FEMA did not ensure Louisiana adequately managed and provided oversight of PA grants to make certain they complied with Federal regulations. Specifically, Louisiana had a backlog of 600 incomplete projects beyond their approved completion dates. We attributed this to the State not conducting regular site visits to assess subrecipients’ ongoing projects, identify and resolve issues as they arose, or ensure prompt project completion. In addition, FEMA had a backlog of 2,150 completed grant projects it had not closed out due to inadequate oversight of its Region 6 staff to ensure they promptly carried out this responsibility. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, the combined backlog of 2,750 grant projects represented nearly $6.6 billion in obligated funds. By May 2020, FEMA had reduced the backlog, but the significant number of remaining projects could lead to delays reimbursing applicants as well as deobligating funds that could be put to better use. We made three recommendations to FEMA to strengthen its oversight of project completion and closeout processes to ensure they are timely and compliant. FEMA concurred with one recommendation and did not concur with two. However, FEMA’s responses resulted in all three recommendations being considered open and unresolved.
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- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-21-50Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyKeywordsFiscal Year2021
FEMA Should Recover $216.2 Million Awarded to the Recovery School District in Louisiana for Hurricane KatrinaExecutive Summary
As of October 2016, the Recovery School District in Louisiana (RSD) had received a $1.5 billion Public Assistance grant from Louisiana, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grantee, for damages resulting from Hurricane Katrina. We examined $1.3 billion for a consolidated project as part of the total amount awarded. In some instances, RSD accounted for and expended portions of the $1.3 billion in Public Assistance grant funds we reviewed according to Federal regulations. However, FEMA improperly awarded $216.2 million to repair or replace more than 292 Orleans Parish school facilities in RSD. We made eight recommendations to FEMA to de-obligate $216.2 million of ineligible costs; follow Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines; and re-evaluate documented proof of assessments for the 35 identified projects and reclassify them, as appropriate, to repair-eligible, and de-obligate the cost difference. FEMA concurred with recommendations 2 through 7 but did not concur with recommendations 1 and 8. We consider recommendations 2 through 7 resolved and open; recommendations 1 and 8 are unresolved and open.Report NumberOIG-20-63Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
Louisiana Did Not Properly Oversee a $706.6 Million Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Award for Work on Louisiana HomesExecutive Summary
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.Report NumberOIG-19-54Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2019
FEMA Should Disallow $9.1 Million in Public Assistance Grant Funds Awarded to Ascension Parish School Board, LouisianaExecutive 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 FileOversight AreaFiscal Year2019