PA ID# 000-USS9W-00; Massachusetts Port Authority
PW ID# N/A; Request for Public Assistance
Citation: FEMA-1959-DR-MA, Massachusetts Port Authority, Request for Public Assistance
Cross- Reference: Request for Public Assistance, Time Limitations
Summary: At the request of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the Massachusetts Port Authority (Applicant) submitted an Initial Disaster Assessment Report documenting $1.27M in snow removal and emergency work costs in support of the governor’s declaration request. On March 7, 2011, the President declared a major disaster for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a result of the impacts of severe winter storms occurring January 11-12, 2011. FEMA approved MEMA’s request to extended the 30-day regulatory deadline for submitting Requests for Public Assistance (RPA) to April 13, 2011. The Applicant claims that it never received notification regarding the availability of Federal disaster assistance as the email announcing the Applicants’ Briefings, sent by MEMA, was misaddressed to the Applicant’s Chief Financial Officer and was quarantined by his email spam filtering software. The Applicant contacted MEMA on May 20, 2011, to inquire on the availability of assistance and upon discovering the April 13 deadline, worked with MEMA to informally request that FEMA consider its RPA. The Applicant submitted a formal request for FEMA to extend the RPA deadline on December 20, 2011. FEMA denied the request because the Applicant submitted the RPA more than 8 months after the regulatory deadline. In its first appeal, submitted on April 30, 2012, the Applicants asserted that the quarantining of the email notification represented an extenuating circumstance beyond its control that prevented it from a timely submittal of its RPA. In response to the first appeal, the Regional Administrator (RA) determined that MEMA notified entities of the Applicants’ Briefing through means other than email, including press releases and website notices. The RA did not recognize the miscommunication between MEMA and the Applicant as an extenuating circumstance that would justify extending the deadline by over eight months and denied the appeal on July 19, 2012. In the second appeal, the Applicant reiterates the assertions from the first appeal and states that failure of FEMA to accept the Applicant’s RPA contradicts FEMA’s mission and core policies.
Issue: Has the Applicant demonstrated that the delay preventing timely submittal of the RPA was due to extenuating circumstances beyond its control that justify an extension of the regulatory deadline?
Rationale: Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR) §206.202(c), Request for Public Assistance; and 44 CFR §206.202 (f)(2), Exceptions.