The chairman of a homeland security committee is urging the Department of Homeland Security to address the staff shortages at the Federal Emergency Management Agency as this year’s hurricane season nears.
In announcing the release of a Government Accountability Office report he requested on the DHS and FEMA contracting process for disaster recovery efforts, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., highlighted how FEMA’s contracting workforce has “dozens of vacancies.” Those roles include contracting specialists and other key leadership positions.
Titled “Actions Needed to Improve the Use of Post-Disaster Contracts to Support Response and Recovery,” the report also found that the contracting process for post-disaster recovery efforts lacks transparency because of “inconsistent implementation of the criteria for” tracking data related to post-disaster federal procurement.
GAO also said FEMA didn’t “consistently” justify awards to vendors outside the disaster area, which meant the agency missed opportunities to help spur the local economy.
As for the workforce challenges, “I urge DHS and FEMA to promptly fill these important vacancies and follow through on the GAO’s recommendations that will increase productivity and transparency in the disaster response and recovery process,” Thompson said.