The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region II (Region II) and New York State’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) generally complied with PA policies, procedures, and regulations, but have not adequately monitored or promptly closed hundreds of completed projects, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General said.
This has created a backlog of 605 completed projects totaling $578.8 million. This large backlog is a result of DHSES not adequately training grant subrecipients, FEMA changing its guidance to DHSES and subrecipients, and FEMA and DHSES not effectively using quarterly progress reports to monitor project status and manage project closeouts.
Five hundred additional projects with an awarded amount of nearly $5 billion are expected to be completed and ready for closeout in the coming years. If Region II and DHSES do not address the procedural deficiencies in the closeout process, they will not be adequately prepared for the next wave of projects ready for closeout. In addition, the large project closeout backlog has led to delays in reimbursing subrecipients, which could negatively affect some entities’ local operating budgets.
OIG’s objective was to determine the extent to which FEMA and the State of New York complied with policies, procedures, and regulations for effective oversight of the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grant program in response to seven presidentially declared disasters that occurred during fiscal years 2013 through 2018.
OIG made four recommendations to FEMA to ensure it and DHSES strengthen internal controls to improve oversight of the PA grant program.
FEMA concurred with all four of OIG’s recommendations, all of which remain open pending OIG’s receipt of evidence to support completion of the corrective actions.