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Disaster Recovery

  • FEMA Mismanaged the Commodity Distribution Process in Response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria

    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 closed

    Report Number
    OIG-20-76
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • FEMA Should Recover $216.2 Million Awarded to the Recovery School District in Louisiana for Hurricane Katrina

    Executive 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 Number
    OIG-20-63
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Pre-Disaster Debris Removal Contracts in Florida

    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 Number
    OIG-20-44
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • FEMA's Public Assistance Grant to PREPA and PREPA's Contracts with Whitefish and Cobra Did Not Fully Comply with Federal Laws and Program Guidelines

    Executive Summary

    The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) complied with Federal procurement requirements for its noncompetitive procurement of the Whitefish contract.  However, the contract costs may not have complied with Federal cost principles that costs must be reasonable to be eligible for Federal awards.  PREPA’s oversight of the Cobra contract did not comply with PA program guidelines.  Finally, FEMA’s Public Assistance grant to PREPA for the Cobra contract did not fully comply with PA program guidelines.  We made two recommendations for FEMA to provide technical assistance to Puerto Rico to ensure compliance with Federal regulations and PA program guidelines.  We made two other recommendations for FEMA to develop guidance to verify its subrecipients’ oversight of time and material contracts and determine the reasonableness and eligibility of time and material contract costs.  FEMA concurred with three of the recommendations and did not concur with one recommendation.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-57
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Early Warning Audit of FEMA Public Assistance Grants to Polk County School Board, Florida

    Executive Summary

    We contracted this audit with Cotton & Company LLP, which found that FEMA did not ensure the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) monitored the Polk County School Board (PCSB) to ensure it established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend PA grant funding in accordance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  For example, PCSB was unable to support $46,168 in food spoilage costs; requested and received funding through a Florida Public Assistance grant for ineligible contract costs incurred under Project 2658 for debris removal and related costs; and charged $897 in unallowable costs associated with ineligible fringe benefits for substitute employees.  We made 13 recommendations that, when implemented, should improve PCSB’s management of FEMA Public Assistance funds.  FEMA concurred with our 13 recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-50
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Early Warning Audit of FEMA Public Assistance Grants in Monroe County, Florida

    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 Number
    OIG-20-51
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Early Warning Audit of FEMA Public Assistance Grants to Lee County, Florida

    Executive Summary

    We contracted this audit with Cotton & Company LLP, which found that FEMA did not ensure Lee County, Florida (the County) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to ensure it accounted for and expended PA program grant funds awarded to disaster areas in accordance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  Specifically, the County requested FEMA funding for $994,425 in unsupported force account labor, equipment, and materials; was unable to provide supporting documentation for $16,210 in costs incurred to operate an emergency shelter; did not maintain adequate documentation to support $267,452 in costs incurred for road repair services; did not include all required provisions in its contracts to obtain disaster recovery services related to Hurricane Irma; and had not evaluated the risk of subrecipients’ noncompliance with Federal requirements, obtained subrecipient audit reports, or developed plans for monitoring subrecipients.  We made nine recommendations that, when implemented, should improve Lee County, Florida’s management of FEMA Public Assistance funds.  FEMA concurred with all nine recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-48
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Houston, Texas Has Adequate Policies, Procedures, and Business Practices to Manage Its FEMA Grant

    Executive Summary

    We determined that the city of Houston has adequate policies, procedures, and business practices that comply with Federal procurement regulations and FEMA guidelines to expend FEMA grant funds.  We found Houston may have inappropriately included the $73.8 million cost of Houston First Corporation’s (Houston First) disaster damages in its damage estimate, even though it was not an eligible applicant for them.  We did not examine procurement policies and procedures related to Houston First because the entity was outside the scope of our audit.  During the audit, FEMA acknowledged it would reiterate in writing to the City of Houston the importance of proper oversight for all procurements executed by Houston First.  This report contains no recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-49
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Early Warning Audit of FEMA Public Assistance Grants to Collier County, Florida

    Executive Summary

    We contracted this audit with Cotton & Company LLP, which found FEMA did not ensure Collier County, Florida (the County) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend Public Assistance (PA) program grant funds awarded in disaster areas in accordance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  Specifically, the County could not provide documentation to support $4,602 in force account costs claimed.  Additionally, the subrecipient monitoring process needs improvement.  The State has not evaluated the risk of subrecipients’ noncompliance with Federal requirements, obtained subrecipient audit reports, or developed plans for monitoring subrecipients.  We made four recommendations that, when implemented, should improve Collier County, Florida’s management of FEMA PA funds.  FEMA concurred with our four recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-46
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Inadequate Management and Oversight Jeopardized $187.3 Million in FEMA Grant Funds Expended by Joplin Schools, Missouri

    Executive 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 open

    Report Number
    OIG-20-41
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
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