Auditors: FEMA's contract files a mess

 The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s  contracting files are in disarray and most of the files reviewed are missing key information, according to a new audit released today by Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard Skinner.

The audit of FEMA’s fiscal 2007 disaster contracts performed by Fox & Co. said contracting officials did not follow standard procedures for safeguarding contracting files in locked rooms or cabinets, and many files were kept in unsecured desks. It took FEMA two months to locate the 32 files requested for review, and two could not be located at all, and it took two attempts to locate substitutes, the auditors said.

Overall, the auditors found “substantial deficiencies” in FEMA’s performance and made four recommendations for change. FEMA management agreed with the recommendations and is working hard to implement the changes, the auditors said.

“FEMA was not following pertinent Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements or Acquisition Management Division’s contracting policies and procedures for emergency acquisitions for most of the contracts reviewed,” the audit stated.

Of 32 FEMA contracts examined, none had the appropriate contractor performance evaluations, and only nine had required information on source selection, the auditors said.

The lack of documentation was so substantial that the auditors were unable to determine the effects of the problems on FEMA’s deliveries of disaster goods and services, said the auditors for DHS, FEMA's parent department.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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