Sneak Preview: States’ Homeland Security Grant Programs Flawed

March 6, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) Several states still have not corrected deficiencies in their homeland security grant programs that were included in audit recommendations as much as 10 years ago, according to a recent Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General annual report to Congress.

Although the report notes that the 16 states reviewed generally “did an efficient and effective job of administering the grant programs requirements in compliance with grant guidance and regulations,” it found two specific areas for improvement — strategic planning and oversight of grant activities. The report covered audits of the State Homeland Security Program and Urban Areas Security Initiative grants.

Some areas of concern were long-standing. For example, a previous audit of Ohio’s Homeland Security Program dating back to fiscal years 2002 through 2004 found that the Ohio Emergency Management Agency did not have an adequate grantee monitoring program. OIG recommended then that the state take corrective action, including implementing regular ongoing monitoring. OIG later found that the state still did not conduct monitoring visits, nor had it implemented an onsite monitoring program, as of FY 2009.

Another audit in February 2008 found that the Ohio State Administrative Agency did not ensure that federal procurement regulations were followed for noncompetitive procurements; cost analyses were not performed for several noncompetitive procurements that exceeded $100,000; and subgrantees did not notify the agency before awarding noncompetitive contracts. Although Ohio officials agreed to perform cost analyses when high-value sole-source contracts were awarded, and that the agency would issue grant guidance emphasizing these requirements, a December 2011 audit still identified similar problems, OIG said.

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