Letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency Details Strong Objections to Audit Findings, Continues Call for Withdrawal & Rejection of Conclusions
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Yesterday, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued a formal response letter to the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“OIG”) regarding that office’s March 29, 2013 revision of their audit entitled “FEMA Should Recover $48 Million of Public Assistance Grant Funds Awarded to Erie County, New York – Severe Weather October 2006” (“Revised Audit”). This Revised Audit is a significant amendment to the original audit first released to the public on February 8, 2013.
“The fact that OIG was compelled to issue a Revised Audit two months after their original audit was publically released is significant,” said Poloncarz. “In doing so, OIG repudiated its major findings and created multiple new and previously unstated reasons and alleged factors in continuing to demand that the County repay FEMA $39.4 million. This new letter is in response to these new—and still legally wrong—findings, the flawed process OIG conducted, the inappropriate motivation behind this audit and revision; and the flawed public policy that, if applied nationwide, would jeopardize the health and safety of all Americans during future disaster situations. I am still calling on OIG to withdraw this deeply flawed audit, and I am also calling upon FEMA to reject the audit’s findings and decline to seek payment from Erie County or NYSEMO.”