things. (no uniforms for hiring) So, I doubt that it was the uniform request that got you kicked out.

    Did your request include addressing a volunteer coordinator position and/or volunteer recruit and retention plan. If not, then that could be what made you "inelligible".

    Just guessing

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    Well that answers the uniform question.

    That would then more than likely point to the training because as the FAQ answer says there has to be compelling reasons that the training would recruit or retain people. Since training is a main AFG project, and there is supposed to be no duplication of projects across programs, without proof that training will belp build and keep the membership of the department, it's out for SAFER.

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    Could NFPA compliant stationwear be classed as equipment?

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    No, only protective-type equipment & clothing. From the PG:

    Uniforms (formal/parade or station/duty) and uniform items (hats, badges, etc.) are also ineligible expenditures under this activity.

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    Earl

    By early "Dear John" do you mean your application did not make it to peer review?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiefmax1200
    Earl

    By early "Dear John" do you mean your application did not make it to peer review?
    Didn't make peer review. It may have just barely made it into the computer!!

    Brian has made a number of excellent points. It's interesting to think that a written exclusion in one activity (Hiring) might be an unwritten exclusion in R & R. That thought alone will forever change the way i read PG's.

    Chiefmax, we didn't include a volunteer coordinator, but it seems that would have resulted in lower scoring (perhaps out of the competitive range), not an inelligible activity. Just guessing here, but it's a thought.

    Great discussion so far, thanks for the input.

    earl (hoping to learn from my mistakes)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenacres2
    Didn't make peer review. It may have just barely made it into the computer!!

    Brian has made a number of excellent points. It's interesting to think that a written exclusion in one activity (Hiring) might be an unwritten exclusion in R & R. That thought alone will forever change the way i read PG's.

    Chiefmax, we didn't include a volunteer coordinator, but it seems that would have resulted in lower scoring (perhaps out of the competitive range), not an inelligible activity. Just guessing here, but it's a thought.

    Great discussion so far, thanks for the input.

    earl (hoping to learn from my mistakes)
    Earl I would agree with Brian . I think since you got the boot at computer scoring, it picked up on the ineligible items ( uniforms) and axed you.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780
    Earl I would agree with Brian . I think since you got the boot at computer scoring, it picked up on the ineligible items ( uniforms) and axed you.
    I talked with the help desk today, and they said as long as the uniforms
    were tied to an incentive type program, they would NOT be a reason to
    kick the application during computer scoring, at least for the recruiting
    and retention aspects.

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    I think that puts us back at the training like I mentioned in Post #8. Both are eligible or ineligible based on what you say in the narrative, so with the uniforms as proposed being part of the program to keep people in, it would have to be the training giving it the boot by the computer.

  16. #16
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    How rediculous... Uniforms???? WTF???? I really hope that ANY SAFER $$$$ went towards uniforms!!!!! All we wanted was one BODY!!! We would go to goodwill and get some pants for that body, just so we can be that extra safe!!!!!

    I there are dept's using SAFER $$$$ for uniforms, you can go you know what to yourself...

    Sorry, but SAFER is for Firefighters, and we would never try and use it to "bend the rules."

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    Settle down Beavis. Take a few deep breaths and work on decaf for tomorrow.

    Here's how SAFER broke down in 2005:

    FFs - Award Qty
    1 - 11
    2 - 4
    3 - 23
    4 - 7
    5 - 1
    6 - 13
    7 - 2
    8 - 2
    9 - 5
    10 - 3
    12 - 6
    15 - 3
    18 - 3
    21 - 1
    26 - 1
    64 - 1

    71 R&R Awards

    So a lot of FFs were awarded, and I highly doubt anyone's inclusion of department t-shirts to help with recruitment and retention took your FF away. As you can see by the stats, asking for 1 FF was a long shot unless you had tons of evidence that you were putting 2-3 FFs on the street currently on the first out truck. If you aren't doing that now, 1 FF does not solve your problems at all based on NFPA. Hence the reason there were so many awards for 3+ FFs. And the reason that Pattison NJ wouldn't have gotten any money is they asked for 32 instead of 64. 64 brings them into compliance, and that is the only number they could have asked for. Sure it's going to cost them a lot of dough. For those that would say we can't afford 3 salaries to solve our problem, then you'll have to look at something else than a hiring app to SAFER to bring up the ranks.

    I know it's frustrating, but as we've found out and mentioned in several posts since then, it wasn't the uniforms that got Earl kicked out by computer. It was the training. Uniforms are eligible under R&R, not hiring. So no one is bending any rules. DHS is aware of loopholes and cheaters and is taking the money back. Excess fund awards anyone? Hmmm....

    - Brian

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    I've got a good questionsfor the group.

    Has anyone that received a R&R award last year, also applied for a R&R this year?

    Last year we were awarded $30,000 ($7,500/year for 4 years) for Fire Academy Tuition, Training Reimbursement, Physicals & Tuition reimbursement. I would figure it would be a long shot. However, I did apply again for additional "tuition" funds to supplement last years grant.

    Part of the reason I applied is the old motto "If you don't apply, they take the money away"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpster
    I there are dept's using SAFER $$$$ for uniforms, you can go you know what to yourself...
    Wow . . . . . . .

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    In the absence of a grant award, i'd guess i could settle for anatomical gifts.

    Both, unfortunately, were denied.

    earl (happily married, happily)

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