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Case Studies Illustrate Excessive Costs at Group and Commercial Sites

over 21,000 of these call records lacked a time designation. Therefore, we could not ascertain whether calls should have been billed and paid for as emergency repairs.

which contractor was assigned the call and which calls resulted in billable services. Although FEMA’s call center received 46,000 emergency calls, data we received from the contractors show that they only billed FEMA for about 12, 045 emergency repairs. Therefore, although we have FEMA’s records on calls received and payments made, we cannot reconcile this payment information with the contractors’ invoices.

Despite these discrepancies, we were able to determine that FEMA spent over $600,000 for emergency after-hours repairs on units that cannot be found in FEMA’s inventory. As previously stated, FEMA paid for 12,045 after-hours emergency calls on 7,310 housing units from June 2006 through January 2007. When we compared the unit barcodes associated with these 7,310 units with the barcodes listed in FEMA’s main database for tracking the assignment and location of mobile homes and trailers, we were unable to identify records for 1,732 of the 7,310 units. Records show that FEMA made 2,780 improper or potentially fraudulent emergency repair payments related to these 1,732 trailers. Using the contractors pricing information, we calculated that these 2,780 payments totaled over $600,000.

Our four case studies show that FEMA’s placement of travel trailers at group and commercial sites can lead to excessive costs. FEMA placed the temporary housing units on private properties to shelter individuals who were rebuilding their homes; at FEMA-constructed group sites at leased locations, such as stadium grounds and school fields; and at preexisting commercial sites (e.g., trailer parks). With regard to the private sites, FEMA only has to pay for installation, maintenance, and deactivation; the trailer can be hooked up to the property’s existing utilities, so no trailer pad is required. With regard to the group sites, FEMA understandably has had to pay extra for site construction and maintenance, security, leases, and utilities. However, our case studies show that these expenses are exacerbated by the fact that FEMA did not allocate work at the sites in a cost-effective manner and has not reevaluated this allocation since the sites were established. With regard to the commercial sites, FEMA has not incurred the same operational expenses that it has at the group sites because FEMA did not have to pay for pad construction and design and does not have to pay the GSM contractors for site maintenance. However,

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GAO-08-106 Hurricane Katrina

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