Augusta leaders are pleased with parts of FEMA assessment

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock/ Monday, June 23, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A letter from the federal government sent to Augusta is making some leaders concerned.

FEMA sent an overview to the city detailing things done right and possibly wrong during the ice storm.

It's important because the city gets reimbursed on how well they followed the laws and regulations during the ice storm disaster. Top city leaders and contractors went over concerns FEMA made and how to address those issues.

City officials are standing behind the decisions they made.

"I would say a majority of it is positive," said Interim Deputy Administrator Steve Cassell.

Interim Deputy Administrator Steve Cassell says he's pleased with most of FEMA's assessment of how Augusta handled what they are calling one of the biggest disasters this area has seen.

FEMA states the city didn't follow proper procedures when they chose disaster clean up companies Ashbritt and Leidos. Despite not following proper protocol FEMA states in the midst of ice, downed power lines, blocked roads and thousands without power, the city did the best they could.

"We knew we didn't have time to go through the regular procurement process and award it," Cassell said.

Commissioners Marion Williams, Corey Johnson and Joe Jackson began questioning how all this was handled back in March. We searched the March 4 Commission minutes and found where city attorney Andrew Mackensie and Procurement Director Gerri Sams told the Commission things were done properly. FEMA doesn't agree.

"It's some of what we are going to have to look through and digest what the letter means. We've had some conversations to GEMA about it," Cassell said.

While FEMA excused not following protocol right after the storm, the time in question clean up after April 7. FEMA says the city should have allowed other companies to compete to get the job done at the cheapest rate .

It's around the same time the city stopped work to get ready for thousands of Masters patrons. The date in question is from April 8 on.

Did the city make the right decision? Should the city had gone out for competitive bid?


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