Wednesday, November 13, 2019

FEMA: Bureaucratic Inconsistency Ironed out

By on August 29, 2019

Joint Entity with COR3 Created to Fix Project Costs and Priorities

Editor’s note: The following was first published in print, in the Aug. 29, 2019, issue of Caribbean Business.

Nearly two years after hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has ironed out the bureaucratic and policy conflicts between commonwealth and federal officials that were slowing the process to determine needed permanent works projects involving infrastructure rebuilding and resiliency, according to the FEMA official in charge of local infrastructure.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report issued last month said commonwealth agencies were complaining they were receiving conflicting directives from FEMA officials, who, for their part, expressed concern that local agencies could be encouraged to draw out the process to obtain more funding for permanent works due to the way cost factors could be determined in the alternative procedures program approved for the island. This has led to delays in the phases FEMA applicants must follow to get funding for specific projects, the report states.

“Many of those concerns have actually been addressed since that report came out; FEMA has strengthened the leadership of the operation here with additional FEMA staff with greater experience,” Gregory Bosko, FEMA infrastructure branch director for Puerto Rico, told Caribbean Business during an interview at the federal agency’s island headquarters, where 1,000 of the agency’s 3,000 employees on the island are stationed.

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