We determined that FEMA did not ensure procurements and costs for debris removal operations in Monroe County, Florida, met Federal requirements and FEMA guidelines. Specifically, FEMA did not adequately review local entities’ procurements for debris removal projects and reimbursed local entities for questionable costs. These deficiencies were due to weaknesses in FEMA training and its quality assurance process. As a result, FEMA approved reimbursement to local entities for nearly $25.6 million (more than $23 million in Federal share) for debris removal projects, including contracts that may not have met Federal procurement requirements, and more than $2 million in questionable costs. Without improvements to FEMA’s training and project review processes, FEMA risks continuing to expose millions of dollars in disaster relief funds to fraud, waste, and abuse. We made three recommendations with which FEMA officials concurred. Based on the information FEMA provided, we consider the three recommendations resolved and open.
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- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-21-26Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2021
Better Oversight and Planning are Needed to Improve FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance ProgramExecutive Summary
During the course of the audit, we determined that FEMA provided hotel rooms to about 90,000 households (nearly 227,000 survivors) after the 2017 California wildfires and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. However, FEMA did not oversee and manage the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program to ensure it operated efficiently and effectively to meet all disaster survivors’ needs. We made two recommendations that when implemented, will improve FEMA’s oversight and pre-disaster planning of transitional sheltering. FEMA concurred with both recommendations and the recommendations are resolved and open.Report NumberOIG-21-20Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2021
- Executive Summary
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mismanaged the distribution of commodities in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. FEMA lost visibility of about 38 percent of its commodity shipments to Puerto Rico, worth an estimated $257 million. Commodities successfully delivered to Puerto Rico took an average of 69 days to reach their final destinations. Inadequate FEMA contractor oversight contributed to the lost visibility and delayed commodity shipments. FEMA did not use its Global Positioning System transponders to track commodity shipments, allowed the contractor to break inventory seals, and did not ensure documented proof of commodity deliveries. Given lost visibility and delayed shipments, FEMA cannot ensure it provided commodities to Puerto Rico disaster victims as needed to sustain life and alleviate suffering as part of its response and recovery mission. In addition, FEMA’s mismanagement of transportation contracts included multiple contracting violations and policy contraventions that ultimately led to contract overruns of about $179 million and at least $50 million of questioned costs. We made five recommendations that, if implemented, should improve FEMA’s management and oversight of its disaster response activities. FEMA concurred with four of the five recommendations. Recommendations 1 through 4 are considered open and resolved. Recommendation 5 is considered resolved and closedReport NumberOIG-20-76Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
We identified debris removal contract performance issues and concerns. In the report, we discuss our observations regarding the use of pre-disaster debris removal contracts in Florida following Hurricane Irma. We also emphasize how FEMA can benefit from implementing effective controls to track systemic issues after a disaster and ensure FEMA follows procedures for uploading required documentation to support debris removal costs for proper grant management. The report contains no recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-44Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
Inadequate Management and Oversight Jeopardized $187.3 Million in FEMA Grant Funds Expended by Joplin Schools, MissouriExecutive Summary
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Missouri, and Joplin Schools did not properly manage and oversee this disaster award. Specifically, FEMA and Missouri did not provide proper grant management and oversight of Joplin’s subgrant activities. Joplin Schools disregarded Missouri’s authority as the grantee and did not always comply with Federal requirements and FEMA policies as required. This occurred because Joplin Schools heavily relied on the advice of its grant management contractor. As a result of the grant management and oversight issues, Joplin Schools did not follow Federal procurement standards when it awarded $187.3 million in non-exigent disaster-related contracts, including $609,676 in ineligible contractor direct administrative costs. We provided five recommendations to help improve FEMA and Missouri’s grant oversight and management process. We also included four recommendations for FEMA to disallow or not fund $187.3 million in ineligible contract costs. FEMA determined approximately $56 million, the net obligated amount, was eligible for reimbursement. FEMA concurred with all nine recommendations and completed actions to close recommendations 1 to 4 and 8. Recommendations 5 to 7 are resolved and open with a target completion date of June 1, 2020. Recommendation 9 is considered unresolved and openReport NumberOIG-20-41Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
KPMG, LLP found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not always ensure Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend Public Assistance (PA) grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance. For example, VIDE did not have policies and procedures to address procurement-related conflicts of interest and related disciplinary actions. This occurred because FEMA did not adequately train VIDE personnel and did not review these policies and procedures. We made five recommendations that, when implemented, should improve management of FEMA PA grant funds, ensuring the funds are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance. FEMA concurred with the recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-30Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
KPMG, LLC found the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not provide adequate guidance to the Virgin Islands Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Agency (VIHFA) and that VITEMA and VIHFA did not adequately manage FEMA Public Assistance (PA) funds. Also, VITEMA and VIHFA did not always ensure the accuracy of project funding information or promptly notify FEMA about significant project cost overruns. This occurred because FEMA did not provide the necessary guidance to and oversight of VITEMA and VIHFA to properly manage PA funds. Because of these deficiencies, PA programs are at increased risk of mismanagement and expenditure of funds for unallowable activities. We made seven recommendations to improve VITEMA’s and VIHFA’s management of FEMA PA funds, ensuring they are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance. FEMA concurred with the recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-29Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Public Assistance (PA) Program, is currently responding to Hurricane Irma — one of the most catastrophic disasters in recent United States history. FEMA’s damage estimates for Florida and Georgia exceed $4.2 billion, with debris removal operations constituting approximately 36 percent of the total PA cost. Debris removal costs in Florida and Georgia are estimated to reach approximately $1.5 billion as of May 2018. FEMA’s guidance for debris monitoring lacks sufficient information to ensure adequate oversight. In the 2011 OIG report, FEMA’s Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations, we identified deficiencies in FEMA’s debris removal guidance. To resolve these deficiencies, we made 10 recommendations to, in part, strengthen FEMA’s debris removal guidance and procedure. In response, FEMA released additional criteria pertaining to debris estimating and monitoring to enhance the overall effectiveness of the process. FEMA removed the detailed responsibilities when it released its Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG). Going forward from the PAPPG version 1.0, FEMA relies solely on the subrecipient to monitor the debris removal operations, and removes monitoring responsibilities from both FEMA and the State. Subrecipients now have a greater responsibility to identify issues or concerns during debris removal operations. We made three recommendations that when implemented will strengthen FEMA’s debris monitoring operations. FEMA concurred with all recommendations.Report NumberOIG-18-85Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2018