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Disaster Recovery

  • 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
  • Capacity Audit of FEMA Grant Funds Awarded to the USVI Water and Power Authority

    Executive Summary

    KPMG found FEMA did not always ensure that the Virgin Islands Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), and Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (VIWAPA) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend PA disaster grant funds in accordance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  Specifically: 1) VITEMA did not have policies and procedures to ensure the timely submission of management costs for reimbursement; 2) VIWAPA did not fully ensure contract costs were reasonable and allowable; and 3) Neither VITEMA nor VIWAPA had fully implemented FEMA’s Grants Manager and Grants Portal system.  This occurred because FEMA did not consistently provide adequate oversight.  Because of these deficiencies, there is increased risk the PA program may be mismanaged and funds may be used for unallowable activities.  We made three recommendations that, when implemented, should improve FEMA’s, VITEMA’s, and VIWAPA’s management of FEMA PA funds.  FEMA concurred with all three recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-39
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • FEMA Needs to Effectively Designate Volunteers and Manage the Surge Capacity Force

    Executive Summary

    FEMA is not effectively designating Surge Capacity Force (SCF) volunteers and managing the SCF program during disaster operations.  In 2017, FEMA was not prepared to deploy SCF Tier 4 volunteers rapidly and efficiently because FEMA had neither a clear commitment from agencies outside DHS to participate in SCF, nor a roster of volunteers capable of rapidly deploying.  FEMA did not adequately measure SCF performance because it did not have mechanisms to collect data and feedback to gauge program success.  FEMA did not effectively manage the SCF financial program because it relied heavily on the financial controls of volunteers’ home agencies without guarding against breakdowns in those controls.  Finally, FEMA did not close mission assignments promptly because it did not make closing them a priority in what officials described as a series of “overwhelming” catastrophes.  We made four recommendations for FEMA to improve designation of SCF volunteers and management of the SCF program.  FEMA concurred with three of our four recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-32
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Harris County, Texas, Needs Continued Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure Proper Management of Its FEMA Grant

    Executive Summary

    Harris County, Texas needs additional technical assistance and monitoring to ensure grants management comply with Federal procurement regulations.  The County’s procurement policies, procedures, and business practices were not adequate to expend disaster grant funds in accordance with Federal procurement regulations and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines.  We recommended FEMA disallow $2.7 million in ineligible costs and require Texas to work with the County to incorporate Federal procurement regulations when using Federal funds, and review procurement activities before the County awards future contracts.  We made three recommendations that will help improve the procurement capability of Harris County, Texas.  FEMA concurred with all three recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-27
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Capacity Audit of FEMA Grant Funds Awarded to the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works

    Executive Summary

    Williams-Adley determined that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not always ensure that Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend PA grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  Specifically, DTOP did not have (1) an effective grants management process; (2) sufficient internal controls in the procurement process; and (3) sufficient controls over its processes for claiming Force Account Labor costs.  This occurred because FEMA and Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) did not adequately oversee DTOP’s grant management activities.  We made three recommendations to improve COR3’s and DTOP’s management of FEMA Public Assistance funds, ensuring they are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  FEMA concurred with the recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-25
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Capacity Audit of FEMA Grant Funds Awarded to The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority

    Executive Summary

    Williams-Adley determined that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not ensure the Puerto Rico Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resiliency (COR3) and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) establish and implement policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend Public Assistance (PA) grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  Specifically, PRASA did not follow established policies and procedures for: (1) recording the capacity size and rate of its force account equipment; and (2) ensuring each vendor had a certificate of eligibility before receiving a contract award.  We made two recommendations to improve PRASA’s management of FEMA PA funds, ensuring they are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-24
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • FEMA’s Advance Contract Strategy for Disasters in Puerto Rico

    Executive Summary

    Following Hurricane Maria, FEMA did not maximize the use of advance contracts to address identified capability deficiencies and needs in Puerto Rico.  Specifically, we identified 49 of 241 new contracts issued in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria for the same goods or services covered by existing advance contracts.  We attributed FEMA’s limited use of advance contracts to its lack of a strategy and documented planning process for ensuring maximum use of advance contracts. Further, FEMA did not maintain contract files in accordance with Federal acquisition regulations and departmental or its own policy.  This occurred because FEMA’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer did not have controls in place to ensure contract personnel follow Federal regulations and departmental or its own internal policy.  As a result, FEMA’s ability to hold contractors accountable for deliverables is hindered if contract files are not easily located. We made four recommendations to help FEMA improve its strategy for advance contracts, its process for identifying capability needs and gaps, and its contract file management practices. FEMA concurred with all four recommendations and described corrective actions it plans to take.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-20
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • FEMA Should Recover $5.57 Million in Grant Funds Awarded to Frasier Meadows Manor, Inc., Boulder, Colorado

    Executive Summary

    Colorado’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (Colorado) did not effectively oversee its subrecipient, Frasier Meadows, to ensure it was aware of and followed Federal procurement regulations and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines.  In addition, FEMA should have ensured Colorado delivered assistance to Frasier Meadows consistent with the FEMA-State Agreement and the State Administrative Plan.  We recommended the Regional Administrator, FEMA Region VIII, disallow $5.57 million for contracts and direct Colorado to work with Frasier Meadows officials to ensure they implement their updated Federal procurement policies and procedures in the event of a future disaster.  FEMA officials agreed with both recommendations.  Prior to final issuance of this report, FEMA took action to resolve and close both recommendations.  No further action is required.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-17
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • FEMA Purchased More Manufactured Housing Units Than It Needed in Texas After Hurricane Harvey

    Executive Summary

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not balance its Manufactured Housing Unit (MHU) program costs with disaster-related housing needs.  In response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas, FEMA overestimated the number of MHUs it needed by nearly 2,600, which amounted to purchase, transportation, and storage costs of at least $152 million.  The agency also overestimated the number of tank and pump systems (TPS) it needed to operate the fire sprinklers, by nearly 2,400, which amounted to purchase and transportation costs of approximately $29 million.  Following Hurricane Harvey, FEMA focused on providing prompt assistance and did not emphasize financial accountability and recordkeeping.  Had FEMA better managed and overseen the MHU program, it could have put an estimated $182 million to better use to assist survivors from Hurricane Harvey or other disasters.  We made four recommendations that will help FEMA better manage its MHU program.  FEMA concurred with the recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-15
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Review of Weld County, Colorado FEMA Grant Award Disaster No. 4145-DR-CO, Applicant No. 123-99123-00

    Executive Summary

    Weld County, Colorado did not always follow Federal procurement standards in awarding contracts for disaster work.  As a result of our review, we identified and discussed with FEMA various areas where it should review and adjust for cost reasonableness the funding amounts that a project and program management contractor charged related to Weld County.  FEMA agreed to review the costs for reasonableness, unless if FEMA disallowed all of the costs for procurement violations.  We subsequently reviewed FEMA’s cost analysis documentation for Weld County project closeouts related to this disaster.  We found that FEMA appropriately reduced final project amounts due to improper procurements and cost reasonableness concerns, including unreasonable contractor hourly rates.  Consequently, made no recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-11
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
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