IG: Colorado mismanaged DHS grants for 3 years
Colorado failed to meet some federal requirements when using Homeland Security Department grants for state and local security initiatives between 2003 and 2006, DHS’ inspector general said in a new report.
During a recent investigation, the IG found that the state failed to comply with what it called critical Homeland Security Grant Program requirements by not properly managing program activities and assuring that initiatives complied with the state’s overall homeland security strategy.
“This report highlights some grave errors in administering and managing homeland security efforts in Colorado from 2003-2006,” said Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, in a statement. “The bottom line is that in this time period our state homeland security efforts were sloppy, and we did not manage and operate our tasks as well as we are capable of doing, but that is changing.”
Perlmutter also said that improvements had been made since the state’s auditor conducted an investigation in 2005. In addition to the problems the state had with handling money awarded by DHS’ Office of Grants and Training (G&T), the OIG report, made public Jan. 3, notes that Colorado had made some improvements in its management of the programs.
DHS’ Grant Programs Directorate, the successor to G&T, agreed with the IG’s recommendations without providing specific comments on a draft of the report. The IG’s office has asked the directorate’s acting assistant administrator for a corrective action plan within 90 days.
G&T awarded Colorado $156.3 million in first-responder grants for fiscal years 2003 through 2006. In the report, the IG questions the use of almost $8 million worth of grants.
According to the IG, besides the questioned expenditure, the directorate agreed with the IG’s recommendations. The IG’s office has asked the directorate’s acting assistant administrator for a corrective-action plan within 90 days.
The IG recommended that the directorate:
- Monitor Colorado's review of its homeland security responsibilities and organizational structure to meet organizational objectives.
- Monitor the state’s development, maintenance and use of its long-term homeland security strategy.
- Provide Colorado technical assistance to improve controls and management.
- Review and report on the eligibility of the $7.8 million in homeland security grant expenditures questioned in the report.
- Monitor Colorado’s grant allocation process and fund projects with the highest risk and priority.
- Assist Colorado in monitoring statewide equipment readiness and effective exercise and training programs.
Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.