Flood Damage >> Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal

Monitoring costs in operations we reviewed ranged from 20% to 33% of the total cost of debris operations. Other reviews have reported monitoring costs of as FEMA's Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations Page 23much as 50% of total debris costs. Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal

Having enough FEMA, state, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal or local officials present to monitor the monitors increases the direct cost of oversight even more. In such cases, oversight may cost more than the operations being overseen. Figure 11. Truck scale in action (Source: FEMA) Conclusion Debris removal is generally performed effectively and in a timely manner, but not necessarily at the lowest possible cost. 

Debris monitoring presents opportunities for improvement, as current methods leave FEMA and its applicants vulnerable to potential waste, fraud, and abuse. The effectiveness and Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal integrity of monitoring activities could be improved by having local governments perform monitoring, especially if they are sharing in collection costs. 

This could be funded by authorizing FEMA payment for force account labor as was done under the pilot program. Paying for local government employees to address leaning trees and Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal hanging branches could also provide a more secure, lower cost approach to handling these potentially complicated and difficult-to-control efforts. 

If contracted monitors are used, local officials must ensure that the monitoring company does not have an inappropriate relationship with the debris collection contractor, and that monitors are qualified, trained, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal and accurate. 

FEMA should ensure that in cases where the federal government is reimbursing 100% of all debris FEMA's Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations Page 24costs, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal additional federal oversight is in place, since the incentives for local oversight have been diminished. 

One option for reducing collection and monitoring costs is to pay contractors based on the weight of debris collected rather than volume. Trucks could be weighed on truck scales when they arrive at the collection site and again when they depart, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal with the difference being an accurate measure of the weight of the debris. 

Local officials reported that this system worked well and that truck scales could be rented easily and at a reasonable cost for the period that collection centers were operating. No system is totally foolproof. Drivers could still inflate debris weights by wetting down the debris prior to taking it to the collection site or even by adding gravel, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal but these actions should be apparent at the collection site. 

Making weighing systems the basis of an automated load ticket accounting system could further reduce the possibility of fraud and Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal result in improved and better controlled accounting systems for debris collection costs. 

Recommendations 

We recommend that the Associate Administrator, Response and Recovery: Recommendation #4: Provide force account labor reimbursement to cover local governments' costs of employing workers to monitor debris collections and to remove leaning trees and hanging branches, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal and encourage them to undertake such responsibilities. 

Recommendation #5: Strengthen the requirements involved in monitoring contracts to ensure that no relationships exist between debris collection contactors and monitoring contractors, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal and that monitors are properly trained and capable of independent and accurate performance. 

Recommendation #6: Explore advanced technologies to supplement monitoring staff such as GPS in trucks or Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal surveillance cameras. Recommendation #7: Assess weight-based rather than volumebased payment for debris collection and investigate whether such FEMA's Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations Page 25systems could be efficiently linked to debris payment accounting systems. 

Management Comments and OIG Analysis FEMA generally concurs with all of these recommendations, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal but notes that the Agency is not a party to contracts between applicants and contractors. Therefore, the Agency cannot require the use of advance technology as monitoring tools. 

FEMA acknowledges that weight-based monitoring and payment systems have some advantages over volume-based systems, but said these are not immune from potential waste, fraud, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal and abuse and still require proper monitoring and oversight to be effective. 

FEMA is considering revisions to its regulations that would incorporate the force account straight time labor reimbursement component of the PA Pilot Program. FEMA is updating its guidance in both the Debris Contracting Guidance Fact Sheet and Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal the Debris Monitoring Guide to stress that debris monitors should not have a relationship with debris removal contractors. 

FEMA stays abreast of current technologies in order to provide appropriate technical assistance to applicants when they are considering technology applications as part of their monitoring operations. FEMA also can provide appropriate funding, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal such as for the rental of temporary scales, during debris operations. 

We agree with the steps that FEMA is taking to improve the conduct of debris operations. We understand that FEMA is not a party to contracts between applicants and contractors and Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal cannot require the use of advance technology as monitoring tools. 

However, FEMA can encourage the use of cost-effective advance technology for monitoring, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal such as weight-based monitoring and payment systems, by publicizing and encouraging the use of these systems including offering financial incentives. We will determine the status of these recommendations when we receive the detailed corrective action plan in FEMA's 90 day letter. 

FEMA's Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations Page 26FEMA Management and Oversight FEMA's management and oversight of debris operations is subject to many of the overall challenges associated with managing the complex and geographically diverse Public Assistance program. Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal

For example, our December 2009 report3 concluded that the implementation of FEMA's PA program was hindered by untimely funding determinations, deficiencies in program management, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal and poorly designed performance measures. 

The report identified opportunities for improvement in a number of areas relevant to debris removal operations: Inconsistent and tardy eligibility determinations Inaccurate costs and scopes of work in initial project worksheets Undue delays and deferrals in making decisions regarding cost overruns and scope changes prior to closeout Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal

Insufficient detail regarding scopes of work Inappropriate negotiations with subgrantees on eligibility Failure to accept subgrantees' supporting documentation Repetitive documentation requests Unreasonable cost estimates The report concluded that these program management deficiencies are caused principally by turnover, inexperience, Nashville Flood Causing Tree Removal and lack of training within FEMA's disaster workforce.

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