Los Alamos County, New Mexico, (County) received a $5.1 million award from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, a FEMA grantee, for damages resulting from severe storms and flooding in September 2013. Our audit objective was to determine whether the County accounted for and expended FEMA funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. The County generally accounted for and expended Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance grant funds according to Federal requirements. However, the County did not always comply with Federal procurement standards in awarding its three largest contracts for disaster work totaling $1.9 million. Specifically, the County did not take all required affirmative steps to assure the use of small, minority, women-owned, and labor-surplus area firms when possible. However, although the County did not take the specific steps that Federal procurement standards require, it did award all three contracts to these types of disadvantaged firms. In addition, the County’s contractors performed adequately and billed for their work appropriately. Therefore, we did not question costs because the County’s noncompliance with Federal requirements did not negatively impact the Federal government. County officials said that they were not aware of this requirement, but would update their policies and procedures to include this Federal procurement standard for future disasters.
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