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OPM authorizes agency solicitations for Sandy victims

Nov. 5, 2012 - 01:31PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments
A couple navigates their way home after flood waters receded  to walkable levels Oct. 30 in Little Ferry, N.J. Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York and New Jersey, left much of Bergen County flooded and without power.
A couple navigates their way home after flood waters receded to walkable levels Oct. 30 in Little Ferry, N.J. Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York and New Jersey, left much of Bergen County flooded and without power. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

The Office of Personnel Management on Friday authorized agencies to launch one-time charity drives to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

OPM Director John Berry issued a memo granting the rare solicitation authority, which will be separate from the standard Combined Federal Campaign charity drive. Agencies can choose a charity or charities involved in relief efforts from last week’s storm, and collect cash or check donations from employees in the workplace until Nov. 21. OPM said payroll deductions will not be available for this solicitation, as they are for CFC drives.

It will be up to the agencies to make arrangements with their chosen charities on how they will deliver the donated funds, and to provide receipts to the donors, the memo said. OPM said that donors must be told this is not part of CFC.

OPM said agencies can choose charities that are not on the list of CFC-approved charities, but it encouraged agencies to select a charity from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s online list of organizations providing disaster relief assistance.

OPM also said a department can collect money to help an employee or his surviving family who was directly affected by Sandy, even without OPM’s authorization. But such a collection needs to follow ethics requirements, OPM said, and anyone planning such a collection should first check with his agency’s general counsel or ethics official to make sure he doesn’t violate those rules.

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