MONTPELIER — An independent look from a former U.S. agency insider could help Vermont recover emergency funds for Tropical Storm Irene.
The state is finalizing an agreement with a consultant to tackle issues connected with the Waterbury state office complex and to help ensure that municipalities’ reporting practices for flood damage reimbursements will withstand the scrutiny of future audits, State Auditor Tom Salmon said Wednesday.
The state auditor’s office is negotiating a contract with a former assistant inspector general for the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Office of Emergency Management Oversight. Matt Jadacki is now a consultant with the professional services firm Ernst & Young.
The contract is for about $15,000, Salmon said.
Because of Jadacki’s knowledge of the U.S. inspector general’s office, he could help Vermont with ensuring that Federal Emergency Management Agency funding received by the state’s cities and towns withstands future federal audits.
“They’re still now starting to audit the (Hurricane) Katrina (damage) in the South,” said Deputy State Auditor Joe Juhasz. “So three or four years from now we want to be sure, when they come in and audit (Vermont municipalities), that they’re not going to say, ‘You didn’t do it right so therefore you owe us $10 million or $15 million.’”
As of Wednesday, Vermont municipalities had submitted 5,145 “project worksheets,” forms used for reimbursement by FEMA for expenses connected with damage from Tropical Storm Irene. But according to Juhasz, many towns have relayed concerns to the state that the documentation process is not going smoothly.
Three recent workshops have been held to provide help for municipalities. A fourth workshop is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at Damon Hall, 1 Quechee Road in Hartland.
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