Posted by Josh Harker on Tuesday, September 21, 2018 09:00:02 The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been criticized for its use of taxpayer dollars for administrative assistants.
While many have been on the job for years, the agency has struggled to recruit enough qualified staff to handle the surge of demand for federal assistance.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), FEMA hired an average of 12 employees for each FEMA grant program in the first quarter of 2019, which is about the same as the number of employees hired in the second quarter of 2018.
The number of jobs created during that period was almost twice as many as in the same time period in the prior year.
The GAO found that FEMA’s administrative assistant programs were not adequately staffed and that “federal employees often perform tasks that are outside their regular scope.”
FEMA did not respond to requests for comment.
In response to the GAO report, the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERRA) of 2018 authorized $3.5 billion to fund an additional 3,000 FEMA staff.
However, the law also mandated that FEMA pay $10 per day per FEMA employee in salaries.
In 2017, FEMA paid $2,500 per employee.
Federal officials have argued that FEMA should be paid based on actual performance, rather than whether it is needed.
As of February 2019, FEMA was still recruiting new staff for administrative assistant positions, which would take up a significant portion of the agency’s budget.
The agency has also hired about 3,600 people to help it process the surge in requests for federal aid, according to data from the Government Executive Association.
As of January 1, 2019, the number available for FEMA’s general assistance grants was 4,800.
According to the Federal Reserve Board, FEMA had $1.8 billion available to it.
However in the fourth quarter of 2021, FEMA announced that it was losing money on $5.3 billion of its general assistance funds, which represented only 5 percent of its total expenses.
Despite these problems, FEMA is still spending about $9.5 million on administrative assistant salaries each day.
What to do if you have questions about the FEMA salaries program?