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

Human Remains in Rochester Identified

rochester police

The Sangamon County Coroner's Office has identified the female remains found in Rochester on July 19th.

in Local

Sangamon County Leads State in Tourism Growth

Updated
Lincoln's_Tomb

Numbers released by the Illinois Office of Tourism indicates the Springfield area continues to be a big draw for visitors.

in Local

More Money Toward City Pensions? Not So Fast, Say Budgeteers

municipalcenter

Some Springfield aldermen want to take a budget windfall and put it toward police and fire pensions, but city budgeteers are advising against it at the moment.

in Local

Police Arrest 5 in Shooting, Crash at Dirksen & South Grand

Updated
accident_southgrand

Police have arrested five people in connection with a shooting turned high speed chase turned crash late Tuesday night.

in Local

Springfield Police Seek Tips on East Side Armed Robbery

gun

Springfield Police are looking for help solving an armed robbery at an east side bar.