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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 083-99083-00; Marion County
PW ID# 917; Force Account Labor
September 11, 2012
Florida Division of Emergency Management
2555 Shumard Oak Boulevard
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2100
Re: Second Appeal–Marion County, PA ID 083-99083-00, FEMA-1785-DR-FL, Force Account Labor, Project Worksheet (PW) 917
Dear Mr. Koon:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated November 22, 2010, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of Marion County (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $51,209 in funding for force account labor straight-time costs for debris removal.
In August 2008, Tropical Storm Fay caused serious damage and flooding throughout the State of Florida. As a result of the disaster, the Applicant cleared approximately 395 tons of debris from its jurisdiction. The Applicant submitted a request for the reimbursement of $172,713 in debris removal costs. FEMA prepared PW 917 in the amount of $121,504 for debris removal but denied $51,209 for force account labor straight-time costs.
In its first appeal, submitted on May 5, 2009, the Applicant argued that the misplacement of the original PW 917 delayed the approval process. Consequently, the PW was not obligated until January 27, 2009, after the expiration of the Public Assistance Pilot (PA Pilot) Program. The Applicant submitted a detailed timeline of signed documents and interactions with FEMA. The Applicant also stated it followed proper protocol to ensure PW 917 would be eligible for reimbursement under the PA Pilot Program provision allowing for the reimbursement of force account straight time costs. The Regional Administrator denied the first appeal on July 8, 2010, stating that because PW 917 was obligated after December 31, 2008, the expiration of the PA Pilot Program, FEMA had no authority to approve it as a PA Pilot project.
On September 14, 2010, the Applicant submitted a second appeal reiterating its argument in the first appeal that the misplacement of PW 917 delayed the approval process. There was no additional documentation submitted with the second appeal.
The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007 (The Act) gave FEMA the authority to waive certain regulations and policies to implement the PA Pilot Program. In accordance with section 689j(d) of the Act, projects had to be approved under the program by December 31, 2008. In this case, the Applicant’s request for assistance was timely filed with FEMA on October 23, 2008, and had FEMA promptly processed the request, it would have been obligated by the December 31, 2008, deadline. FEMA made an administrative error in the processing of the Applicant’s request, which was not obligated until January 27, 2009.
I have reviewed all of the information submitted with the appeal and determined that the Applicant submitted their request for assistance in PW917 in a timely manner. The deadline for PA Pilot Program project approval was missed due to an administrative error by FEMA that did not provide the Applicant full consideration under the unique and limited authorities FEMA had under the PA Pilot Program. I am therefore approving this appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
cc: Major P. May
FEMA Region IV