FEMA External Affairs Bulletin for Week of January 5, 2015


Week of January 5, 2015

In this Edition: Table of Contents Arrow

Important Dates & Deadlines

January 7  

OMB Super Circular Stakeholder Webinar

January 20  

Public Assistance Simplified Procedures Thresholds Open Comment Period Deadline

Message from the FEMA External Affairs Director

In 2014, FEMA focused on engaging our diverse group of stakeholders and working with employees at all levels of the agency to develop new approaches to a variety of challenges. That critical input shaped FEMA’s Strategic Plan, released in July and covering the next four years. In finalizing the Strategic Plan, FEMA put in place structures to transparently make improvements and continue to make progress in our effort to support disaster survivors, bolster our catastrophic planning, implement long term mitigation strategies that address resiliency challenges, and identify opportunities to streamline business and management practices so we can be even better stewards of taxpayer dollars. We are excited to continue to work together with you as we support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.


We are always looking for more effective ways to keep you informed about efforts underway at the agency, and to make it easier for you to provide us with input, feedback and guidance on how we can do our jobs better. This past year we made greater use of social media tools, enhanced our FEMA app, and created this External Affairs Bulletin.


The goal of this publication is to provide a weekly consolidated newsletter that allows you to quickly learn about initiatives and activities at the agency, and to provide an easy link to more information regarding the items that interest you most so you can be a part of the decision-making process. We think the EA Bulletin got off to a good start last year, and we are continuing to take steps to make it even better. You are reading the very first edition of our new and improved bulletin designed to be more interactive and accessible, and now also optimized for mobile devices and tablets. We hope you like this communication tool, and we welcome your continued feedback on how we can tailor it to best meet your information needs.


Thank you for your interest and for everything you do to help make our nation more resilient. Here’s to a productive 2015.



Josh Batkin

FEMA External Affairs Director

FEMA's Procurement Disaster Assistance Team

At the beginning of 2014, FEMA’s Office of the Chief Counsel launched its Strategic Legal Priority to establish, train and make operational a Procurement Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT) to develop deployment interventions, guidance, training and tools for public assistance (PA) grantees/subgrantees, which will guide their compliance with grant procurement requirements.


To date, the PDAT, comprised of six attorneys, has:

- Provided 48 training sessions to nearly 1,400 FEMA, state, tribal and local emergency management personnel, in 19 different states.

- Created a Procurement Under Grants (PUG) webinar, a toolbox series on private non-profit and non-state federal procurement requirements, and a comprehensive field manual on grantee and subgrantee procurement requirements. These are all available at the FEMA library.

- Deployed to four disasters in Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, and Washington to provide procurement advice.


In the coming year, FEMA looks forward to solidifying the PDAT’s deployment role to provide counsel, advice and training for every declared event. This becomes increasingly important given new Super Circular procurement requirements and perhaps a greater number of declarations for tribal governments. Grantee and subgrantee procurement violations will be significantly reduced in number with the timely information, training and counsel that PDAT can provide.

REMINDER: Office of Management and Budget Super Circular Stakeholder Webinar

FEMA is hosting a webinar on January 7, 2015 at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the implementation of the new OMB 2 C.F.R. 200 – “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” rule (OMB Super Circular). Participants should sign in to Adobe Connect as “Guest.” This webinar will be a repeat of one that FEMA presented on December 18, 2014.


The Super Circular streamlines all of the federal government’s various guidance on administrative requirements, cost principles and audit requirements for federal awards. It is a federal government-wide framework for grants management and is intended to reduce administrative burden for non-federal entities receiving federal awards while reducing the risk of waste, fraud and abuse. The reform affects administrative aspects of federal grants, e.g., how grants are awarded, managed, audited and closed out.


The new “Super Circular” will supersede previous OMB Circulars, administrative requirements and cost principles for all awards made on or after December 26, 2014.

REMINDER: FEMA Seeks Comments to Public Assistance Simplified Procedures Thresholds

FEMA seeks public comments from state, local, tribal and territorial governments, private non-profit organizations, and interested members of the public regarding the agency’s recent revision of the Public Assistance simplified procedures program. FEMA is seeking comments on specific questions to inform any future revisions to the project thresholds that are updated annually based on the Consumer Price Index. Comments are due on January 20, 2015, and may be submitted online.


Following the passage of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 and the accompanying Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, Congress directed FEMA to evaluate its simplified procedures thresholds and immediately implement the recommendations. On January 29, 2014, FEMA issued its report to Congress that recommended several changes to the threshold and outlined FEMA’s reasoning. On February 26, 2014, FEMA published a final rule amending both the minimum and maximum simplified procedures threshold for disasters declared on or after February 26, 2014.