Two FEMA representatives visited Brown County Thursday to re-evaluate repaired roads in Precinct 3 for possible FEMA reimbursement, Precinct 3 foreman Jeff Mobley said.
“I think in two weeks we should have an answer of what’s going to happen,” Mobley said.
Mobley sat in on a meeting with the FEMA officials. He said Brown County Judge Paul Lilly, Emergency Management Coordinator David Creed, Precinct 4 Commissioner Larry Traweek and Brown County Attorney Shane Britton also attended.
At Monday’s meeting of the Brown County Commissioners Court, Precinct 3 Commissioner Wayne Shaw said his precinct had lost out on potentially $2 million in FEMA reimbursements for roads that had been repaired following flooding damage.
Shaw said that happened because Creed, as emergency management coordinator, had prematurely signed off on FEMA paperwork related to the repairs. The amount FEMA was initially willing to reimburse could have been appealed, and the county would likely have received more in FEMA reimbursements, Shaw said at the meeting.
Shaw said FEMA hadalready indicated the reimbursement amount could no longer be appealed since Creed had signed off on the paperwork.
But after the commissioner’s court meeting, Mobley said, FEMA said “we’re going to give it another look and see what we can do for you.”
Mobley said former Emergency Management Coordinator Mechail Cox and others in the courthouse had “worked hard to develop a smooth process for getting FEMA the information they needed in a timely manner.”
Lilly did not retain Cox as emergency management coordinator when he took office in January and hired Creed for the job.
In an earlier interview, Lilly said he knew Cox had been assigned FEMA work. “How much was getting done, I don’t know,” Lilly said. “I wasn’t the county judge then. I’ve heard complaints from commissioners that she … I’ll let them speak to that.”
Shaw, also speaking in an earlier interview, said Cox “got her stuff in on time. She got excellent at it.”
Lilly said Creed had no experience with FEMA when Creed took the job. “I figured there will be people he can call,” Lilly said. “FEMA is one of the most complicated agencies you can interact with. I think they’ve held two four-hour training sessions.
“And there may be a time or two when Chief Creed has dropped the ball and missed deadlines, largely because he probably didn’t know there was a deadline coming up because no one told him. Now he tries to stay more on top of it but it’s a lot of work.”
Mobley said FEMA has advised that the agency “will be adopting new policies and will require documented proof of conditions of our roads with photographic documentation in the future to prevent a reoccurrence of this. The commissioners are aware of it and are working to implement it in to our daily reports.”
Mobley also said, “I would also like to clarify that the approximate $2 million dollar figure is an estimate of roads we turned in with figured footage multiplied by past approved amounts from FEMA.
“This is what we asked for but what we receive varies by project and amount of damaged approved. In the past we’ve received on average about 70 to 75 percent of the damage reimbursement that we requested.”