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Disaster Recovery

  • 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
  • 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
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