WASHINGTON, D.C. -- James L. Witt, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, announced today that the agency's accounting of its 1998 financial activities - the first fully comprehensive financial statement produced by the agency - received an "unqualified" audit opinion. The rating, issued by FEMA's independent Office of the Inspector General, is the highest rating given for financial statements. This is the fifth year in a row that FEMA has received the highest possible audit rating. The financial statements are required by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 and the Government Reform Act of 1994.
"We are very proud of our work at FEMA, not only in the successful delivery of disaster services, but also in the improved management and accountability that we now have in FEMA's programs," said Witt.
The audit included a review of more than $6 billion in funds obligated during 1998, including the Disaster Relief Fund. The 1998 financial statements reflect an intensive three-year effort to improve the agency's financial reporting and bring it into full compliance by improving financial systems and expanding the number of agency programs included in the financial statements. In transmitting the audit findings, FEMA's Inspector General commended FEMA's Office of Financial Management for its "diligence and determination to prepare the statements."
"Achieving this goal of consolidated financial statements is important because it ensures the agency can provide useful financial data to program managers," said Gary D. Johnson, FEMA's chief financial officer. "While we still have more work to do, our achievements so far are a direct reflection of the professionalism and hard work of our staff."