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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 073-21B7C-00; Valley Center Municipal Water District
PW ID# 17, 19, 32 & 107; Labor Costs
Citation: FEMA-1731-DR-CA, Valley Center Municipal Water District, Labor Costs, Project Worksheets (PW) 17, 19, 32, and 107
Reference: Labor Costs
Summary: 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 incurred 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. 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 its first appeal, dated March 10, 2008, 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 appeal because the Applicant had not adopted that portion of its Administrative Code pertaining to labor costs for employees on administrative leave (Section 225.3 of its Administrative Code) until after the disaster event.
In a letter dated December 22, 2008, the Applicant submitted its second appeal re-asserting that its policy gave its General Manager the authority to re-assign district personnel and to employ additional personnel during an emergency. The Applicant also asserts that Section 225.3 of its Administrative Code meets the requirements of FEMA’s Recovery Policy 9525.7, Labor Costs – Emergency Work. Since Section 225.3 of its Administrative Code in effect at the time of the disaster did not specify that the Applicant would pay equipment and labor costs when it called employees back to duty during administrative leave, the costs for employees called back to duty during administrative leave to perform disaster-related emergency work are not eligible.
Issue: Are the Applicant’s costs to return its employees from administrative leave to perform disaster-related emergency work eligible for Public Assistance funding?
Rationale: 44 CFR §206.228; FEMA Recovery Policy 9525.7, Labor Costs – Emergency Work, dated November 16, 2006