The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not ensure state and local law enforcement agencies expended FEMA’s Presidential Residence Protection Assistance (PRPA) grant funds in accordance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines, according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General.
Specifically, FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) reimbursed the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for unallowable overtime fringe benefits. This occurred, in part, because GPD did not evaluate NYPD’s increase in fringe benefit rates, request justification for the rate change, or establish comprehensive guidance for the PRPA grant, OIG said. Additionally, GPD did not provide effective oversight to manage the PRPA grant during its application review and verification process by assigning limited, inexperienced staff whose work received minimal supervisory review. As a result, GPD improperly reimbursed NYPD $6.9 million in unallowable fringe benefit costs. Additionally, FEMA may not be able to ensure taxpayer funds are spent in the best interest of the government.
In each of 2017 and 2018, Congress appropriated $41 million to FEMA for the PRPA grant. OIG conducted this audit to determine whether FEMA ensured state and local law enforcement agencies accounted for and expended PRPA grant funds in accordance with Federal laws, regulations, and FEMA and United States Secret Service guidelines.
OIG made four recommendations to improve FEMA’s management of the PRPA grant, but FEMA did not concur with the first one: that the Assistant Administrator for FEMA Grant Programs Directorate disallow $6,936,357 in overstated fringe benefit costs and ensure fringe benefits are properly calculated and applied.