- The Washington Times - Friday, November 14, 2014

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not tracked costs and performance data for its long-term recovery offices across the country, calling over $66 billion in obligated disaster funds into question.

Without tracking costs or data, FEMA cannot determine if its offices are cost-effective, said a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog.

“Without these controls in place, FEMA is at risk for mismanagement of federal disaster funds and cannot ensure consistency in establishing and managing these office,” John Kelly, assistant inspector general of the Office of Emergency Management Oversight, wrote in the report.

Investigators stressed the importance of implementing new tracking policies as federal spending for Hurricane Sandy continues to rise. The cost of recovery for Sandy will likely surpass all disasters except Hurricane Katrina, investigators estimated.

FEMA has also spent roughly $4 billion in administrative costs and $1 billion in salaries across its seven long-term recovery agencies, the watchdog report estimated.

David Kaufman — associate administrator at the Office of Policy, Program Analysis and International Affairs at FEMA — wrote in his response letter that the agency had already put new procedures in place to track costs and data to effectively open, operate and close long-term recovery offices.

Investigators classified both of their recommendations as resolved and open, pending another audit in March.

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