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    Tuesday, September 17, 2019-6:49:54P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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FEMA working with NMI to ‘clarify’ eligible costs

THE Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance is provided to the CNMI as a reimbursement program, FEMA external affairs officer Todd Hoose told Variety.

Todd Hoose

“We have reimbursed the CNMI [government] for some of the eligible expenses and will continue to work closely with them to clarify and capture additional eligible costs that have not yet been submitted and/or reimbursed by FEMA,” he added.

Hoose said “FEMA is here at the request of the CNMI governor, and our assistance to the CNMI is primarily in the form of grants.”

Asked about the 2.5 overtime pay for CNMI government employees who were part of the Typhoon Yutu recovery efforts, Hoose said FEMA determines the eligibility of overtime, premium pay, and compensatory time costs based on the applicant’s (the CNMI’s) pre-disaster written labor policy, provided the policy:

  • • Does not include a contingency clause that payment is subject to federal funding;
  • • Is applied uniformly regardless of a presidential declaration; and
  • • Has set non-discretionary criteria for when the applicant (the CNMI) activates various pay types.

Hoose said if the requirements are not met, FEMA will limit Public Assistance of PA funding to the applicant’s non-discretionary, uniformly applied rates.

“All costs must be reasonable and equitable for the type of work being performed,” he added.

Hoose said he cannot say which of the overtime payments submitted to FEMA have been found to be “eligible or ineligible.”

Some of the submitted claims for reimbursement, in a number of categories, have been returned for additional detail and information, but that is common emergency response work with states and territories,” Hoose added.

The FEMA official said an example of work completed that would not be reimbursed is when the work is the responsibility of another federal agency.

Moreover, he said, “if the expense is against the law or not supported by prior practice outside of federally-reimbursed events, FEMA does not provide reimbursement.”

According to U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, more than $116 million in disaster assistance has been obligated to the CNMI.