Hurricane Katrina gets her own DHS IG

The Homeland Security Department's inspector general is creating an office that will specifically focus on Hurricane Katrina issues.

Matthew Jadacki, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer at the National Weather Service, will lead the Office for Hurricane Katrina Oversight, DHS’ Office of Inspector General announced today.

Jadacki will oversee all contracts, grants and government operations associated with the Katrina response, said Richard Skinner, DHS’ IG.

Jadacki will also coordinate the auditing done by other federal IGs from departments that receive disaster-assistance money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The most important thing to do is coordinate all this and deliver it in an effective, efficient way and avoid abuse,” Skinner said.

The Katrina office aims to proactively prevent fraud, waste and abuse; identify weaknesses to correct; and ensure that proper procurement and contracting are in place, said Tamara Faulkner, a DHS IG spokeswoman.

Jadacki will be based in Washington, D.C., and will have a staff of 150 auditors and investigators, Faulkner said. The teams will work primarily through the FEMA Joint Field Offices in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, she said.

Federal, state, local, private and nongovernmental organizations working on relief efforts coordinate their activities at the offices, Faulkner said.

Although Jadacki is coming to DHS from NWS, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Commerce Department, he worked at FEMA from 1991 until he joined NWS in January. He served as FEMA’s acting chief financial officer from March 2002 until January and was responsible for its $12 billion annual budget.

Jadacki is scheduled to start his new job Oct. 3.

In related news, Skinner said that starting today, his office is deploying three audit and investigative teams to review how well FEMA responded to the hurricane in disaster areas.

Field work for the report is expected to be finished by the end of the year and the final report is due by March 31, 2006, Skinner said.

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