Stay out of the FEMA doghouse
Sometimes, it does make sense to cry over spilled milk, so to speak. Knowing what caused the spill to occur in the first place can keep it from happening again.
State officials, especially legislators, find themselves in that position regarding the scandal over the state’s flood recovery program, RISE West Virginia.
How state government handles federal disaster funding has landed us in trouble with the Federal Emergency Management Agency more than once. For example, we remain on a list of entities that, when eligible for disaster assistance, must spend money first, then seek reimbursement from FEMA. Only West Virginia and Puerto Rico are restricted in that manner.
A separate scandal began last year, involving about $150 million in federal funds to help victims of 2016 flooding in the Mountain State. FEMA officials, noting many victims were in need of basic help, said the state was spending the money too slowly.
Last week, Adjutant General James Hoyer reported our state has been taken off FEMA’s “slow spender” list. Good — and good for Hoyer and others in the National Guard for expediting aid to flood victims.
But the question remains: How did we get on the “slow spender” list in the first place? Lawmakers should find out or, rest assured, some similar scandal will occur again in West Virginia.