News

FEMA ordered to pay New Orleans $10 million

FEMA ordered to pay New Orleans $10 million

Lower Ninth Ward residents Eileen Lange (L) and Janet Aubert (R) question a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in New Orleans December 2, 2005. Residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the hardest hit areas of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, were permitted to visit their homes and recover belongings for the first time on December 1. Photo: Reuters/Lee Celano - RTR19Z7T

By Amanda Becker

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has been ordered by a federal arbitration panel to reimburse New Orleans for more than $10 million in wages paid to city emergency personnel after Hurricane Katrina.

FEMA is obligated to pay the Louisiana city $10.8 million to cover one-third of the salaries paid to police, fire and medical personnel during the four months after Katrina hammered New Orleans in 2005, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals said in an August 29 decision reviewed by Reuters.

New Orleans had asked the CBCA, which resolves contract disagreements between executive branch agencies, to review a May 2012 determination by FEMA that it would not pay the first-responder salaries.

FEMA officials had previously said the agency would reimburse New Orleans for one-third of the regular pay of critical personnel so the city could avoid layoffs. But years later, a FEMA representative told city officials by email that agency protocol prohibited it from making such payments.

A FEMA spokesman had no immediate comment.

The CBCA arbitrators agreed with the city that FEMA policy did not bar reimbursement of regular pay incurred following a disaster. “In the aftermath of the devastation in New Orleans, the city was financially crippled and faced the prospect of bankruptcy, lacking cash reserves and population or commerce available to pay taxes,” the decision noted.

FEMA said on August 28 that it has provided Louisiana with nearly $19.6 billion in recovery assistance after Katrina and Hurricane Rita, which also hit the state in 2005.

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Eric Walsh)

Recent Headlines

in Local

No Special Session for South Dakota Education

Dennis Daugaard 60914

The call for a special session of the South Dakota legislature has failed.

in Local

Governor Addresses Camp for Gifted Students

gov

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard told students at the wrap up of the “Governors Camp” at USD in Vermillion today that their future is bright, but they have to make good choices.

in Local

Historical Sites Eligible for Restoration Funding Assistance

money 20

Private, public, and non-profit land owners are invited to apply for grants through the Deadwood Fund program.

in Local

Keystone XL Groundwork Continues

CKnB1U-WwAEO4XD

The groundwork is still under way as Trans Canada waits for final approvals of its plans to build the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

in Local

South Dakota Congresswoman Against Iran Nuclear Deal

Kristi Noem

As members of Congress continue to scrutinize and debate the nuclear deal struck with Iran, South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem is in clear opposition to the deal.