OIG: FEMA Ignored Contracting Regs In $30M Hurricane Maria Award

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking heat in a May 7 report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general (IG) which found that FEMA procurement staff used Google, rather than verified firms from FEMA’s Disaster Response Registry, to arrange a sizeable hurricane-recovery contract.

The IG report found that procurement laws, regulations, and procedures went unfollowed when $30 million was awarded for two contracts to Bronze Starr, LLC for tarps and plastic sheeting as part of the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.

“As a result of these management control weaknesses, FEMA inappropriately awarded two contracts to Bronze Starr, which did not meet the requirements of either contract,” the IG wrote, adding: “Overall, FEMA wasted personnel resources, time, and taxpayer money by issuing, canceling, and reissuing contracts for tarps.”

DHS OIG made two recommendations for FEMA to adhere to, including being specific about requirements in future solicitations for prospective contractors and developing or updating various policies to avoid procurement violations.

But FEMA ‘non-concurred’ with both, citing that the recommendations “should focus solely on specific issues related to the two Bronze Starr contracts reviewed.”

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