Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 21, 2006

Homeland security grants management in California

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on February 21, 2006

The San Francisco Bay Guardian had an interesting story earlier in the month that looked at the question of why state and local homeland security grant funds have been spent relatively slowly. The story finds that state agencies and a confusing bureaucratic process are largely responsible for these spending bottlenecks. From the story:

Each year, when California submits its request for homeland security funding to the feds, it must include a description of how it intends to use the money. However, for some time the state’s Office of Homeland Security was short the staff necessary to properly audit spending at the local level. So much of the money just sat there.

Between 2000 and 2004, California received approximately $900 million in federal funds from five homeland security and bioterrorism preparedness grant programs, according to last year’s annual budget review from the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. By early 2005, almost a third of that money still hadn’t been spent, largely due to the bureaucratic lethargy of the two state agencies charged with distributing it: the OHS and the California Department of Health Services.

Last year’s LAO report criticizing the bureaucratic bottleneck made many recommendations, but only now is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressing the problem, in a report due to the legislature Feb. 1, as the Guardian goes to press.

The Legislative Affairs Office (LAO) report that’s mentioned above is available here, and is worth reading to better understand this issue. But the Governor’s report – a statewide strategic plan to improve the grants management process – is still not publicly available three weeks after its Feb. 1st submittal deadline, and I’ve been actively trying to track it down. Hopefully it will be available soon.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

February 23, 2006 @ 4:04 pm

Note that instead of say a 10% managment fee, the states are authorized under OMB Circular A-87 to assess a management fee that is not capped. Some states take up to 80% of all grant money targeted to local governments.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Calif: $239m in DHS grant money at risk

September 16, 2006 @ 12:02 am

[…] Back in February, I wrote a post about homeland security grants management in California, focused on a story that ran that month in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. That story noted that California had not spent approx. 1/3rd of federal homeland security grant funds as of 2005, and that Gov. Schwarzenegger was set to issue a strategic plan about how to improve the grants distribution process. That report was due to the California state legislature on February 1, 2006. I made numerous inquiries to try to find it, but was unsuccessful, leaving me to believe that it apparently has yet to be published. […]

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