Agencies Rev Up to Monitor Hurricane Sandy Relief Spending

Sandy took down trees in New York in the fall. Sandy took down trees in New York in the fall. Kobby Dagan/

The White House budget office is proceeding with guidance for federal agencies involved in spending the $50 billion in disaster relief funds appropriated in January for victims of last October’s Hurricane Sandy.

Controller Danny Werfel, in a memo to all agency heads dated March 12, described an effort to provide additional controls to protect against improper payments, and to recapture any grant funds that remain unexpended two years after agencies obligate them.

The Office of Management and Budget is working with the recently renewed Recovery Board, major departments, and a special task force created to set performance metrics for programs, to aid individuals and communities victimized by the storm, which inflicted the most damage on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Each federal agency by March 31 is required to submit an internal control plan to OMB, the Government Accountability Office, and its inspector general. OMB is to receive drafts by March 18, and will return comments by March 25.

Beginning on Sept. 30, Werfel wrote, “each agency head shall make an annual certification that the appropriate policies and controls are in place and that any corrective actions have been taken to mitigate the risk of fraud and inappropriate spending practices regarding activities and expenses related to Hurricane Sandy.”

The challenge of auditing the funds is being tackled by the Recovery Board. On Tuesday, the board’s executive director, Michael Wood, blogged about the need for agencies to share data as the Sandy money is rolled out. “A major challenge will be the lack of a central data system for this spending information,” he wrote. “Thus, it’s imperative that agencies, IGs, and state and local governments share their data on spending and contracts. … The benefits are easily summarized: Improved government efficiency and decision-making, more transparency in government programs and better oversight of taxpayer funds.”

Techniques for unifying software and exploiting data analytics, Wood said, were highlighted at a recent Recovery Board workshop and in a coming publication.

On Thursday, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced a hearing on spending to mitigate Hurricane Sandy for March 20.

(Image via Kobby Dagan /

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.