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FEMA penalized WV, but state official ‘can’t say’ if he informed cabinet secretary

By JAKE ZUCKERMAN

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency penalized West Virginia for noncompliance with disaster recovery grants, but state officials can’t agree on who was ever informed of the sanction.

In a letter dated Nov. 12, 2015, FEMA wrote to the then-director of the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Jimmy Gianato, to notify him the agency placed the state under a “manual reimbursement” policy until it develops a plan to monitor grant sub-recipients.

This means DHSEM is required to use state funds to make an initial expenditure and is only reimbursed by FEMA when it has properly justified the request. West Virginia and Puerto Rico are the only two U.S. entities governed by such policy, according to a preliminary report from the legislative auditor’s office.

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