Grant News Grab Bag

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Mar 26, 2013 11:53:00 AM

Grant news grab bag of information on eCivis conferences, FEMA program redundancies, and SAM cybersecurity breach

April Conferences for eCivis

We’re springing into spring with a packed schedule for April, attending three conferences next month: the Michigan Municipal League Conference, April 9-10, in Lansing; Transforming Local Government Annual Conference, April 10-12, in Atlanta (visit us at booth # 425); and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators Conference, April 20-23, also Atlanta.

Looking several months ahead, eCivis will also be co-presenting at the International Cities/Counties Management Association (ICMA) conference during September 22-25 in Boston. Dr. Bev Browning will be joined by Lt. Pat Mialy, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the city of Loveland, Colorado, to discuss "Grant Writing 101: Tips for Small Communities," and will talk about how Loveland secured more than $1 million in federal grants to purchase life-preserving equipment.

Funding Redundancy in Four FEMA Programs

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified factors that contribute to the risk of FEMA potentially funding unnecessarily duplicative projects across four of the agency’s largest grant programs: the Port Security Grant Program, the State Homeland Security Program, the Transit Security Grant Program, and the Urban Areas Security Initiative. Factors include overlap among grant recipients, goals, and geographic locations, combined with differing levels of information that FEMA had available regarding grant projects and recipients. Specifically, it was found that the agency makes award decisions with differing levels of information and lacked a process to coordinate application reviews. The full report can be found here.

SAM Cybersecurity Breach

Earlier this month the General Services Administration (GSA) identified a security vulnerability in the System for Award Management (SAM), which replaced the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) and the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) in order to streamline registration and tracking for federal contractors and agencies. Registered SAM users with entity administrator rights and delegated entity registration rights had the ability to view any entity’s registration information, including both public and non-public data at all sensitivity levels. Immediately after the exposure was identified, GSA implemented a software patch.

According to the GSA website, "Some components of SAM.gov are temporarily unavailable. Users will not be able to register a new entity or update an entity record until Entity Management is available at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 25. GSA currently is strengthening security measures to protect user information." From what I've read on the discussion forums, "irritated" and "disgrunted" cannot capture the frustration I've read from users. What’s been your experience?

Additionally, GSA will extend registrations for those entities whose SAM records expired during March 16-24, 2013.  Each entity will receive a 30-day extension. For additional information, please see the GSA message and FAQ.

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Topics: Federal Grants, SAM, Cybersecurity