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Iron County Forestry and Parks Department, Wisconsin, Needs Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure Proper Management of Its FEMA Grant

Executive Summary

We determined that the Iron County Forestry and Parks Department’s (Department) accounting policies, procedures, and business practices are adequate to account for grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines.  However, the Department needs to revise its procurement policies and procedures to comply fully with all Federal procurement standards.  If the Department makes these revisions and follows them, FEMA should have reasonable assurance that (1) small and minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms will receive sufficient opportunities to compete for federally funded work; (2) the risk of misinterpretations and disputes relating to contracts will be minimized; and (3) contracts are awarded to individuals, companies, or recipients who do not pose a business risk to the government.  Department officials acknowledged that they had improperly procured their contracts, but said they plan to seek FEMA reimbursement for the $72,235 in disaster-related contract costs they had incurred.  We recommended that FEMA not fund $72,235 of ineligible contract costs and direct the Wisconsin Emergency Management Agency to provide additional technical assistance and monitoring to the Department to ensure it complies with applicable Federal procurement standards and to prevent the improper spending of approximately $3.2 million in estimated disaster work.  FEMA concurred with all of our findings and recommendations.

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