Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 17, 2009

FEMA fumbles files

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on March 17, 2009

“Contracting documents are in disarray at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters office, with the agency unable to find two-thirds of the files requested during a recent audit. Contracting officers at FEMA’s Washington office could not locate 16 of the 24 files the accounting firm Urbach Kahn and Werlin requested, according to the audit released March 13 by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general,” Alice Liposwicz reports in Federal Computer Week.   I empathize.  Thirty days left to tax day.  Where are those receipts?

The DHS Inspector General has a complete report on the problems.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 17, 2009 @ 11:00 am

I believe the chronic understaffing and underfunding and disorganization of FEMA’s contracting office is deliberatate by management outside that office. In my time in FEMA contractors often were the ONLY ones that knew where key documents were in that OFFICE and safeguard procedures for sensitive procurement documents were not in place. Also continually non-contract programs, functions and activities got assigned to that office. For example training on grant managment regulations and procedures and also cooperative agreements. That office took no responsiblity for non-funded MOA’s and IAA, and MOUs so that there was little knowledge of what FEMA thought it was obligated to do or perform through those vehicles or what it could expect. The OIG function in FEMA was also remarkably adept at have a highly disorganized filing system and almost no collective memory on any issue or problem of concern to the OIG. I am sure that underfunded and understaffed office has fully corrected that problem now that they are at least 2/3rds of DHS OIG staff and system. Thanks to OMB again for constant underfunding and understaffing OIG operations generally.

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