News

FEMA ordered to pay New Orleans $10 million

FEMA ordered to pay New Orleans $10 million

Lower Ninth Ward residents Eileen Lange (L) and Janet Aubert (R) question a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in New Orleans December 2, 2005. Residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the hardest hit areas of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, were permitted to visit their homes and recover belongings for the first time on December 1. Photo: Reuters/Lee Celano - RTR19Z7T

By Amanda Becker

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has been ordered by a federal arbitration panel to reimburse New Orleans for more than $10 million in wages paid to city emergency personnel after Hurricane Katrina.

FEMA is obligated to pay the Louisiana city $10.8 million to cover one-third of the salaries paid to police, fire and medical personnel during the four months after Katrina hammered New Orleans in 2005, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals said in an August 29 decision reviewed by Reuters.

New Orleans had asked the CBCA, which resolves contract disagreements between executive branch agencies, to review a May 2012 determination by FEMA that it would not pay the first-responder salaries.

FEMA officials had previously said the agency would reimburse New Orleans for one-third of the regular pay of critical personnel so the city could avoid layoffs. But years later, a FEMA representative told city officials by email that agency protocol prohibited it from making such payments.

A FEMA spokesman had no immediate comment.

The CBCA arbitrators agreed with the city that FEMA policy did not bar reimbursement of regular pay incurred following a disaster. “In the aftermath of the devastation in New Orleans, the city was financially crippled and faced the prospect of bankruptcy, lacking cash reserves and population or commerce available to pay taxes,” the decision noted.

FEMA said on August 28 that it has provided Louisiana with nearly $19.6 billion in recovery assistance after Katrina and Hurricane Rita, which also hit the state in 2005.

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Eric Walsh)

Recent Headlines

today in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: 50 most frustrating video game moments

Updated
Video Games Sonic

Playing video games can be fun, into you run into one of these situations!

today in Lifestyle

Mazda recalls 190K SUVs for rust problem

The company logo is seen on the bonnet of a Mazda car during the media day ahead of the 84th Geneva Motor Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2014.

Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.

today in Sports

Friday’s Sports Minute

stanleycup

Blues and Avs work overtime, Wainwright beats error-prone Nats, and more.

today in National

Michael’s craft stores confirm data breach

michaels

The biggest U.S. arts and crafts retailer confirmed a security breach at certain systems that process payment cards.

today in National

10 for today: Friday, April 18

boston

A look at the news making headlines today, Friday, April 18.