Auditor: New Links about FEMA PA accountability

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Posted on 09/12/2011 by VLCT

This page contains news releases or other information distributed by Vt. State Auditor, Tom Salmon. His contact information is:

Thomas M. Salmon, CPA
Vermont State Auditor
132 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-5101
(802) 828-2281  office
(802) 828-1629  direct
(802) 828-2198  fax
tom.salmon@state.vt.us
www.auditor.vermont.gov

 


Sept 12, 2011

 

The links below provide excellent information on the accountability of FEMA Public Assistance (PA) disaster funds. 

The first link is an Audit Tips Guide, which was developed for FEMA subgrantees, that explains the audit process, cost principles, and common audit findings we have come across in our many audits. 

Link to the Audit Tips Brochure on the OIG internet site:

http://www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/OIGaudittips100108.pdf

The second link is a video that was developed for FEMA’s use, which explains to FEMA subgrantees how the PA funds are to be accounted for, and some common issues we have found during our audits. 

Link to the PA video:

http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/3886

I’ve also provided a link below to FEMA publications (Policy and Guidance) on the PA program and debris removal activities.  These are excellent sources for information on the PA programs, and on debris removal contracting and debris removal operations – especially FEMA 325 – Debris Management Guide. 

http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/pa/policy.shtm

 


Sept 01, 2011

 

Auditor Salmon urges state/municipal leaders and Vermonters to document flood activity

MONTPELIER – State Auditor Tom Salmon, CPA, today urged state and local officials and flood victims to be mindful of the need for proper documentation for FEMA assistance and other reimbursements.

Salmon said, “We already know that insurance and FEMA will not cover 100 percent of the losses. Thorough documentation and photographs will help you optimize your financial recovery.”

Yesterday Salmon was contacted by fellow auditors from Mississippi and Alabama, states devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Both Auditor Ron Jones (AL) and Auditor Stacey Pickering (MS) were in Vermont earlier this month for the National Association of State Auditors, Comptroller and Treasurers Conference and both auditors took time to enjoy the scenery and covered bridges. Knowing Vermont’s beauty and having experienced disasters in his own state, Pickering advised Salmon to remind local and state leaders to document every activity and expenditure related to the storm and follow the required bidding processes. If you are unable to follow the required bidding process due to urgency, accurately document and justify the reasons. Municipalities should follow a purchasing policy, if the town does not have a formal policy they can refer to state Bulletin 3.5 for guidance.  

Salmon attended a joint meeting of the Rockingham selectboard and Bellows Falls trustees last night and advised local leaders to follow Pickering’s advice as they seek to repair and replace important assets of the town including the Bartonsville covered bridge. Susan Hammond took the video of the bridge being swept away by the river. She is leading a citizens’ partnership with the town to replace the bridge. Additionally, the town of Rockingham has already started a fund knowing that insurance, FEMA, and the state may not  provide sufficient replacement funds. Salmon was a selectboard member in Rockingham before becoming state auditor.

Salmon recommended that towns assign individuals or volunteers with financial skills to begin collecting any and all paperwork related to possible reimbursements including time reports, labor reports, material lists, equipment rentals and contractor utilization reports that FEMA may fund. 

 “Ask questions. Figure out expectations about procurement. If you need to get information from FEMA, or the state organization of jurisdiction (Agency of Transportation, etc.), or anyone you expect reimbursement from, please do so in a timely manner,” Salmon said.

He also said that he is very grateful for the contributions of all military personnel and all Vermont contractors, first responders, utility work crews, public works employees as well as volunteers from in and out of state.