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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 073-21B7C-00; Valley Center Municipal Water District
PW ID# 17, 19, 32 & 107; Labor Costs
January 11, 2010
Governor’s Authorized Representative
Office of the Secretary
California Emergency Management Agency
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, California 95655
Re: Second Appeal–Valley Center Municipal Water District, PA ID 073-21B7C-00,
Labor Costs, FEMA-1731-DR-CA, Project Worksheets (PW) 17, 19, 32, and 107
Dear Mr. McCarton:
This is in response to your letter dated February 24, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Valley Center Municipal Water District (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $25,984 for labor costs associated with emergency protective measures.
Because of wildfires in October 2007, the Applicant deployed employees to clear and dispose of brush and vegetation from around its buildings and reservoirs, and to monitor the protective covers on the reservoirs. FEMA prepared PWs 17, 19, 32, and 107 for $10,262 to fund force account labor overtime and equipment costs for work performed by the Applicant’s employees to monitor and reset pumps as necessary to maintain water availability for firefighting suppression efforts. The Applicant requested an additional $25,984 for costs that it incurred to have its employees return from administrative leave to maintain and operate its water distribution system during the emergency. Recovery Policy 9525.7, Labor Costs – Emergency Work, dated November 16, 2006, states that the actual costs of salaries and benefits for individuals sent home or told not to report due to emergency conditions are not eligible for reimbursement. Extraordinary costs for essential employees who are called back to duty during administrative leave to perform disaster-related emergency work are eligible if the costs were provided for in a written policy prior to the disaster. FEMA determined the additional $25,984 ineligible because the Applicant had not adopted and applied Section 225.3 of its Administrative Code prior to the disaster.
In a letter dated March 10, 2008, the Applicant requested $25,984 for the overtime costs, calculated at the straight-time rate, for employees it called in to maintain and operate its water distribution system. The Applicant stated that the labor costs were consistent with Public Assistance policy and guidance. In a letter dated October 14, 2008, the Deputy Regional Administrator denied the Applicant’s appeal because it had not adopted that portion of Section 225.3 of its Administrative Code addressing labor costs associated with reassigned employees until December 3, 2007, over a month after the disaster was declared.
In a letter dated December 22, 2008, the Applicant submitted its second appeal. The Applicant re-asserts that Section 225.3 of its Administrative Code gives the Applicant’s General Manager the authority to reassign its personnel and to employ additional personnel during an emergency and meets the requirements of FEMA’s Recovery Policy 9525.7, Labor Costs – Emergency Work, dated November 16, 2006.
Labor costs for essential employees called back to duty during administrative leave to perform disaster-related emergency work are eligible if a written policy adopted prior to the disaster provided for those costs. The Applicant adopted the portion of Section 225.3 of its Administrative Code authorizing payment of administrative leave over a month after the disaster declaration. Therefore, the costs for employees called back to duty during administrative leave to perform disaster-related emergency work for FEMA-1731-DR-CA are not eligible. 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: Nancy Ward
FEMA Region IX