The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not ensure that, following Hurricane Irma, procurements and costs for debris removal operations in Monroe County, Florida, met Federal requirements and FEMA guidelines.
Specifically, FEMA did not adequately review local entities’ procurements for debris removal projects and reimbursed local entities for questionable costs. These deficiencies were due to weaknesses in FEMA training and its quality assurance process, OIG said.
As a result, FEMA approved reimbursement to local entities for nearly $25.6 million (more than $23 million in Federal share) for debris removal projects, including contracts that may not have met Federal procurement requirements and more than $2 million in questionable costs. Without improvements to FEMA’s training and project review processes, FEMA risks continuing to expose millions of dollars in disaster relief funds to fraud, waste, and abuse.
Due to congressional concerns raised immediately following Hurricane Irma, OIG initiated a review of debris removal procurements in Monroe County, Florida. The objective was to determine the extent to which FEMA ensured procurements for Monroe County debris removal operations following Hurricane Irma met Federal procurement requirements and FEMA guidelines.
OIG made three recommendations that, when implemented, should improve the quality of FEMA’s procurement and project review processes. FEMA concurred with all three recommendations.