"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
"The workshop was held to address a number of goals. Among the primary reasons for this meeting was not only to convey compassion for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, but also to ensure their safety and well-being as they reinhabit their homes, noted Goldman. Second, the workshop began a scientific dialogue to understand the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on people's health. Third, it discussed how the public health community can use the dialogue in preparation for future events. The workshop did not consist of lessons learned during the response, but rather was an examination of the science needed to inform the ongoing response to disasters of this magnitude, asserted [Lynn Goldman of the Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health]."—Summary.
The legal publisher BNA makes its Web Watch available for free. This posting includes links to federal government agencies and legislation, GAO reports, and a House committee report.
+Green, Stuart P., Looting, Law, and Lawlessness(provided by: SSRN) (Tulane Law Review, Vol. 81, Hurricane Katrina Symposium Issue, 2007) (PDF — 381K)
"As recent incidents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters have illustrated, the moral content of looting spans a wide continuum: At one end are predatory and exploitative acts that seem deserving of even greater punishment than ordinary acts of burglary and larceny. At the other end are cases of necessity, involving otherwise law-abiding citizens who, as a result of forces beyond their control, find themselves hungry and exposed to the elements. In between these two poles lies a wide range of conduct that often involves impoverished and alienated citizens living on the edges of society, encouraged to engage in lawlessness by powerful group dynamics and the apparent suspension of civil order.
"This article begins by examining the various meanings - both literal and metaphorical - of looting. It then considers the factors that make bad looting so bad, and good looting less so. With respect to the latter, it considers the possibility that: (1) the disruption in normal social order might leave defendants in a state of nature, outside the jurisdictional reach of the court; (2) the defendant's criminal acts were necessary to avoid some greater harm from occurring; and (3) the otherwise law-abiding offender, suffering from a combination of fright, fatigue, hunger, exposure, and disorientation, should be at least partially excused on the grounds that his acts were out of character.
"The article concludes by considering some of the practical implications of the foregoing analysis, including the suggestion by various commentators that the proper response to looters is to shoot them on sight. It argues that such a policy would be profoundly misguided, both because the criminal law should not tolerate the disproportionate use of deadly force in response to what is essentially a property crime, and because of the obvious difficulties of distinguishing between bad and good looting, particularly under the kinds of emergency conditions in which such acts are committed."—Abstract.
"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 article begins with a critical account of what occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This critique serves as the backdrop for a discussion of whether there are international laws or norms that give poor, black Katrina victims the right to return to and resettle in New Orleans. In framing this discussion, this article first briefly explores some of the housing deprivations suffered by Katrina survivors that have led to widespread displacement and dispossession. The article then discusses two of the chief barriers to the return of poor blacks to New Orleans: the broad perception of a race-crime nexus and the general effect of the imposition of outsider status on poor, black people by dominant groups. Finally, the article explores the international law concept of the right of return and its expression as a domestic, internal norm via standards addressing internally displaced persons, and considers how such a domestic right of return might be applicable to the Katrina victims."
"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."
"The 13th Amendment ban on involuntary servitude has new relevance as the U.S. grapples with national emergencies such as catastrophic hurricanes, flu pandemics, and terrorism. This Article considers work refusal and coerced work performance in life-threatening employment contexts. Overwhelmed by fear, hundreds of police officers and health care workers abandoned their jobs during Hurricane Katrina. Postal clerks worked against their will without masks in facilities with anthrax. A report by Congress worries that avian flu will cause sick and frightened medical personnel to stay away from work, thus jeopardizing a coherent response to a crisis.
"How far can the U.S. go in forcing reluctant civilians to perform essential jobs during a national emergency? I explore solutions to this question by hypothesizing a large release of radiation - whether by terror attack, or catastrophic accident, or major earthquake - in a vital Pacific port. These ports have a history of work stoppages that disrupt the nation's economy. I examine federal government responses if dock workers refused assignments until conditions were safe: (1) The President could declare a national emergency labor dispute under the Taft-Hartley Act, and seek an 80-day back-to-work injunction. (2) Congress could re-enact Section 8 of the War Labor Disputes Act, making it unlawful for dock workers to discontinue production for 30 days and subjecting violators to coercive damages. (3) The president could issue strong executive orders, backed by imprisonment, that regulate employment in ports.
"At the heart of my analysis, I ask: Would any of these responses violate the Thirteenth Amendment ban on involuntary servitude? Congress and the judiciary have broadened this law, and its enforcement counterpart in 18 U.S.C. ? 1584, beyond the abolition of African slave-holding. The Supreme Court in Kozminski defined involuntary servitude as forcing a person to work by physical or legal coercion.
"But the Supreme Court created 13th Amendment exceptions for transportation work. Robertson upholds a law that bars merchant seamen from quitting work, and imprisons deserters. Butler permits states to conscript citizens to work on highways, on pain of imprisonment. Dock work is similar because ports integrate ships and trucks in a transportation hub. Courts now apply these precedents to new compulsory activities, such as mandatory public service for graduation. Moreover, Kozminski reaffirmed Robertson and Butler as precedents.
"Thus, the Constitution would be unlikely to shield dock workers from involuntary labor. This has troubling implications for employees who have recently worked in national emergencies, and may do so again. Employees who work to alleviate avian flu or other catastrophic health threats are also at risk for compulsory labor that exposes them to extraordinary hazards.
"I conclude with a legislative proposal to strengthen individual rights. As my research shows, courts that are presented with national emergency disputes rarely side with the individual who stands in the way of the public's welfare. Without a more balanced labor policy to address emerging crises, the nation may realize belatedly that when we allow fundamental freedoms to be sacrificed in the name of real or perceived emergency, we invariably come to regret it." —Abstract.
"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.
"The article is a critique of the U.S. government's response to regional recovery following Hurricane Katrina, coupled with an argument that policies based on international standards would better serve the hurricane-stricken area. The author contends that part of the problem is that the legal framework for disaster relief, the federal Stafford Act, is insufficient for shaping recovery for catastrophic humanitarian crises that overwhelm state and local governments. Because the Act calls only for discretionary, intermittent federal efforts, and shields such efforts with broad legal immunity, it is a prescription for the sluggish and ineffective governmental action that has hamstrung the Gulf region's recovery.
"The author maintains that what is needed is a comprehensive recovery program akin to the post World War II Marshall Plan. International standards for humanitarian responses to disaster, specifically the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, serve as a policy framework for such a program. The Principles allow for recognition that a crisis on the scale of Katrina calls for a more robust, centralized, federally-led response that addresses the scope of the problem and the interdependency of its many facets.
"The article has five parts. First is an analysis of the situation in the region, focusing on the New Orleans area. Here the author identifies three categories of problems - the problem of return and rebuilding, focusing on private property and civic infrastructure; the problem of security, focusing on flood protection, levees, and wetlands; and the problem of government, focusing on inefficiency, incompetence and inadequate resource allocation.
"The article's second part analyzes the problem in the law. The Stafford Act is reviewed and judicial criticisms discussed. Part three of the article reviews the specific provisions of the Guiding Principles that apply to the Gulf Coast. The author considers the legal status of the Principles, concluding that while certain of the principles may be evolving into customary international law, they are not legally binding but rather intended as a general policy framework.
"In the fourth part of the article, the author recommends the following sixteen point "Marshall Plan for the Gulf" based on the Principles:
1. The federal government will assume primary responsibility for an integrated recovery effort.
2. All persons displaced or injured by the disaster have recovery rights.
3. Displaced persons willing to return have a right to return and their displacement will end as soon as possible.
4. Living conditions will be established that are materially sufficient to allow persons to return and remain.
5. The government will assist persons whose homes are recoverable to repair and rebuild, and must ensure access to decent and affordable housing.
6. Comprehensive, reliable flood protection measures will be taken, including strengthened levees and coastal wetlands.
7. Ineffective bureaucracies will be replaced by streamlined, efficient, effective and easily understood administrative processes for relief and recovery.
8. The military will be deployed for debris removal and rebuilding.
9. Personal property and possessions will be protected and disaster victims will be reasonably compensated for losses.
10. Gulf Coast residents will have access to health care.
11. The government will reopen schools and take other measures to ensure education for all children in stricken communities.
12. The government will take steps to increase economic opportunities in stricken areas, such as partnerships, incentives and assistance for businesses which reopen or locate in the region.
13. The right of evacuees to participate in politics and civic life must be ensured.
14. Storm victims will be included in recovery planning.
15. Anti-discrimination measures will be enforced to ensure that the disaster and recovery do not have a discriminatory effect.
16. The special needs of at risk groups will be met.
"In the fifth part of the article, the author posits that U.S. adoption of the Principles as the basis for international disaster recovery efforts forms a moral and political basis for their domestic application in the Gulf. This is demonstrated by formal U.S. policy promoting the Principles as well as actual U.S. implementation of the Principles in Iraq and in response to the 2004 tsunamis." —Abstract.
"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."
"Hurricane Katrina, the largest disaster in the history of the United States, caused widespread property destruction throughout the Gulf Coast, but particularly in the city of New Orleans. Although the storm created an environment which facilitated increased mortgage defaults in the area, the Article analyzes data from the Orleans Parish Recorder of Mortgages Office and from the Orleans Parish Civil District Court and concludes that foreclosure filing rates in the year after Katrina in fact decreased significantly from the rates for the corresponding period in the year prior to the storm. This result is contrary to what would normally be expected in a usual mortgage lending market, where an increase in the rate of mortgage default would lead to an increase in the rate of foreclosure.
"The Article evaluates in detail the legal and market responses to mortgage default after the storm that contributed to the reduction in foreclosure actions in Orleans Parish in the year after Katrina. Secondary mortgage market initiatives provided the principal means for mortgage relief, because Louisiana debtors received little in the way of formal legal relief. Even though secondary market responses were successful in protecting mortgage debtors after Katrina, their limitations in scope make them inadequate to address the years of financial distress that might likely follow any disaster of the magnitude of Katrina. Thus, while the Katrina experience demonstrates that secondary market interventions can effectively reduce debtor distress after a major disaster, such interventions should not been seen as a substitute for more traditional legal responses to address mortgage debtor distress after disasters or other economic crises." —Abstract.
"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.