Emergency Management employees fired after not submitting claims

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Two employees of the State Division of Emergency Management are without a job after failing to submit appeals requested by 18 Florida cities or counties.

Courtesy: MGN Online
Courtesy: MGN Online

The appeals total more than $4.5 million. The money would reimburse local governments for hurricane costs.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson says the firing of the employees isn't enough.

"That still doesn't help all of the counties and the cities that are in the hole for in this case millions of dollars," said Nelson.

Emergency Managers refused to be interviewed for this story, but in a statement, said staff changes and procedural improvements have been implemented along with the firings.

The Division says it is conducting an audit of itself to figure out what exactly went wrong and what needs to be done to make sure it doesn't happen again. In the meantime, the affected local governments will have to cross their fingers the money will be forthcoming.

Nelson personally requested FEMA to extend the deadline, saying local governments shouldn't have to pay for the state's mistake.

"I met with 25 local government city and county managers and I'm telling you they're desperate. They've got a big hole in their budget because FEMA is not reimbursing them the cost that they front loaded to clean up after Hurricane Mathew," Senator Nelson said.

The Division insists this incident won't interrupt the hundreds of appeals it has already submitted to FEMA.