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OIG Response

City of Tuscaloosa Successfully Appeals FEMA-OIG 2016 Findings

 

UPDATED: September 2017 (Original below)

In 2016, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security released findings recommending the Federal Emergency Management Agency recover $1.2 million in grant funds awarded to the City of Tuscaloosa. 

Auditing is a normal part of the process and these types of findings aren’t unusual.  

The findings are against FEMA, not the City of Tuscaloosa, as all actions taken by the City of Tuscaloosa were authorized by FEMA. The City followed FEMA and Alabama EMA advisement, suggestions and procedures.

The City respectfully disagreed with finding A in this review, and successfully appealed the claims.

Finding A: Contracting Procedures

The City of Tuscaloosa correctly followed the rules and procedures to select Thompson Consulting. As required by federal law, the City provided full and open competition by publishing a request for proposals on the City of Tuscaloosa website and directly contacting six firms. The City received nine submissions, so there was widespread participation and full competition. 

The City of Tuscaloosa provided OIG a detailed explanation of the competitive selection process, and showed that price was a determining factor. Thompson Consulting was the consensus choice after a thorough evaluation.

The City fully complied with all federal requirements in selecting Thompson Consulting.

NEW: FEMA found that the costs are protected by a section of the Stafford Act and therefore cannot be de-obligated. 

 

Finding B: Duplicate Benefits (Insurance Coverage)

All necessary adjustments were made to all project worksheets. The data OIG considered was not accurate or finalized. This finding has been resolved, as the City doesn’t claim it is owed this.

NEW: After reviewing the correct project worksheets, the FEMA de-obligated $51,695.79 out of $10.1 million. Their original findings recommended to de-obligate $300,315.

 

The City looks forward to working with FEMA and the Alabama EMA as we continue to make Tuscaloosa stronger, safer and smarter.

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The City of Tuscaloosa's Response to February 2016 OIG Findings

Original: February 2016

The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security released findings recommending the Federal Emergency Management Agency recover $1.2 million in grant funds awarded to the City of Tuscaloosa.

Auditing is a normal part of the process and these types of findings aren’t unusual.

The findings are against FEMA, not the City of Tuscaloosa, as all actions taken by the City of Tuscaloosa were authorized by FEMA. The City followed FEMA and Alabama EMA advisement, suggestions and procedures.

We respectfully disagree with finding A in this review, and the City of Tuscaloosa will fight these claims. However, we look forward to working with FEMA and the Alabama EMA as we continue to make Tuscaloosa stronger, safer and smarter.

 

Finding A: Contracting Procedures

The City of Tuscaloosa correctly followed the rules and procedures to select Thompson Consulting. As required by federal law, the City provided full and open competition by publishing a request for proposals on the City of Tuscaloosa website and directly contacting six firms. The City received nine submissions, so there was widespread participation and full competition.

The City of Tuscaloosa provided OIG a detailed explanation of the competitive selection process, and showed that price was a determining factor. Thompson Consulting was the consensus choice after a thorough evaluation.

The City fully complied with all federal requirements in selecting Thompson Consulting.

 

Finding B: Duplicate Benefits (Insurance Coverage)

All necessary adjustments were made to all project worksheets. The data OIG considered was not accurate or finalized. This finding has been resolved, as the City doesn’t claim it is owed this.

 

Finding C: Grant Management

This finding relates to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

 

See the City's full response to OIG's original findings here