Lawmakers Slam Cooper Administration’s Latest Mishandling of Hurricane Recovery Funds
Updated: Apr 14
Raleigh, NC – A report released by the N.C. State Auditor found that the N.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS) did not properly ensure Hurricane Florence disaster recovery funds were being spent in accordance with legislative guidelines.
In late 2018, the General Assembly approved over $942 million in hurricane relief and directed DPS to ensure that the funds were distributed properly. The audit found that $502 million of those funds were distributed with limited monitoring while $783 million was allocated without ensuring all recipients had a method to measure the results.
This failure to monitor the funds has increased the risk of waste, fraud, and misuse, and has simultaneously made their detection more difficult.
“This is very concerning,” said House Majority Leader John Bell. “It is also sadly part of a pattern we have seen from the Cooper Administration when it comes to mishandling hurricane relief funding. We intend to look into this issue more closely through our oversight committees to ensure proper oversight and guidelines are in place to make sure these funds are spent appropriately and get to those in need.”
In response to the audit, Deputy Majority Leader Brenden Jones stated, “It frustrates me to no end seeing the numbers released in this audit. After 4 long years, it is grossly apparent as to the absolute negligence of Governor Cooper and his administration in dealing with this tragic situation.
"Representative Bell and I both witnessed the devastation caused by the catastrophe in 2018. 4 years ago this May, we held a call for action in Eastern North Carolina advocating for the necessary help and support needed to rebuild from this natural disaster. I was proud to stand alongside Majority Leader Bell in 2018, and I am proud to continue spearheading our fight in 2022. We must ensure that, those who still have not received the help they were promised by our Governor, are given the answers and aid they deserve.”
In May 2019, the non-partisan Program Evaluation Division at the General Assembly released a detailed report on the Cooper Administration’s mishandling of the Hurricane Matthew recovery titled “Administrative Missteps and Lack of Expertise Led to Delays and $3.7 Million in Unnecessary State Spending for Hurricane Matthew Recovery.”
The report found that “more than two years since Hurricane Matthew made landfall, the state had spent only 1% of its total $236.5 million CDBG-DR award" provided by the federal government to help storm victims.