New Report Exposes FEMA’s Inadequate Oversight of Contractors After Hurricane Irma

Oct 2, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 2, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a new report from the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security detailing how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to exercise adequate oversight of contractors tasked with clean-up efforts in Florida and Georgia after Hurricane Irma:

“This new report indicates that FEMA failed in one of its most basic functions—overseeing contractors charged with clean-up in the aftermath of hurricanes.  Addressing poor contract oversight was supposed to have been one of the key ‘lessons learned’ after Hurricane Katrina, but these new findings suggest that FEMA is repeating the mistakes of the past.  This report also raises serious questions about whether FEMA’s failure to oversee contractors may be even more aggravated in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Below are highlights from the new report:

  • “FEMA, State, and subrecipients provided limited or no contractor oversight, and contractor employees lacked adequate training for monitoring.”  


  • FEMA’s guidance “for debris monitoring lacks sufficient information to ensure adequate oversight.”


  • “Without adequate guidance and oversight of debris removal by FEMA, State officials, and subrecipients, there is increased risk of fraud, waste, and abuse at great cost to taxpayers.” 


  • “OIG observed overstated debris loads in Florida while both OIG and USACE observed overstated debris loads in Georgia.”


  • “When haulers overstate debris loads or collect unauthorized debris, subrecipients can end up incurring and requesting reimbursement for unreasonable or ineligible costs.”


  • “FEMA’s current guidance provides little to no incentive for subrecipients to oversee the debris removal process as required by Federal regulations.” 

Click here to read the full report.

115th Congress