"The Special Committee on Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans Universities of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) finds that there was 'nearly universal departure from (or in some cases complete abandonment of) personnel and other policies' by five New Orleans institutions―the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, the University of New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, Loyola University New Orleans, and Tulane University―as they contended with the disaster that befell the city and its universities.
"The report identifies several specific areas of widespread dereliction:
The number of faculty terminations 'exceeded the inescapable or minimal needs of the institution, sometimes substantially';
The notice and timing of personnel actions 'also failed to meet AAUP standards and created needless, even at times unconscionable, uncertainty';
Alternative placement of affected faculty 'universally fell below AAUP standards, but also fell short of the institutions' apparent capacity to mitigate the harshest effects of inevitable personnel reductions';
The opportunity for internal review of adverse judgments 'failed to meet most accepted standards of due process as well as the institutions' own established review procedures';
Faculty tenure (which all these institutions had previously recognized and by and large respected) 'received far less deference than AAUP policy and prior practice [on these campuses] would have required.'" —Press release
"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.
"In the two years since Hurricane Katrina, the federal government has provided more than $114 billion in aid. But walk the streets of the Gulf Coast, and you might wonder where all that money has gone."
"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
"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.
"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."
"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.
"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
"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 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
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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."
"[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"
"Hurricane Katrina caused several breaches in the floodwalls along three drainage canals in New Orleans, contributing to catastrophic flooding. To restore the pre-Katrina level of hurricane-related flood protection, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) decided to acquire several large-capacity pumping systems. During the process of acquiring, testing, and installing the pumping systems, issues with the pump contract and operation of the pumping systems came to light, including several identified in a Corps Independent Team Report (ITR). GAO was asked to evaluate the Corps' efforts to (1) develop contract specifications and award the contract, (2) address pumping system performance issues, (3) document contract modifications, and (4) reconcile contract payments."—Purpose.
"Schedule concerns drove the Corps' decisions in developing specifications for the pumping systems, but the rush to award the contract resulted in deficiencies in key contract provisions. The Corps was committed to having as much pumping capacity as possible in place at the drainage canals by June 1, 2006—the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Due to the compressed schedule and the limited space available for installation, and based on the limited market research conducted by the Corps' consultants, the Corps decided to use 60-inch hydraulic pumping systems rather than alternatives that would have involved longer delivery schedules or required more space. The Corps' consultants drafted contract specifications that closely matched those of one supplier, which, combined with the 60-inch pumping system requirement, resulted in that supplier being in the strongest position to compete for the contract. Further, the contract itself was not written as precisely as it should have been. Specifically, the original factory test requirements were ambiguous, there were limited provisions for on-site testing, and there were no criteria for acceptance of the pumping systems by the government."—Results in brief.
"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
"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.
"FEMA's ineffective oversight resulted in an estimated $30 million in wasteful and improper or potentially fraudulent payments to the MD ["maintain and deactivate"] contractors from June 2006 through January 2007 and likely led to millions more in unnecessary spending beyond this period. For example, FEMA wasted as much as $16 million because it did not issue task orders to the contractors with the lowest prices. In addition, GAO estimates that FEMA paid the contractors almost $16 million because it approved improper or potentially fraudulent invoices. This amount includes about $15 million spent on maintenance inspections even though there was no evidence that inspections occurred and about $600,000 for emergency repairs on housing units that do not exist in FEMA's inventory.
"Furthermore, FEMA's placement of trailers at group sites is leading to excessive costs. As shown below, FEMA will spend on average about $30,000 on each 280 square foot trailer at a private site through March 2009, the date when FEMA plans to end temporary housing occupancy. In contrast, expenses for just one trailer at the Port of Bienville Park case study site could escalate to about $229,000---the same as the cost of a five bedroom, 2,000 square foot home in Jackson, Mississippi." —What GAO Found.