Auditors highlight state deficiencies in FEMA grants management

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Many of the 16 states that came under review by the Homeland Security Department office of inspector general during fiscal 2012 for their management of Urban Areas Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Program grants needed improvement in strategic planning and oversight, says the DHS OIG.

In a year-end report (.pdf) summarizing individual reports completed during fiscal 2012 (which ended Sept. 30), auditors note past gaps in state grants administration--although they say that generally the states in question "did an efficient and effective job."

Nonetheless, some of the past shortfalls were significant, such as Arkansas taking up to 1,031 days past the required deadline for obligating its allocated federal grants money to subgrantees during the period of fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2010.

Nine states also didn't track subgrantee performance or ensure that subgrantees complied with federal law, auditors say. New Mexico completely lacked a system or a process or qualified personnel to track subgrantee accomplishments during fiscal 2007 through 2009--a period during which it received $16.5 million in State Homeland Security Program grants.

Some states didn't make long-term sustainment plans, auditors also say. Florida, for example, had no contingency plan for the continuance of some State Homeland Security Program grants projects in the event of reduced or eliminated federal funding. Minnesota didn't have a plan for continuing its fusion center independently of federal grants, auditors add.

Excluded from the category of flawed but nonetheless generally efficient grants managed by auditors in the report is the U.S. Virgin Islands, which "did not do an efficient and effective job of administering program requirements." The office of inspector general in a January 2012 report (.pdf) recommended that the Federal Emergency Management Agency consider designating the Virgin Islands as a high-risk grantee.

For more:
- download the year-end review (.pdf)

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