A Little More About ‘The Show’

February 6, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

If you didn’t get your fill of popcorn yesterday, here’s a second helping (we’re still on this food kick it seems!). Since publishing yesterday’s blog post about the Office of Management and Budget’s upcoming webcast on the new grants reform proposal, we’ve found out a few more details worth sharing.

OMB officials have told us that the webinar, which will start at 11 a.m. EST this Friday, is scheduled to last one hour. Only one hour! Frankly, if you ask me, one hour doesn’t give them nearly enough time to go over all the changes within the proposal in any detail. There are two issues here, especially for those that have been following the development of this proposal from the beginning. When OMB explains the changes in proposal on Friday, not only should it address potential changes to existing guidance, but it also should explain how this proposal differs from the advance notice of grants reform OMB issued in February 2012.

For example, OMB can’t just mention that this proposal would raise the OMB Circular A-133 single audit threshold from $500,000 in the current regulation to $750,000 in the proposal. It really should also discuss the three-tiered proposal in the 2012 advanced notice and why it was discarded. There are numerous cases where OMB should address how this proposal would alter current guidance, as well as how it differs from the 2012 advanced notice. Not to mention, the proposal itself is 244 pages. That’s a lot of material to cover in an hour.

Also, OMB said that it cannot take questions during the event, but questions in advance or after the webinar can be sent to COFAR@omb.eop.gov. Remember that address.

I foresee this being a popular webinar and would encourage anyone interested in viewing it not to wait until the last minute to attempt to connect. I’ve seen many occasions where too many interested parties have tried to link into a webinar only to find that the server is overwhelmed, preventing their access. Perhaps OMB is ready to handle this and I certainly hope so, but I do think it’s worth mentioning. I mean, if a power surge can overwhelm the circuits at the Super Bowl, who’s to say an attendee surge won’t create an OMB webinar blackout.

As I said yesterday, there is a lot to learn from this webinar so I encourage everyone to take part, as well as submit comments on the proposal by May 2.

What details of the proposal do you hope OMB addresses in the hour-long webinar? Let us know.

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