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FEMA's Process for Selecting Joint Field Offices Needs Improvement

Executive Summary

FEMA’s selection of the Hurricane Sandy JFO in Lincroft, New Jersey, was not cost effective because FEMA waited until after Hurricane Sandy struck. While FEMA’s policies and procedures provide FEMA disaster response officials flexibility in responding to the unique disaster circumstances, FEMA was unprepared to set up a cost-effective JFO in New Jersey. As a result, FEMA’s selection of the New Jersey JFO for Hurricane Sandy exposed the Federal Government to unnecessary costs and delayed JFO operations. By taking advantage of nearby Federal facilities or locating more affordable flexible office space, FEMA might have avoided these facility costs and saved significant Federal disaster funds. Additionally, FEMA could have saved over $1.5 million by taking corrective actions to reduce lease costs as the disaster workforce decreased.

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