Report 2011-103 Recommendations and Responses in 2013-041

Report 2011-103: California's Mutual Aid System: The California Emergency Management Agency Should Administer the Reimbursement Process More Effectively

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2012-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 1 2 1 n/a 0
Emergency Management Agency 1 8 6 n/a 5

Recommendation To: Emergency Management Agency

To make certain that emergency response agencies receive reimbursements on time, Cal EMA should establish procedures to ensure that paying entities do not delay reimbursements.

Response

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is identifying funding for Phase II of the new mutual aid reimbursement program. The new program will include a web based platform that will allow local government fire agencies to access their respective salary surveys and invoices on-line. This will allow local government fire agencies to interact via the web based platform and view and complete their own respective pay documents in a timely manner, thus, expediting the reimbursement process. Furthermore, we are ensuring the procedures are in place to effectively and efficiently address the reimbursement timelines.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: Unknown
  • Response Date: December 2013

Recommendation To: Emergency Management Agency

If FEMA determines that the calculations and claims identified in the Office of Inspector General's audit report were erroneous, Cal EMA should modify the time sheets to track the actual hours that the responding agency works as well as the dates and times that the agency committed to the incident and returned from the incident.

Response

We have been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on making a determination on whether the calculations and claims identified by the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) audit report were erroneous. As of this time, they have not provided us an official decision. In addition, we have been made aware that FEMA and the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) are reviewing the FEMA Labor Costs - Emergency Work Policy (Recovery Policy 9525.7) and will be revising the policy that addresses the reimbursement cost for employees performing emergency work, as well as the limitations on the 24-hour shift. As soon as a final decision is made or the policy approved we will comply appropriately.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: Unknown at this time
  • Response Date: November 2013

Recommendation To: Emergency Management Agency

If FEMA determines that the calculations and claims identified in the Office of Inspector General's audit report were erroneous, Cal EMA should ensure that the replacement for its current invoicing system can calculate the maximum number of reimbursable personnel hours under both FEMA's policy and the CFAA.

Response

We have been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on making a determination on whether the calculations and claims identified by the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) audit report were erroneous. As of this time, they have not provided us an official decision. In addition, we have been made aware that FEMA and the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) are reviewing the FEMA Labor Costs - Emergency Work Policy (Recovery Policy 9525.7) and will be revising the policy that addresses the reimbursement cost for employees performing emergency work, as well as the limitations on the 24-hour shift. As soon as a final decision is made or the policy approved we will comply appropriately.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: Unknown at this time
  • Response Date: November 2013

Recommendation To: Emergency Management Agency

To make certain that local agencies calculate correctly their average actual hourly rates, Cal EMA should audit a sample of invoices each year and include in the review an analysis of the accuracy of the local agencies' average actual hourly rates reported in the agencies' salary surveys.

Response

The Fire and Rescue Division has coordinated with the Cal OES Audit Office to conduct audits of the local fire agencies salary survey to substantiate the average actual hourly rates. The audits began in 2013 and are on-going. To date, 4 local government fire agencies have been audited and an additional 20 will be audited in the coming months. Moreover, we hold annual committee meetings to discuss improving performance and outreach for all parties involved. This year we held 5 workshops statewide to instruct local fire agencies on how to develop accurate rates while understanding the methodologies behind them. We also hold individual meetings with local fire agencies to give them one on one instruction and support if need be.

We are currently in the process of setting up meetings to meet with the paying entities signatory to the agreement to discuss inaccurate rates reported by local fire agencies and future policies and contract language that will resolve how to proceed with this matter.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: August 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Emergency Management Agency

To make certain that local agencies calculate correctly their average actual hourly rates, if Cal EMA determines that the local agencies' rates are incorrect, it should advise the agencies to recalculate the rates reported in their salary survey. Local agencies that fail to submit accurate average actual hourly rates should be subject to the base rates.

Response

The Fire and Rescue Division has coordinated with the Cal OES Audit Office to conduct audits of the local fire agencies salary survey to substantiate the average actual hourly rates. The audits began in 2013 and are on-going. To date, 4 local government fire agencies have been audited and an additional 20 will be audited in the coming months. Moreover, we hold annual committee meetings to discuss improving performance and outreach for all parties involved. This year we held 5 workshops statewide to instruct local fire agencies on how to develop accurate rates while understanding the methodologies behind them. We also hold individual meetings with local fire agencies to give them one on one instruction and support if need be.

We are currently in the process of setting up meetings to meet with the paying entities signatory to the agreement to discuss inaccurate rates reported by local fire agencies and future policies and contract language that will resolve how to proceed with this matter.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: August 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Emergency Management Agency

To make certain that local agencies calculate correctly their average actual hourly rates, if Cal EMA does not believe that it has the statutory authority and resources to audit the average actual hourly rates reported in the local agencies' salary surveys, it should either undertake the necessary steps to obtain both the authority and the necessary resources or obtain statutory authority to request that the State Controller's Office perform the audits.

Response

The Fire and Rescue Division has coordinated with the Cal OES Audit Office to conduct audits of the local fire agencies salary survey to substantiate the average actual hourly rates. The audits began in 2013 and are on-going. To date, 4 local government fire agencies have been audited and an additional 20 will be audited in the coming months. Moreover, we hold annual committee meetings to discuss improving performance and outreach for all parties involved. This year we held 5 workshops statewide to instruct local fire agencies on how to develop accurate rates while understanding the methodologies behind them. We also hold individual meetings with local fire agencies to give them one on one instruction and support if need be.

We are currently in the process of setting up meetings to meet with the paying entities signatory to the agreement to discuss inaccurate rates reported by local fire agencies and future policies and contract language that will resolve how to proceed with this matter.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: August 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of

If FEMA determines that the calculations and claims identified in the Office of Inspector General's audit report were erroneous, CAL FIRE should collaborate with Cal EMA to establish a system that calculates the maximum number of reimbursable personnel hours in accordance with both FEMA's policy and the CFAA.

Response

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has an ongoing relationship with the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) resulting in continued collaboration. Since the issuance of the California State Auditor Report, CAL FIRE in coordination with Cal EMA and based on communication with the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding the maximum number of reimbursable personnel hours, has modified its system to determine calculations by adjusting its billing practices on Federal Declaration and Federal Management Assistant Grants to reflect the requirements of Recovery Policy 9525.7.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: March 2012
  • Response Date: October 2013

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2013-041