How Is OMB Like Oprah Winfrey? The Sequel

September 17, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

OMB-SealYou know you’ve made the big time as a journalist when a federal official addresses a conference and the first thing he or she mentions is something you wrote. Consider me as hitting the big time!

Speaking to the Federal Demonstration Partnership in Washington, D.C., yesterday, Victoria Coliin of the Office of Management and Budget mentioned how she thought it interesting that she was compared to Oprah Winfrey after her presentation to the FDP in January. If you recall, around the same time, Oprah had a big interview with Lance Armstrong and prior to that, there was great hype over an interview with Oprah herself — about the Lance Armstrong interview. Almost everyone wanted to know what the cyclist told her, and hoped she would divulge some juicy tidbits in her pre-interview, only to be told nothing but to watch the interview with Armstrong. Likewise, when FDP attendees were clamoring to know what would be in the grants reform proposal, Collin could only say to wait for the proposal. Thus lead to our blog post in Funding Attractions earlier this year comparing her to Oprah.

So, did Collin shake her Oprah comparison by providing some critical information to the FDP about what will be contained in the final version of the grants reform proposal, otherwise known as the “mega-circular,” or even let us know when it would be released? Alas, no. “We’re once again at the deliberative point in the process where no final decisions have been made, and it’s very much under review,” she said. “What we cannot tell you today, unfortunately, is what will be in the final version when it comes out.” Shades of the Oprah pre-interview all over again. Still, OMB is shooting for a December release date, which was its goal all along.

However, there seemed to be two takeaways from Collin’s presentation. First, the proposal states that federal agencies have a year to adopt the guidance once it is finalized. However, there does seem to be some sentiment from OMB that it doesn’t want different agencies to adopt the guidance at different times. It could be that OMB will encourage agencies to work together to adopt the guidance on a certain date to make it easier on the grant community.

Second, Collin stressed that once the guidance does become final, there will be a big push for training. Collin said that OMB will be working through all federal resources possible to provide opportunities to get all parties, both grantor agencies and grant recipients, up to speed on the new requirements. It’s a hefty task, and we at Thompson will do what we can to help OMB get our readers trained on this very important guidance.

This is what we know so far. Let us know what you think will happen to the proposed guidance. We’d like to hear your views.


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