Questionable FEMA Contracts

From Bloomberg News: FEMA Is Spending Billions, and Some Questionable Companies Are Getting Work. A surge in disaster contracts from hurricanes has put the agency under pressure to bypass the usual competitive bidding process.

Two excerpts:

This year’s record hurricane season has led to the biggest spike in government disaster contracts in more than a decade, testing the government’s ability to manage the unpredictable and growing costs of climate change. Since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas on Aug. 25, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded $2.2 billion in contracts….

BOTTOM LINE – Since Hurricane Harvey hit, FEMA has given out $2.2 billion in contracts, some of which are being awarded to companies with past violations for similar work.
Update:  On the one hand I am sympathetic to FEMA: the agency is working 22 disasters; they are trying to hire 2,000 new employees, and they are contracting out for billions of dollars of goods and services. I know the staff is working hard.
But as a taxpayer, I am concerned about contracts for essential drinking water from a contractor who has not meet deadlines and commitments for a previous disaster response.

 

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2 Responses to Questionable FEMA Contracts

  1. JerseyShoreDave says:

    Fully agree … You have every right to be concerned … We all should be concerned when the federal government, or any government, awards non competitive contracts, especially to business entities that have questionable past performance. Public officials have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. Appears FEMA is attempting to balance the need to follow good business practices versus responding effectively to the extraordinary immediate needs of storm victims. Based on what I have read to date, Brock Long and FEMA seem to be managing these competing interest as well as could be expected considering the widespread destruction that occurred in such a short period of time.

    Recovery work in Puerto Rico alone will be historic in both scope and cost so it would be prudent for FEMA to fully and completely implement the changes to their procurement procedures as recommended by Congress in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. These long overdue changes are necessary considering the hundred of billion of dollars that will be spent to recover from the 2017 hurricane season.

  2. JerseyShoreDave says:

    So let me get this straight … at first FEMA was moving too slow, especially in Puerto Rico, now they are moving too fast for the bureaucrats to process the paperwork. Would imagine FEMA had a choice of providing life sustaining supplies now or wait until the vendors were fully vetted so the choice is obvious. I am confident Brock Long and his staff realize the challenges of contract management with these marginal vendors and will closely monitor performance.

    Processes and procedures can be reviewed at a later date for adherence to rules and paperwork can be corrected to satisfy government requirements, however, suffering and loss of life of storm victims cannot be corrected or fixed from a desk in Washington, DC. Seems to me FEMA is taking the required action to meet the immediate needs of the disasters.

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