FEMA Changes Terminology for Public Assistance, Fire Management Grants

January 4, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

femaAs Shakespeare wrote, “What’s in a name?” Sometimes a name change can seem like a small thing, but it is important to take note of it. We mention this because, effective this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has amended the terms it uses to describe grantees and subgrantees in its Public Assistance and Fire Management Assistance Grant regulations.

Through the Public Assistance program, FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures and the restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of other organizations. The program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures. Fire Management Assistance is available to states, local and tribal governments for the mitigation, management and control of fires on publicly or privately owned forests or grasslands, which threaten such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including FEMA, joined 27 other federal agencies and offices on Dec. 19, 2014, by adopting the Office of Management and Budget’s uniform grant guidance, with DHS grant regulations contained at 2 C.F.R. Part 3002. In doing so, FEMA replaced its grant administration regulations at 44 C.F.R. Part 13 to 2 C.F.R. Parts 200 and 3002.

In a recent final rule, FEMA updated its Public Assistance and Fire Management Assistance Grant program regulations to reflect two terms used in the uniform guidance. The guidance uses the terms “recipient” and “subrecipient” when referring to entities that receive federal awards, whereas FEMA’s regulations use the terms “grantee” and “subgrantee” when referring to such entities receiving awards under the Public Assistance and Fire Management programs. To improve consistency with the uniform guidance, FEMA now has replaced the term “grantee” with “recipient” and the term “subgrantee” with “subrecipient” in the program regulations. “FEMA intends to use comparable terms to avoid confusion and provide consistency between applicable regulations and Public Assistance policy,” the agency said.

However, FEMA is not making substantive revisions to the current definitions for the terms “grantee” and “subgrantee.” The uniform guidance provides that different definitions may be found in federal statutes or regulations that apply more specifically to particular programs or activities. Therefore, although FEMA is replacing the terms “grantee” and “subgrantee” with the terms “recipient” and “subrecipient,” respectively, the agency will continue to use the definitions for these terms in its regulations at 44 C.F.R. Part 204 and 44 C.F.R. Part 206, subpart G, which apply to the Public Assistance and Fire Management programs.

Recipients of these FEMA awards should be aware of this new terminology when reviewing their award terms and conditions.

Let us know how you feel about this new language. We’d love to hear from you.



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