Calaveras County, CA…About 10 months after the disaster declaration, the County still had not started Project 78, a major $8.3 million debris-removal project to clear hazardous trees. This has delayed recovery for the entire area because the County is not initiating other critical work until hazardous tree removal occurs. Therefore,delays to this project will create delays to other disaster-related work.
In addition, the County’s procurement policies and procedures do not fully conform to Federal procurement standards. The County’s accounting system is also deficient because it cannot account for all costs on a project-by-project basis, as Federal regulations require. Finally, the County does not
have policies and procedures in place to ensure that it will not receive benefits from insurance or other sources that duplicate funding it receives from FEMA.
County officials told us they did not have experience with federally declared disasters and were not
familiar with applicable Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. Therefore, the County clearly needs additional, ongoing assistance from California and FEMA to ensure it properly manages its $10.8 million FEMA grant. California, as FEMA’s grant recipient, is responsible for ensuring that the County is aware of and complies with Federal requirements, as well as for providing technical assistance and monitoring grant activities.
Calaveras County, California (County), received a $10.8 million grant for damages from the September 2015 Butte Fire. We conducted this audit early in the grant process to identify areas where the County may need additional technical assistance or monitoring to ensure compliance.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should direct the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (California), as its grant recipient, to provide increased monitoring and technical
assistance to the County, to ensure the County follows Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines and avoids misspending its $10.8 million grant award.
The full findings of the Office of Inspector General-Department of Homeland Security are attached below