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.
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- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-20-44Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2020
- 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 NumberOIG-20-50Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
- 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 FileFiscal Year2020
- 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 NumberOIG-20-48Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
- 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 NumberOIG-20-46Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
Management Alert - FEMA Did Not Safeguard Disaster Survivors' Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (REDACTED)Executive Summary
Through the TSA program, FEMA provides transitional sheltering in hotels to disaster survivors displaced by emergencies or major disasters. TSA reduces the number of survivors in congregate emergency shelters by providing hotel lodging. During our ongoing audit of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, we determined that FEMA violated the Privacy Act of 19741 and Department of Homeland Security policy2 by releasing to the PII and SPII of 2.3 million survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017.3Report NumberOIG-19-32Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2019
- Executive Summary
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Public Assistance (PA) Program, is currently responding to Hurricane Irma — one of the most catastrophic disasters in recent United States history. FEMA’s damage estimates for Florida and Georgia exceed $4.2 billion, with debris removal operations constituting approximately 36 percent of the total PA cost. Debris removal costs in Florida and Georgia are estimated to reach approximately $1.5 billion as of May 2018. FEMA’s guidance for debris monitoring lacks sufficient information to ensure adequate oversight. In the 2011 OIG report, FEMA’s Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations, we identified deficiencies in FEMA’s debris removal guidance. To resolve these deficiencies, we made 10 recommendations to, in part, strengthen FEMA’s debris removal guidance and procedure. In response, FEMA released additional criteria pertaining to debris estimating and monitoring to enhance the overall effectiveness of the process. FEMA removed the detailed responsibilities when it released its Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG). Going forward from the PAPPG version 1.0, FEMA relies solely on the subrecipient to monitor the debris removal operations, and removes monitoring responsibilities from both FEMA and the State. Subrecipients now have a greater responsibility to identify issues or concerns during debris removal operations. We made three recommendations that when implemented will strengthen FEMA’s debris monitoring operations. FEMA concurred with all recommendations.Report NumberOIG-18-85Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2018
Management Alert - FEMA Faces Significant Challenges Ensuring Recipients Properly Manage Disaster FundsExecutive Summary
Because of the high dollar amount in disaster funds likely awarded and the history of audit questioned costs for FEMA disaster funds, FEMA’s inadequate grant management poses a significant risk to taxpayer dollars. We identified issues in our previous reports that demonstrate FEMA’s ongoing issues with ensuring disaster grant recipients and subrecipients comply with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. Specifically, FEMA faces significant challenges in ensuring its grant recipients properly manage FEMA disaster funds. This alert highlights the significant deficiencies with FEMA’s internal controls and its lack of enforcement of Federal requirements. As FEMA moves forward with its recovery efforts, it must hold recipients accountable for proper grant management. FEMA must implement and use effective controls to overcome existing problems with managing and monitoring funds for disaster response and recovery.Report NumberOIG-18-33Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018
- Executive Summary
This is a Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General (OIG) special report on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and FEMA recipient and sub recipient disaster-related procurements. FEMA is currently responding to some of the most catastrophic disasters in U.S. history — Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the October 2017, California wildfires. Because of the massive scale of damage and the large number and high-dollar contracts that will likely be awarded, there is a significant risk that billions of taxpayer dollars may be exposed to waste, fraud, and abuse.Report NumberOIG-18-29Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2018
St. Johns County, Florida, Could Benefit from Additional Technical Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure St. Johns County, Florida, Could Benefit from Additional Technical Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure Compliance with FEMA Grant RequirementsExecutive Summary
We determined that the County’s accounting policies, procedures, and business practices appear adequate to account for FEMA grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. However, the County could benefit from Florida, as FEMA’s grant recipient, providing additional technical assistance and monitoring of its pending projects.Report NumberOIG-17-105-DIssue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2017