Legislative auditor finds $28 million in questionable reimbursement requests

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

he Louisiana Legislative Auditor says during the first half of this year about $28 million in reimbursement requests to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) were not supported by sufficient documentation.

The questionable requests represented less than 6 percent of the $491 million reviewed, a smaller proportion than in prior years, according to GOHSEP.

GOHSEP is working with the subgrantees, who are asking for help paying for disaster recovery and hazard mitigation, to refine requests and obtain needed documentation prior to payment, the auditor’s office says. 

he auditor’s office issued two reports this week related to its recent work with GOHSEP. Of the almost $434.9 million in public assistance expense reimbursements the office analyzed, about $25.2 million (5.8 percent) were found not to be supported by sufficient documentation. The federal share of the program cost typically is at least 75 percent, the auditor’s office says.

Of about $56 million in hazard mitigation expense reimbursement requests analyzed, $2.9 million (about 5.2 percent) was questioned. The problems included out-of-scope expenses, lack of supporting documentation, missing procurement documentation, and ineligible costs.

For both programs, GOHSEP receives the grants and manages distribution of the funds to local authorities and agencies. According to its responses, the agency concurs with the issues raised with some of the funding requests and says the reports will help “internal and external stakeholders” work toward its “100 percent accuracy goal.”

“GOHSEP has made considerable progress in addressing historical questioned costs and have performed increasingly well using the information your staff provides to remedy any outstanding issues,” the agency says in its response to the public assistance program report.