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
- Executive Summary
We contracted this audit with Cotton & Company LLP, which found that FEMA did not ensure Monroe County, Florida (the County) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to ensure it accounted for and expended Public Assistance program grant funds awarded to disaster areas in accordance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidance. Specifically, the County did not allocate anticipated and actual insurance proceeds totaling $5 million to reduce FEMA’s share of disaster costs; charged $265,928 for ineligible stand-by time and other ineligible expenses; and requested $84,681 in unsupported and ineligible costs for multiple tasks including clearing emergency access and costs related to flooding. Additionally, the County overstated $34,378 in force account labor costs that were unreasonable and therefore ineligible for grant funding; overpaid a debris removal contractor, resulting in $2,403 in ineligible costs; and charged $1,080 to PW 1512 for security costs that were unsupported and are therefore ineligible for grant funding. We made 18 recommendations that that, when implemented, should improve Monroe County, Florida’s management of FEMA Public Assistance funds. FEMA concurred with our 18 recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-51Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2020