+Bourne, Marko, Director, Office of Policy & Program Analysis, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Hurricaine Katrina Multitier Contracts (June 2008) (OIG 08-81) (PDF — 603K)
"We initiated this audit in response to Congressional concerns that, in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, multitier subcontracting (1) increased costs to the government, (2) limited opportunities for small and local businesses to participate in response and recovery efforts, and (3) resulted in layers of subcontractors being paid profit and overhead while adding little or no value to the work performed under the contract. Our objectives were to determine the validity of these concerns, as well as to determine the potential effect Section 692 of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 could have on future disaster contracting.
"It does not appear that multitier subcontracting, as an isolated factor, caused significant increases in costs to the government, nor did it reduce subcontracting opportunities for small and local businesses. The prime contractors subcontracted a significant amount of the value of their contracts to small and local businesses.
"Although FEMA relied on large national prime contractors, initially preventing small and local businesses from participating as prime contractors themselves, the national prime contractors generally did well hiring small and local subcontractors. However, because subcontractor invoices generally do not include specific information on lower tier subcontractors, we could not determine how many layers of subcontracting existed on contracts or whether any layers involved contractors charging profit without contributing substantially to the work being performed on the contract.
"Although Section 692 of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 would limit subcontracting to 65% of total contract costs, nothing in this legislation specifically restricts the number of tiers of subcontractors. Further, by limiting subcontracting, Section 692 could restrict funding available to small and local businesses while potentially impairing FEMA's ability to respond quickly to future catastrophic disasters. The Department of Defense has promulgated less restrictive rules to control multitiering that reduce the risks inherent in Section 692. Therefore, we recommend FEMA officials work with DHS officials, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and Congress to promulgate less restrictive rules over multitier contracting." —Executive Summary.
"Drawing on an analysis of New Orleans' recent development history, [this report] shows how the region's past development trends exacerbated the catastrophe, and suggests how the region might rise again on a better footing by undoing the mistakes of the past."—Executive Summary. Links from the URL above include the full 45-page report (PDF), the Executive Summary, and related resources.
"It is likely that in some heavily damaged parts of New Orleans redevelopment will be restricted, either temporarily, or even permanently. The possibility of such restrictions immediately gives rise to the following question: Will restrictions on development in New Orleans effect compensable regulatory takings under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? In this paper, we try to answer that question, or to at least provide a framework for answering it. We conclude, although cautiously, that it is more likely than not that temporary restrictions will not effect compensable takings because property owners still have economically valuable interests, while it is more likely than not that permanent restrictions will result in compensable takings because of owner expectations and a lack of reciprocity of advantage.
"We have three primary goals. First, we summarize the proposal for redevelopment which explicitly allows for the possibility of moratoria on redevelopment in certain neighborhoods. Second, we situate the current case law on this issue within the larger context of takings jurisprudence. Understanding the courts' trends on this issue, if any are discernible, will be indispensable in trying to get a sense of how courts would rule in litigation that might arise out of regulating redevelopment in New Orleans. Third, we give an analysis of how current holdings on takings issues might apply to the situation in New Orleans. Because of the complexity of takings jurisprudence, and because of the somewhat unusual nature of the situation in New Orleans, it is difficult to make a confident prediction about how such claims would come out."—Abstract.
"The cost of the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, Louisiana, Hurricane project has quadrupled since 1965 primarily because of inflation. Scheduled completion has been delayed 13 years. In addition, project objectives may not be attained if key elements are not completed as planned."—Cover.
"Labor demand remains high in devastated areas and evacuee relocation areas. In the New Orleans metro area, advertised vacancies are more than double the pre-Katrina level. Occupations in demand include: office and administrative support, business and financial operations, management, architecture and engineering."
"This testimony (1) places federal assistance provided to date in the context of damage estimates for the Gulf Coast, and (2)discusses key federal programs that provide building assistance to the Gulf Coast states. In doing so, GAO highlights aspects of rebuilding likely to place continued demands on federal resources."—Why GAO Did This Study
"As states and localities begin to develop plans for rebuilding, there are difficult policy decisions Congress will need to make about the federal government's contribution to the rebuilding effort and the role it might play over the long-term in an era of competing priorities. Based on our work, we raise a number of questions the Subcommittee may wish to consider in its oversight of Gulf Coast rebuilding. Such questions relate to the costs for rebuilding the Gulf Coast—including the federal government's share, the effectiveness of current funding delivery mechanisms, and the federal government's efforts to leverage the public investment in rebuilding."—What GAO Found.
"Hurricane Katrina not only devastated a large area of the nation's Gulf coast, it also raised fundamental questions about ways the nation can, and should, deal with the inevitable problems of economic risk and social responsibility. This volume gathers leading experts to examine lessons that Hurricane Katrina teaches us about better assessing, perceiving, and managing risks from future disasters.
"In the years ahead we will inevitably face more problems like those caused by Katrina, from fire, earthquake, or even a flu pandemic. America remains in the cross hairs of terrorists, while policy makers continue to grapple with important environmental and health risks. Each of these scenarios might, in itself, be relatively unlikely to occur. But it is statistically certain that we will confront such catastrophes, or perhaps one we have never imagined, and the nation and its citizenry must be prepared to act. That is the fundamental lesson of Katrina.
"The 20 contributors to this volume address questions of public and private roles in assessing, managing, and dealing with risk in American society and suggest strategies for moving ahead in rebuilding the Gulf coast."
"Just compensation is critical to post disaster recovery in the wake of a devastating flood, especially when prior shortcomings of the government might be partially to blame. Assessing the full extent of compensation given to private landowners may help for future disaster flood recovery and planning. Despite profound geographic, demographic, and legal differences between France, Louisiana, and California a comparison of their post-disaster compensation models proves useful to identify past, present, and future models of a similar problem of postflood redevelopment compensation outside of private insurance schemes.
"Inquiring into eminent domain concepts surrounding just compensation principles in France, Louisiana, and California provides a framework for addressing post-disaster homeowner compensation. France supplies a model that demonstrates strong flood disaster prevention and land use planning measures alongside a full recovery compensation scheme. In contrast, Louisiana and California do not have explicit disaster compensation frameworks. Existing Louisiana law offers an existing legal and moral framework that can be applied by the state entity currently deliberating on post-disaster compensation program. California, on the other hand, currently offers the most unforgiving compensation scheme, but also has the time to adopt tailored flood compensation and planning principles."—Abstract.
"This issue focuses on public health activities in Louisiana 1-2 months after Hurricane Katrina, during which time local authorities reopened portions of New Orleans and the pre-disaster population began to return. Reports in this issue describe a range of public health disaster-response activities, including morbidity surveillance, shelter-based surveillance, community health and needs assessment, environmental assessment, and infectious-disease case investigation. A second special issue, scheduled for March, will focus on the broader impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including public health activities in Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida."
"MMWR is highlighting the public health response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with two special issues. The first issue, published January 20, 2006, focused on public health activities in Louisiana. This second issue focuses on activities in other states directly or indirectly affected by the two hurricanes."
"As of mid-June 2006, FEMA alone has spent $19 billion on emergency relief to victims, of which Congressional auditors now claim at least $2 billion (nearly 11 percent) represents wasteful, unjustified, or fraudulent spending. But this is only part of the story. Most of the money spent has been on massively expensive and gravely flawed plans to shelter evacuees in mobile homes and travel trailers."
"Throughout this post-Katrina period, FEMA has remained dedicated to helping Louisiana families and communities recover. To date, in partnership with and in support of the state of Louisiana, we have provided more than $15.2 billion in assistance. We maintain our steadfast commitment to the resilient survivors of Louisiana as they continue along the path to full recovery.
"So, on the 5th anniversary of this unprecedented event, we can say that a lot has been accomplished, but we an also say that a lot remains to be done. FEMA is committed to being here for as long as it takes to fully recover, and we’re working to do so in a way that builds, sustains and improves south Louisiana’s capability to protect against future hazards."—Mike Karl, EMA Louisiana Recovery Office Interim Director, "Unprecedented Disaster, Unprecedented Recovery."
"Amid the often rancorous debate over federal spending for hurricane recovery and rebuilding, the Metropolitan Policy Program follows the money spent on Katrina, as well as the Rita storm. The fact sheet also includes a timeline of federal allocations."
"This report provides the first full picture of who lived in New Orleans and its region after the hurricanes of 2005, and what types of residents moved in, stayed, or remained displaced one year after the storm. This analysis is critical for moving beyond speculation to informed assessments about how best to serve both existing and displaced households in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita."—Press Release
"In the immediate aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, the affected countries and their respective governments and civil society organisations had an opportunity to draw upon, and should have used existing humanitarian and human rights instruments to ensure that the dignity of those that survived is upheld. ... "The intention of this compilation is to draw attention to some of the numerous existing international human rights instruments, including guidelines adopted by UN agencies that should form the basis for ongoing post-tsunami rehabilitation work. The standards provided for in these instruments could be used to ensure that a human-rights-based approach is upheld and not compromised in the multiple agendas of competing relief agencies. These standards must also be used to spread learning and education amongst all actors involved in the post-tsunami efforts such that everyone works for the same purpose: the speedy attainment of human rights for all who are affected."—Foreword, Miloon Kothari.
"This house-to-house survey of people living in the New Orleans area examines the ongoing struggles of residents seeking to recover from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, including a detailed look at differences in views and experiences by race. Designed and analyzed by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the survey provides a portrait of the enormous needs of the population in order to inform recovery efforts and policy development on the Gulf Coast and in Washington.
"The survey of people living in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes documents the devastating impact that Hurricane Katrina and the failure to respond quickly and effectively to it has had on the economic well-being, physical and mental health, and personal lives of the people of the New Orleans area. The survey also found a sharp divide in the way that African Americans and whites in the New Orleans area experienced the storm and perceive the recovery efforts, especially in hard-hit Orleans Parish. Future Kaiser surveys are planned in 18 months and 36 months to monitor progress and changes."
See also a related survey brief based on the data from this 2006 survey, The Future of New Orleans: Young Adults in the Greater New Orleans Area.
"This symposium provides a forum for scholars to begin conceptualizing a new field of legal scholarship devoted to catastrophic risks. It is hard to think of anything equally important that has received so little sustained attention from lawyers and law professors. Hurricane Katrina involved over a thousand deaths and $100 billion in losses. There is no reason to consider Katrina the 'worst case scenario.' Yet, scholars have not yet systematically addressed the legal and policy issues posed by major disasters. Ultimately, the goal should be assembling the best portfolio of social policies, institutions, and legal rules to deal with catastrophic risks—a portfolio that includes prevention measures, mitigation incentives, emergency response strategies, liability rules, insurance, and reconstruction planning. In this symposium, papers by legal scholars and policy analysts will address these as well as other issues relating to this critically important subject."—Dan Farber, Editor, Introduction. Access to this bepress journal requires a subscription.
"The allegation that Southwest Charter Lines Inc. intentionally over-billed FEMA is not substantiated. We concluded that the alleged over-billing was unintentional. However, during this review, there were issues of concern regarding internal controls and billing errors for items such as overtime and delivery charges, which were not allowed under the contract."
"In August, September and October of 2005, the Monthly Surveys of Consumers fielded by the
University of Michigan included questions about the happiness of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. The date of each interview is known. Looking at the data week by week, reported happiness dipped significantly in the first week of September, after the seriousness of the damage done by Katrina became clear.... These results illustrate the potential of high-frequency happiness data to yield information about preferences over regional, national and international conditions by indicating the magnitude of the good or bad news conveyed by events."—Abstract.
"This preliminary report on the institutional donor response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita is based on information provided by foundation, corporate, and other institutional donors via press releases, Web postings, and other public announcements."—Sources of Data.
"Two years after Hurricane Katrina, the greater New Orleans Area has recovered most of its population and economic base. Yet, progress in the last year has slowed and real challenges remain in the most hard-hit parishes, Orleans and St. Bernard."—Introduction.
"This paper will review the federal, state, and local response to date as it relates to the important goal of creating a better New Orleans. This paper does not attempt to review every decision made on every aspect of the recovery, but instead tries to highlight areas of priority.
"The paper will begin with a quick overview of the federal, state, and local roles to date on post-Katrina recovery.
"It will then evaluate how well the overall recovery response has performed in meeting the three goals of a creating a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous New Orleans. In each of these goals, the paper reviews pre-Katrina conditions in New Orleans and puts forth a vision for the future. It then highlights those areas of meaningful progress at the federal, state, and local levels in support of those goals and closes with an action plan to further the recovery progress."—Introduction.
"This report provides an overview of NEPA requirements relevant to the hurricanes response and recovery efforts, its application to emergency and non-emergency actions related to the disaster, NEPA's role in two past flood and
hurricane control projects that have been discussed in the press, and legislative proposals that relate to the NEPA process. It will be updated as developments warrant."—Summary.
"On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the US Gulf Coast, resulting in the evacuation of >1.5 million people, including nearly 6000 physicians. This article examines the relocation patterns of physicians following the storm, determines the impact that the disaster had on their lives and practices, and identifies lessons learned."—Abstract | Introduction.
"Affordable housing recovery in three coastal counties in Mississippi heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina lags behind the pace of the rest of the housing market in the region, according to a RAND Corporation study released today." Press Release
"This report begins by introducing the concept of a continuum of housing needs following a disaster. Displaced families' needs range from emergency shelter to temporary and permanent housing. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has primary responsibility for coordinating disaster relief efforts and providing certain services to help communities recover, other federal agencies, including HUD, also play an important role."—Summary.
"This Handbook provides an overview of some of the legal issues that you may face as a result of Hurricane Katrina's landfall on the Gulf Coast in August 2005 and the flooding and other damage that occurred."—Introduction. The PDF Handbook, to which this page links, is 1.55MB.
"Two years after Hurricane Katrina much has become clear. We know that the devastation in New Orleans and surrounding areas was less a natural than a man-made disaster. Katrina's surge into New Orleans was the direct result of poorly constructed levees, an ill-conceived navigation channel, and the destruction of millions of acres of coastal wetlands. Furthermore, the storm's intensity itself was fueled by unusually warm waters in the tropical Atlantic due, in part, to global warming pollution.
"How have Congress and the Administration responded to these lessons of Katrina and addressed the chief causes of its tragic aftermath? A report card is due on the federal government's response to global warming, reforming the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and restoring the wetlands along the Gulf Coast that act as a natural buffer to storms."
"The Natural Hazards Review stands on the realization that natural disaster losses result from interactions between the physical world, the constructed environment, and the character of the societies and people who occupy them. The journal is dedicated to bringing together the physical, social, and behavioral sciences; engineering; and the regulatory and policy environments to provide a forum for cutting edge, holistic, and cross-disciplinary approaches to natural hazards loss and cost reduction.... Social and behavioral sciences topics addressed include a range of issues related to hazard mitigation and human response as well as significant issues related to the built environment such as land use, building standards, and the role of financial markets and insurance."—Aim and Scope.
A highly critical assessment of the Republican administration's response and rebuilding efforts, issued one year after the hurricane struck.
+Peek, Lori (Editor), Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design, Special Issue: Children and Disasters Children, Youth and Environments Journal, v. 18, no.1 (2008)
This special issue includes a collection of 20 papers from around the world, 4 book reviews, a media review and and an annotated compilation of resources focusing on children and youth before, during and after disasters occur.
"The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government today released a report on federal funding in response to the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Spending Federal Disaster Aid is an analysis of two major types of aid being used for reconstruction and economic recovery. This analysis of FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grants and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) demonstrates many of the intergovernmental challenges and problems federal, state, and local officials face as they navigate through the stops and starts of the two-year-old recovery effort toward long-term stability for the region."—Press release (September 17, 2007)
"The report, "Building a Better New Orleans: Hope Needs Help," highlights the tremendous strides made by some of the city's most vulnerable people and showcases the folks who helped make that progress possible. But the report also calls on the federal government, the private sector, and the public to do more to get New Orleans the help it needs to create a truly vibrant and equitable city."—-Press Release
"The purpose of this compendium is to summarize the ongoing and planned activities of the Inspectors General community in their oversight of response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Katrina. The compendium includes the activities of those OIGs whose Departments were part of the initial response phase or have received significant mission assignments from FEMA."—Introduction and Background.
"The federal I[nspector] G[eneral] community was a natural fit for oversight and stewardship of the largest disaster recovery funding effort in U.S. history. With the many cross-cutting bureaucracies involved, the federal IGs offered the capacity needed for consistent reporting and the preventive interaction to execute the billions in recovery dollars."&mdashExecutive Summary. This report describes IG oversight activities, including agency audits, investigations, and inspections, during the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
"Hurricane Katrina was more devastating than Betsy. The death toll is sure to be many times as high and the physical damage far more extensive and enduring. And yet to see the city of New Orleans a week after the flood, to see the ruin, was to be shocked much as [President] Johnson was forty years ago."
"Since Hurricane Katrina, resignations from the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) have increased, and the department went more than a year without recruiting enough candidates to justify a police academy training course. This study presents practical recommendations for change that could help the NOPD improve recruiting and retention. Issues addressed include the lack of affordable post-Katrina housing, the fact that the families of many police officers no longer live in the New Orleans area, the destroyed departmental infrastructure, and a budget that does not provide enough resources to meet basic needs. The study focuses on compensation, including housing; the promotion process and the career management system; recruiting; the mix of officers and civilians; and ways to improve the morale of the NOPD. The recommendations, which are specifically tailored to the unique circumstances of the NOPD, include (1) using civilian employees, where appropriate, for jobs currently being performed by uniformed officers; (2) developing a proactive recruiting program; (3) offering some of the city's housing stock in-kind to police officers or selling the property and using the proceeds to improve compensation; (4) increasing the frequency of promotion examinations; (5) eliminating the backlog of promotions to higher levels in the department; (6) restructuring compensation to attract recruits and retain serving officers; (7) establishing a first-responders charter school; and (8) rebuilding the police infrastructure to improve morale."—Document Information.
"In this second summary report examining the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, GulfGov Reports researchers studied the local governments in these communities to see how they are helping or hindering the rebuilding process and to see where these areas stand in their recoveries. In addition, the study looked at how local economies in these communities are faring, the situation with housing and labor, and the state of the states. The first GulfGov Report, which was released on Aug. 22, 2006, found that the communities under study could be separated into three distinct categories: areas that are struggling, areas that are rebounding, and areas that are growing."-Executive Summary.
"In this special interim report, GulfGov Reports looks at the impact of the hurricanes on 15 communities. The school districts are parish and county wide in Louisiana and Mississippi. (In Louisiana, counties are called parishes.) In Mississippi, the school districts examined are all city districts. Specifically, the study examines systems in Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes in Louisiana; Bay St. Louis/Waveland, Biloxi, Gulfport, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Laurel, and Pascagoula in Mississippi; and Mobile County in Alabama."-Overview Analysis.
"The awareness of federal, state and local governments of the potential for levees in New Orleans to fail and decimate poor neighborhoods of the city was widely reported following the hurricane Katrina disaster. Demographics in the areas likely to incur the most severe damage were known to be neighborhoods of predominately poor, black residents. In addition to understanding the likely geographical impact of the impending disaster, the federal government was aware of the extensive social science and legal challenges detailing the likelihood of minority citizens to experience the worst consequences and slowest recovery from natural disasters. Studies dating back to the 1950s and numerous reports of the Red Cross support this conclusion. FEMA itself was sued in federal court for its inadequate response to marginalized communities during hurricane Andrew in 1992. While the federal government may not be held legally responsible for its discretionary policies within the disaster relief context, the horror of hurricane Katrina surely calls for a long overdue re-thinking of the federal approach to assisting marginalized communities in disaster recovery. Social science, the practical problems raised within legal challenges, as well as successful strategies from other disasters and even within the Katrina tragedy offer numerous opportunities for such reform."—Abstract.
"Required information on small business subcontracting was not consistently available in official procurement data systems for the four agencies we reviewed. For example, the systems had no information on whether DHS or GSA required small business subcontracting plans for 70 percent or more of their contracting funds. In addition, the four agencies often did not provide or document reasons for their determinations that plans were not required, even though federal rules require such documentation when prime contracts meet criteria for having these plans. Incomplete information about subcontracting limited GAO's ability to determine the extent to which agencies complied with contracting rules and gave small businesses maximum opportunities to win subcontracts."—What GAO Found.
"Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, a majority of Americans (57%) say that the nation is no better prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters than it was in 2005. However, the public does see progress in rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf region: 69% say there has been a lot or some progress made rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf, up from 56% in 2006. The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Aug. 19-22 among 1,003 adults, finds that midway through the 2010 hurricane season, there is broad skepticism about the nation’s preparedness to deal with hurricanes and other natural disasters. Majorities of most political and demographic groups—including 57% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans—say the nation is not better prepared for such disasters than it was when Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast."
"There are nine volumes in the final report, designed to provide a detailed documentation of the technical analyses conducted and their associated findings. They are organized around major technical tasks that together provided an in-depth, system-wide assessment of the behavior of the
hurricane protection system and lessons learned that have been incorporated into the immediate repairs and are integrated into the continuing efforts to improve the system and assessing approaches for higher levels of protection. The volumes and their individual focus areas are as follows:
Volume I: Executive Summary and Overview ? Summary of findings and lessons learned. Overview of performance evaluation activities and reports.
Volume II: Geodetic Vertical and Water Level Datums ? Update of geodetic and water level references for the region and determining accurate elevations for all critical structures.
Volume III: The Hurricane Protection System ? Documentation of the character of the hurricane protection system, including the design assumptions and criteria, as built and maintained condition.
Volume IV: The Storm ? Determining the surge and wave environments created by
Katrina and the time history and nature of the forces experienced by protection structures
during the storm.
Volume V: The Performance ? Levees and Floodwalls ? Understanding the behavior of individual damaged structures and development of criteria for evaluation of undamaged sections. Providing input to repairs and ongoing design and planning efforts.
Volume VI: The Performance ? Interior Drainage and Pumping ? Understanding the performance of the interior drainage and pumping systems with regard to extent and duration of flooding. Examination of scenarios to understand system-wide performance.
Volume VII: The Consequences ? Determination of the economic, human safety and health, environmental, and social and cultural losses due to Katrina. Examination of
scenarios to understand implications of losses and possible recovery paths on future risk.
Volume VIII: Risk and Reliability ? Determination of the inherent risk for all parts of the system prior to and following Katrina. Provision of capability for risk-based decision support for continuing improvement and development of hurricane protection.
Volume IX: Supporting Appendices ? Documentation of information resources and
management, program management, and communications."
"The devastating hurricanes of 2005 had a two-fold impact on DOI. First, DOI was called upon to assist in the federal relief efforts under the National Response Plan (NRP). Second, DOI's bureaus were greatly affected by the disasters. DOI sustained significant damage to 12 parks and preserves, 86 refuges, 68 water monitoring gauges, and the Mineral Management Service's (MMS) Gulf of Mexico Regional Office. As of September 30, 2006, DOI spent approximately $104 million on hurricane relief and recovery. This included approximately $61 million for NRP activities and $43 million to respond to and address internal damage.
"We are pleased to report that overall, the bureaus effectively managed their 2005 hurricane-related expenditures. Given the magnitude of the damage sustained to the Gulf Coast and DOI facilities, the issues we identified through our expenditure testing were relatively insignificant, and the bureaus performed well."—Earl E. Devaney, Inspector General.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting requested a review on the administration of the ice delivery process between International American Products, Worldwide Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Specifically, we limited our review to only the administration of the ice delivery process during the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. The report also addresses other matters identified during our review of the administration of the 2003 ice delivery contract. We issued DoD Inspector General Report No. 2006-116, 'Ice Delivery Contracts Between International American Products, Worldwide Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,' on September 26, 2006. That report addressed Congressman Bennie Thompson's concerns on the award of the ice delivery contracts between International American Products, Worldwide Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This report addresses the administration of the 2003 ice delivery contract related to the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort....
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District did not effectively administer the 2003 ice delivery contract for the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. The Corps Charleston District did not provide adequate training and guidance for invoice processing over the National Ice/Water Mission. They made inaccurate or inadequately supported payments on 142 of the 342 invoices received in the amount of about $262,000."—Executive Summary.
"Results. USACE reporting of obligations related to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts was not always timely and efficient. Specifically, USACE did not make timely updates to the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System or perform timely closeouts of mission assignments. USACE also did not reconcile mission assignments and corresponding amendments with FEMA and did not track all funding from Congress. As a result, USACE increased the risk of not accurately reporting obligations and expenditures. (See the Finding section of the report for the detailed recommendations.)"—Executive Summary.
"The Government purchase card program was designed to save the Government money by avoiding costly paperwork and to expedite the process of making purchases. In response to Hurricane Katrina, Public Law 109-62 authorized agencies to streamline certain purchasing requirements for procurement of supplies or services to support rescue and relief operations. This report (1) determines whether Government purchase card purchases related to Hurricane Katrina complied with requirements for the use of the card and (2) identifies lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina purchases to assist in the administration of the Government purchase card program during future emergency situations.
"We found that 15 percent of purchases did not comply with purchase card requirements. Additionally, cardholders had questions and concerns regarding some purchases and over half of cardholders expressed the need for additional written guidance regarding emergency purchasing procedures. Lastly, we found that Hurricane Katrina purchase data contained inaccuracies.
"We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management provide additional written guidance on emergency purchasing procedures. We also recommend that ASAM require training on emergency purchasing procedures. Finally, we recommend that ASAM develop a tracking system for monitoring Government purchase card purchases during emergency situations. In its comments to the draft report, ASAM concurred with our recommendations and stated that it has set a course of action to strengthen the Department of Health and Human Services' purchase card program."
"Starting in fiscal year 2005, and continuing through early 2007, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials used funds received from the sale of used travel trailers and mobile homes to partially finance the operations of a dozen Emergency Housing Unit (EHU) sites in seven states. However, more than $13.5 million of the sales proceeds were expended for ineligible purchases. This occurred because FEMA program officials failed to ensure that the EHU expenditures met General Services Administration (GSA) regulations on the use of sales proceeds.
"Proceeds from the sale of government property are restricted-use funds that can be used for the purchase of a select group of replacement type items within a specified time. GSA regulations specify conditions that must be met in order to participate in the program, and if not met, an agency must return proceeds to the United States Treasury.FEMA officials used approximately one half of the sales proceeds, or about $13.5 million, on ineligible expenditures including (1) contracts to support and equip storage sites, (2) replenishment of purchase card accounts, and (3) travel expenses. These purchases generally represented operating expenses of the EHU sites, but were ineligible expenditures under GSA regulations. Because of the unbudgeted nature of these funds and the need for better oversight and control, unnecessary and uneconomical purchases were made.
"FEMA requested this review in early 2007 and FEMA's Disaster Finance Center initiated its own detailed review concurrently. The Disaster Finance Center review, completed in June 2007, concluded that most of the sales proceeds were used for ineligible purposes or not used within prescribed timeframes. The Disaster Finance Center recommended that appropriate fund account adjustments be made and that improperly used funds be returned to the U.S. Treasury. We concur with the Disaster Finance Center recommendations and make additional recommendations to prevent misuse in the future."—Executive Summary
"The Department of Justice is committed to working in partnership with state and local law enforcement and communities to combat violent crime. As part of this effort, the Department has allocated additional resources to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina."
"[T]he contract's statement of work could have been improved to ensure that it did not contain unnecessary and ambiguous requirements that limited competition. Full and open competition is required by Federal Acquisition Regulations and EPA's Contracts Management Manual. Specifically, EPA:
Overstated the need for land
Sought unneeded kitchen space, refrigerators, and microwaves
Did not consider multi-story office space
Unnecessarily required a 6-foot fence
Did not clearly indicate whether private rooms per person were needed"
"This report examines (1) the processes FEMA followed for soliciting and evaluating AHHP project proposals, and for selecting projects for funding and determining the funding amounts;(2) how FEMA's processes compare with those of other agencies that carry out similar similar types of competitive grant programs; and (3) how the group of projects FEMA selected for AHHP funding, as well as other funding options, addresses the goal of identifying alternative forms of disaster housing." p.1
"Since its inception in 1995, the EMAC network has grown significantly in size, volume, and the type of resources it provides. EMAC's membership has increased from a handful of states in 1995 to 52 states and territories today, and EMAC members have used the compact to obtain support for several types of disasters including hurricanes, floods, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The volume and variety of resources states have requested under EMAC have also grown significantly. For example, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, New York requested 26 support staff under EMAC to assist in emergency management operations; whereas, in response to the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, approximately 66,000 personnel—about 46,500 National Guard and 19,500 civilian responders— were deployed under EMAC from a wide variety of specialties, most of whom went to areas directly impacted by the storms.
"While the EMAC network has developed a basic administrative capacity,opportunities exist for it to further build on and sustain these efforts. The EMAC network has adopted several good management practices, such as using after-action reports to learn from experiences and developing a 5-year strategic plan. However, the EMAC network can enhance its administrative capacity by improving how it plans, measures, and reports on its performance. FEMA provided $2 million to help build this capacity in 2003, but the agreement has recently expired. FEMA and EMAC leadership are in the process of finalizing a new 3-year cooperative agreement. Such an agreement would enhance the EMAC network's ability to support its collaborative efforts." —What the GAO found.
"Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast creates a significant opportunity for incorporating energy efficiency improvements that could produce long-term energy costs savings in residential and commercial buildings. The sheer magnitude of the reconstruction effort and Louisiana's and Mississippi's recent adoption of more energy-efficient building codes makes this an opportune time for incorporating energy efficiency improvements in the rebuilding efforts. In partnership with a DOE national laboratory, GAO analyzed energy cost savings opportunities and estimated that adopting these newer building codes could reduce residential energy costs in these two states by at least $20 to $28 million per year, depending on the extent of the rebuilding efforts in these states. Furthermore, the analysis also showed that annual energy expenditures for commercial buildings—hospitals, schools, offices, and retail buildings—built to newer energy standards could be about 7 to 34 percent lower than buildings built to older standards. There also are opportunities for consumers to make additional energy efficiency improvements to both building types by replacing old, damaged equipment."—What GAO Found.
"In February 2006, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) appropriated $2 billion for certain health care costs related to Hurricane Katrina through Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was charged with allocating the $2 billion in funding to states directly affected by the hurricane or that hosted evacuees.
"GAO performed this work under the Comptroller General's statutory authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative. In this report, GAO examined: (1) how CMS allocated the DRA funds to states, (2) the extent to which states have used DRA funds, and (3) whether selected states—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas—anticipate the need for additional funds after DRA funds are expended."—Why GAO Did this Study.
"Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc on small businesses in the Gulf Coast, and much federal assistance has been provided to help these businesses. GAO was asked to describe (1) the amount of assistance provided to Gulf Coast small businesses through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster and Gulf Opportunity (GO) loans, state-administered business assistance programs funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program; (2) the extent to which Gulf Coast small businesses received federal contract funds; and (3) the current state of and improvements in the region’s economy. GAO analyzed data on SBA and EDA loans and states’ use of supplemental CDBG appropriations, data on prime and subcontracts awarded for hurricane recovery activities, and economic indicators both before and after the hurricanes."—Why GAO Did This Study.
"Under the Bush Administration, the 'shadow government' of private companies working under federal contract has exploded in size. Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.
"This growth in federal procurement has enriched private contractors. But it has also come at a steep cost for federal taxpayers. Overcharging has been frequent, and billions of dollars of taxpayer money have been squandered."—Executive Summary.
A section devoted to "Wasteful Katrina Contracts" begins on p.58.
"Many of the New Orleans levee and floodwall failures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina occurred at weak-link junctions where different levee or wall sections joined together, according to a preliminary report [PDF—12.5M] released today (Wednesday, Nov. 2) by independent investigators from the University of California, Berkeley, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)."