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Payment of Claims

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter

Appeal Brief

DisasterFEMA-1577-DR
Applicant2nd Appeals - Los Angeles County
Appeal TypeSecond
PA ID#037-99037-00
PW ID#992, 993, 996, 997, 998, 1001, 1002, 1023, 1024, 1026, 1028 and 1179
Date Signed2006-09-01T04:00:00
Citation: FEMA-1577-DR-CA; Los Angeles County, Payment of Claims

Cross-reference: Project Closeout

Summary: In the period between August 3 and 10, 2005, Los Angeles County (County) filed twelve first appeals concerning twelve project worksheets (992, 993, 996, 997, 998, 1001, 1002, 1023, 1024, 1026, 1028, and 1179) for debris and sediment removal from flood control works. The County claims that each PW contains errors and omissions involving facility locations, inaccurate or incomplete scopes of work and that PW amounts are based on estimates instead of actual costs. Between November 29 and December 5, 2005, FEMA Region IX denied the twelve first appeals citing the opportunity available to the County to address these issues with FEMA during the normal course of project closeout. Between January 10 and 24, 2006, the County filed twelve second appeal with FEMA.

Issues: May applicants attempt to resolve issues such as errors in PWs, or request a change in the scope of work, or adjust funding to reflect actual costs during the appeal process?

Findings: No.

Appeal Letter

September 1, 2006

Mr. Paul Jacks
Governor’s Authorized Representative
Governor’s Office of Emergency Management
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, CA 95741-95655

Re: Second Appeals – Los Angeles County, PA ID 037-99037-00;
Payment of Claims; FEMA-1577-DR-CA; PWs 992, 993, 996, 997, 998, 1001, 1002, 1023, 1024, 1026, 1028 and 1179

Dear Mr. Jacks:

This is in response to the twelve second appeals listed individually on Table 1 (enclosed), on behalf of Los Angeles County (County).

The County submitted the first appeals on the dates indicated on Table 1. All of the referenced project worksheets (PWs) concern the removal of disaster-related debris and sediment from flood control works. The County appealed the PWs because of errors in facility names and locations, inaccurate or incomplete scopes of work, and the fact that the PWs were based on estimated, not actual costs. FEMA denied the County’s first appeals on each of the above noted PWs because errors or inaccuracies are normally resolved through the project reconciliation process.

In each appeal, the County contends that the issue is not cost reconciliation, but rather a request to fund the grants based on a more accurate estimate of the correct costs and scopes of work.

Section 406(e) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §5172, allows FEMA to estimate eligible project costs, which can be adjusted to actual costs upon completion of the project. Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR) §206.205(b) provides a process for grant applicants to reconcile the difference between a project’s estimated and actual costs. This process - commonly known as “project closeout” - allows the County an opportunity to correct errors in the PW, and to request changes in the scope of work based on justified circumstances, and to request supplemental funding to account for the actual costs of a project.

We have reviewed the materials submitted and determined that the issues raised are not ripe for appeal pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206. We encourage the County to meet with our Regional staff to resolve the issues raised in this appeal. Therefore, I am denying the County’s appeals of the PWs listed in Table 1.
In view of the fact that these appeals have been decided on process, rather than on the merits of eligible cost and scope of work for the PWs being appealed, the County retains its right under 44 CFR §206.206 to appeal determinations concerning the provision of FEMA assistance on these projects subsequent to completing the project closeout process or prior review, if necessary. By copy of this letter, I am asking the Regional Director to work with the County to resolve these issues.

Please inform the County of my decision.

Sincerely,
/s/
John R. D’Araujo, Jr.
Director of Recovery
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Enclosure

cc: Karen E. Armes
Acting Regional Director
FEMA Region IX