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Hurricane Maria

  • 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
  • Capacity Audit of FEMA Grant Funds Awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education

    Executive Summary

    KPMG, LLP found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not always ensure Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend Public Assistance (PA) grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  For example, VIDE did not have policies and procedures to address procurement-related conflicts of interest and related disciplinary actions.  This occurred because FEMA did not adequately train VIDE personnel and did not review these policies and procedures.  We made five recommendations that, when implemented, should improve management of FEMA PA grant funds, ensuring the funds are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  FEMA concurred with the recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-30
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Capacity Audit of FEMA Grant Funds Awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands Housing and Finance Authority

    Executive Summary

    KPMG, LLC found the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not provide adequate guidance to the Virgin Islands Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Agency (VIHFA) and that VITEMA and VIHFA did not adequately manage FEMA Public Assistance (PA) funds.  Also, VITEMA and VIHFA did not always ensure the accuracy of project funding information or promptly notify FEMA about significant project cost overruns.  This occurred because FEMA did not provide the necessary guidance to and oversight of VITEMA and VIHFA to properly manage PA funds.  Because of these deficiencies, PA programs are at increased risk of mismanagement and expenditure of funds for unallowable activities.  We made seven recommendations to improve VITEMA’s and VIHFA’s management of FEMA PA funds, ensuring they are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  FEMA concurred with the recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-29
    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 Paid Employees Over the Annual Premium Pay Cap

    Executive Summary

    We found that FEMA overpaid its employees because it mistakenly believed the Department’s payroll provider had an automated control to prevent payments over the annual cap, and because it did not follow its own premium pay policy. We also found that FEMA has no effective policy or practice to determine the Fair Labor Standards Act status of FEMA employees during disaster deployments, which also contributed to this issue. Since discovering the overpayments, FEMA has been working to calculate how many people were overpaid, but it cannot finish that analysis until it addresses a number of outstanding questions.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-71
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Management Alert - FEMA Must Take Steps to Stop Those Attempting to Profit from Disaster Survivors Seeking Assistance in Puerto Rico

    Executive Summary

    This is a Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General management alert to make the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners aware of active attempts — observed during our ongoing disaster oversight work in Puerto Rico — to profit from disaster survivors seeking FEMA assistance. We observed posted notices featuring a logo similar to FEMA’s, advertising paid services to complete the FEMA disaster assistance application on behalf of survivors. These services appear to be associated with FEMA, but actually are not, and demand a fee for services FEMA provides at no cost.

    To complete the disaster assistance application forms, the paid service requires disaster survivors to provide their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) — such as their social security number, household annual income, and bank account numbers — to a third party, which exposes survivors to unnecessary risks.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-30
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2017
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