We audited the St. Tammany Parish grants department’s administration of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster recovery program, as part of our annual audit plan to review the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 funds. Our objective was to determine whether the Parish administered its disaster recovery program in accordance with U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) requirements and in line with its certifications to HUD for its procurement; detection of fraud, waste, and abuse; and Web site maintenance.
We found that the Parish did not always administer its disaster recovery program in accordance with HUD requirements and in line with its certifications to HUD. Specifically, it did not (1) support that it performed an independent cost estimate and adequate cost analyses or maintained complete procurement files; (2) maintain a complete monitoring policy and finalize and fully implement its policy to aid in detecting fraud, waste, and abuse or have an internal audit function; or (3) include all required information on its public Web site. These deficiencies occurred because the Parish did not follow and understand the program and its requirements. As a result of these systemic deficiencies, the Parish could not provide reasonable assurance to HUD that it would properly administer, adequately safeguard, and spend its remaining $8.67 million allocated for CDBG disaster recovery funds in accordance with requirements, and paid more than $400,000 in questioned costs.
We recommend that HUD require the Parish to develop and implement written procedures and take actions that would correct and prevent the deficiencies outlined in the finding to better ensure that the Parish spends its remaining $8.67 million in accordance with program requirements. In addition, we recommend that HUD require the Parish to (1) support or repay $451,894, (2) implement an internal audit function, (3) update its Web site, (4) fully implement or revise its policies to reflect current procedures, and (5) obtain additional technical assistance from HUD regarding program requirements.