The recovery and rebuilding that follows natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is arduous. Affected communities, and the government agencies supporting them, benefit most from a complex coordination of boots on the ground assistance, scrupulous financial oversight, and across-the-board project management. From Hurricane Katrina through 9/11 through Superstorm Sandy through many other natural and man-made disasters, CohnReznick has supported federal and state agencies in managing major recovery programs, overseeing grant distribution, reducing fraud, waste, and abuse, and bringing relief to those in need.
EXPERIENCE – WHEN AND WHERE IT IS NEEDED MOSTOne week before Hurricane Irma devastated parts of Miami and the Keys, we were already in Florida making preparations for the recovery effort. CohnReznick has managed the payment of billions of dollars in federal funds to intended recipients in the wake of numerous disasters, coordinating Gulf Coast disaster recovery programs in states such as Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. We have also administered and monitored Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) programs. Whether opening multiple application centers within 75 days, hiring hundreds of local employees to assist us along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, processing more than 50,000 applications for federal relief funds, or auditing more than 1,000 claims related to the largest case of financial fraud in U.S. history, CohnReznick has been central to the recovery efforts.
“The team at CR is always responsive when the City submits a request and is willing to go the extra mile to assist in providing answers. For example, the City struggled with a backlog of interim debris audits that were left unresolved for years prior to CR taking over the project for TDEM. The CR team got the full copy of the audit (from the other audit firm) and came down to work through the audit with the City to get the audit reconciled and finished. This is just one of the many innovative ways that the CR team thinks outside of the box to resolve issues when other firms give up.”
-Tesa Wrobleski, FEMA Public Assistance Program Manager,
City of Galveston
METICULOUS STEWARDSHIP OF TAXPAYER FUNDS
With the public’s increased demand for transparency and efficiency in government spending, any mismanagement or waste of taxpayer funds cannot be tolerated. As part of our Disaster Response and Recovery services, we provide integrity monitoring to assist government organizations in safeguarding taxpayer dollars from being siphoned by unscrupulous acts of corruption, waste, and abuse – detecting and preventing fraud. We have significant experience establishing processes that avoid improper payments while delivering very low error rates. Most of this experience has been in some of the worst situations—federally declared disasters—where the balance between getting funds to those in need and implementing appropriate payment control procedures was time sensitive and closely scrutinized.
FULLY INTEGRATED TEAM APPROACH
Our team, which has more than 500 full-time staff members, includes consultants who have joined us from the highest ranks of government. This includes the former HUD Inspector General and a long-time member of the U.S. Navy Senior Executive Service. We complement their insights into governmental operations with a multidisciplinary team of professionals – certified fraud examiners, project management professionals, integrity monitoring advisors, safety and construction experts, engineering specialists, and many others – who seamlessly incorporate their areas of expertise into our disaster recovery engagements. Providing a range of services that includes governance, compliance, transparency, and integrity monitoring services, we administer project design, management, and delivery through procurement and pricing, proper controls, and closeout. Our process is designed to offer lower risk by enacting policies and procedures that prevent fraud, waste, and abuse – right from the start.
“Thank you for your assistance to us in Hall County during the process of working through all that is needed in order to obtain funding through FEMA. Your professionalism and patience through our association with you have been exemplary.”
-The Honorable Ray Powell, County Judge, Hall County TX
CohnReznick Recovery Services
Balancing full service recovery efforts for long term results.
- Program and project management through Project Management Office (PMO) design and implementation
- Program feasibility and design support
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Federal, state, and local agency coordination
- Policy and procedure development
- Public relations and community outreach
- Grant management and administration
- Compliance and Monitoring Tracking and Reporting System design and assessment
- Stafford Act compliance
- Anti-fraud, waste, and abuse support
- FEMA and HUD compliance and monitoring
- Integrity monitoring
- Financial management and reporting
“As the Director of Administration for the Port of Galveston, I was apprehensive about working with another TDEM contractor when the Port was notified in 2014 that CohnReznick would be working with us in resolving issues and closing out our Hurricane Ike Public Assistance projects. The Port had previously worked with countless FEMA and TDEM representatives and other state consultants and we had experienced very little success in resolving some of our issues that had spanned over a 6 year period. CohnReznick immediately demonstrated that they were there to help the Port and they consistently provided invaluable customer service to the Port in resolving our complex and long-standing issues that impacted millions of dollars in Port funding. CohnReznick’s assistance proved to be instrumental coordinating with all the necessary state and federal stakeholders and in assisting the Port of Galveston with the closeout of Hurricane Ike projects.”
-Bernie Curran, Former Director of Administration Port of Galveston
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