How is OMB Like Oprah Winfrey?

January 29, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

It’s not often that the Office of Management and Budget’s Victoria Collin can be compared to megastar Oprah Winfrey, but on Monday, they both had something in common.

If you recall, a week or so ago, Oprah (can I call her by her first name?) held a special interview with Lance Armstrong, multiple winner of the Tour de France and founder of the Livestrong Foundation for cancer research, in which he admitted to doping while winning those races after denying it for so long. The interview was big news, and many in the media longed for details before the two-part interview was to air on Oprah’s OWN network. Some media outlets even boasted that they were interviewing Oprah herself, hoping she would divulge some of what Armstrong had told her during the interview. What did Oprah tell them? Nothing much. Pretty much said, “Tune in folks, you’ll find it shocking!”

And so now we come to the Federal Demonstration Partnership’s meeting Monday in D.C, in which a record number of attendees showed up to find out from the two OMB speakers, Victoria Collin and Gil Tran, some of the actual details on the pending grants reform proposal, which would combine all the grants circulars into what some are calling an “omnicircular” or even “supercircular.”

Although Collin gave us the titillating news that the proposal will be in Federal Register “in the next few days” as OMB attempts to meet its goal of issuing the proposal by the end of January 2013, she could not actually provide any details about the proposal itself. How Oprah-like! So what was she able to say? She did say that when it does come out, it will include a preamble providing a summary of the proposal, followed by a link to the OMB website that will have the actual details of the proposal. She also said OMB will provide a crosswalk comparing current guidance in the circulars with the proposed guidance, including added and deleted language.

OMB will provide the standard 90-day comment period once the proposal is released, and it hopes to adopt the final version by the end of the year. She said that OMB intends to incorporate the combined circular into 2 C.F.R., so that it would not have a circular number. She also said OMB hopes to work with federal agencies so that they can quickly implement the changes when finalized.

So this gives us all the logistics surrounding the proposal without actually hearing any details about it. It was just like Oprah, who filled us in on the mood of the Armstrong interview, but released no details. Collin did add that when OMB does issue the proposal in the Federal Register, it will host a webinar for stakeholders at a new website (http://www.cfoc.gov/cofar) (be aware that this site will not be available until the proposal is released). It tentatively plans to host the webinar on Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. to address questions.

So there you have it! Keep your eyes peeled to the Federal Register for the next few days, or better yet, let us do it for you. Once it comes out, we will provide another blog post letting you know that it’s out, and then we’ll provide some analysis on the details in the Federal Grants Management Handbook, as well as the single audit changes in the Single Audit Information Service. Or for even quicker notice, sign up for Thompson’s Federal Grants Compliance Expert.

We really can’t wait to hear your thoughts now that the proposal is near. Let us know what’s on your mind.

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