Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not properly oversee the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (Louisiana or State) to ensure it complied with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. Louisiana and the Office of Community Development (OCD), in turn, did not always properly account for and expend Federal grant funds. Specifically, Louisiana did not provide adequate documentation to support costs, as required by Federal regulations, and FEMA is not requiring the State to provide mandatory documentation to close out the $706.6 million Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) grant. Louisiana also has not provided FEMA with required documentation showing that homeowners paid $79.7 million in promissory notes for state-funded mitigation work on their homes. Finally, Louisiana drew down funds exceeding project obligations by $50.4 million due to a lack of FEMA controls. These issues arose primarily because FEMA did not ensure Louisiana exercised proper oversight of the HMGP grant and the State did not comply with Federal regulations. As a result, Federal funds are at risk of fraud, waste, and abuse. We provided five recommendations to FEMA to postpone project closeout until Louisiana provides adequate documentation that supports $706.6 million in costs and that FEMA ensures compliance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. FEMA’s responses were sufficient to close all but one recommendation, which we consider open and unresolved.
- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-19-54Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2019
- Executive Summary
We conducted this audit to determine whether the Board accounted for and expended FEMA grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. The Board sustained an estimated $90.6 million in damages caused by severe storms and flooding that occurred in August 2016. The Ascension Parish School Board (Board) accounted for disaster-related costs correctly, as Federal regulations require. However, the Board did not follow all Federal procurement regulations in awarding $25.6 million in disaster-related contracts, resulting in $9.1 million in ineligible costs. Additionally, there were issues with direct administrative costs related to a Recovery Program and Grants Management services contract. This occurred because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not ensure the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (Louisiana) monitored the Board’s subgrant activities for compliance with Federal procurement requirements.Report NumberOIG-19-05Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2019