FEMA did not ensure Louisiana adequately managed and
provided oversight of PA grants to make certain the State complied with
Federal regulations. Specifically, Louisiana had a backlog of 600
incomplete projects beyond their approved completion dates. We attribute
this to the State not conducting regular site visits to assess
subrecipients’ ongoing projects and identify and resolve issues as they
arose that would have helped ensure prompt project completion. In addition,
FEMA had a backlog of 2,150 completed grant projects it had not closed out
due to inadequate oversight of its Region 6 staff to ensure they promptly
carried out this responsibility.
As of the fourth quarter of 2018, the combined backlog of
2,750 grant projects represented nearly $6.6 billion in obligated funds. By
May 2020, FEMA had reduced the backlog, but the significant number of
remaining projects potentially could lead to delays in reimbursing
applicants, as well as deobligating funds that could be put to better use.
Multiple hurricanes in 2020, along with the pandemic, make it especially critical
for FEMA to reduce the backlog, thereby ensuring timely assistance to
disaster survivors and prudent use of taxpayer dollars.