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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 081-71000-00; City of Stroud
PW ID# 419; Debris Removal
March 5, 2010
Deputy State Coordinating Officer
Department of Emergency Management
2401 N. Lincoln
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Re: Second Appeal–City of Stroud, PA ID 081-71000-00, Debris Removal,
FEMA-1735-DR-OK, Project Worksheet (PW) 419
Dear Ms. Shingledecker:
This letter is in response to your letter dated July 31, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Stroud (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of an additional $105,583 for debris removal under PW 419.
An ice storm from December 8, 2007, to January 3, 2008, deposited large quantities of vegetative debris, including hanging limbs and leaning trees, in the Applicant’s maintained and owned properties. On January 6, 2008, FEMA met with the representatives of the Applicant and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (ODEM) in Stroud, surveyed the city and estimated the quantity of disaster-related debris to be 30,580 cubic yards (CY). All parties memorialized this estimate in a document signed on January 8, 2008. The Applicant signed a Local Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Chandler on January10, 2008, wherein the Applicant agreed to use Chandler’s procurement process and contractor for debris removal and debris monitoring. On January 14, 2008, the Applicant selected Integrated Pro Services, the City of Chandler’s contractor, to remove disaster debris from the city. FEMA prepared and approved PW 419 for $214,060 for the removal and disposal of 30,580 CY of vegetative debris. On May 13, 2008, ODEM reviewed the Applicant’s documentation during closeout of PW 419 and observed that the Applicant was invoiced for $319,643.89 in contractor fees to remove 51,593 CY of debris. ODEM requested that FEMA prepare a PW to obligate the additional funds. Upon review, FEMA determined the additional funding was not eligible.
The Applicant submitted a first appeal in a letter dated May 23, 2008. The Applicant stated that FEMA officials did not disallow a single truckload of debris, and they only issued oral warnings to the Applicant about irregularities in the debris removal operation. In addition, ODEM stated that its audit confirmed the contractor’s invoice total request. In a letter dated April 3, 2009, the Acting Regional Administrator denied the Applicant’s appeal for additional funding because FEMA field observations indicated that the amount of eligible debris removed was substantially less than the amount the contractor claimed. The Acting Regional Administrator also stated that FEMA staff had file memos and photos that indicated that contractor loads were credited with higher percentages of debris volume than the amounts FEMA validated and that the contractor removed ineligible debris from private property and undeveloped areas. Further, the Acting Regional Administrator noted that the debris monitors that the Applicant hired to document debris removal operations and ensure that the debris removal contractor performed eligible work did not write load tickets at points of origin, thereby allowing ineligible debris to be invoiced. Since there was no estimate of the volume of ineligible debris that the contractor removed, FEMA determined that the original estimate of 30,580 that FEMA, ODEM and the Applicant developed was reasonable. The Applicant submitted its second appeal in a letter dated May 29, 2009.
The ODEM auditors reviewed the Applicant’s documentation and identified $319,644 in contractor fees. ODEM did not submit any information to demonstrate that it evaluated the work that the contractor performed for eligibility under the Public Assistance Program. After surveying the city on January 6, 2008, FEMA, ODEM and the Applicant agreed that the estimated volume of disaster-related debris was 30,580 cubic yards. FEMA assigned a debris specialist to monitor debris operation in the City of Stroud. FEMA representatives expressed concerns about the City of Stroud’s contactor to ODEM Public Assistance staff as early as January 8, 2008. FEMA staff documented their concerns about the debris removal operations with daily summary sheets and photographs throughout the operations. Below are several examples of irregularities that FEMA staff observed and documented.
· On January 8, 2009, FEMA staff met with ODEM Public Assistance staff to discuss concerns about the debris removal operations in the City of Stroud.
· On January 17, 2008, FEMA staff measured a debris pile at a dumpsite to be approximately 10,817 CY. The debris monitor stated that the load tickets issued for that debris totaled 29,032 CY.
· On January 21, 2008, FEMA staff observed that the operator of truck #6814 with capacity of 58 cubic yards pulling trailer #6815 with a capacity of 52 cubic yards pick up approximately 22 cubic yards of debris from roadside located near Cedar Street and Second Street and loaded it in the truck and trailer. At the dumpsite, the monitor wrote ticket # 1672 and #1673 recording 52 cubic yards of debris for the truck and 50 yards of debris for the trailer.
· On January 24, 2008, FEMA informed Mr. Steve Gilbert of FEMA concerns about contractor and monitors overestimating volume of debris loads.
· On January 28, 2008, FEMA observed truck #6832 rated at 44 CY capacity receive load ticket #2364 at the tower for 39 CY of debris. The FEMA monitor measured the dumped load as 16 CY.
· On January 29, 2009, FEMA staff met with the Federal Coordinating Officer and the State Coordinating Officer and informed them that Danos, the debris monitoring contractor, was not properly monitoring the debris removal contract. The debris monitoring contractor was issuing load tickets at the dump site instead of at the loading sites.
FEMA observed irregularities in the debris removal operations, including the monitoring, and shared those concerns with the Applicant and ODEM. I have reviewed the information submitted with the second appeal and determined that the Applicant has not demonstrated that the additional 21,013 CY for which it requests reimbursement was eligible disaster-related debris. The Acting Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance regulations and policy. Accordingly, I am denying the second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Tony Russell
FEMA Region VI