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FEMA gives ASG an A+ for compliance on four disaster grants

ODAPM director Lisa Tuato’o

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — ASG’s Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management (ODAPM) has received a positive review from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on four disaster grant awards for two U.S Presidential declared disasters in the territory.

“We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and your staff; no compliance issues were identified over the course of the review,” wrote Yuliya Rzad, the Grant Services Branch Chief for FEMA Region 9, in an Oct. 1st letter to ODAPM director Lisa Tuato’o.

The letter reports to Tuato’o the results of the financial grants monitoring conducted Sept. 29th by FEMA Region 9, Grants Management Division (GMD).

And the review was conducted in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations, OMB Circulars, and program guidance for ODAM awards.

Three awards cover funding programs for the 2018 Tropical Storm Gita and one funding program for the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic — totaling more than $14.43 million, according to information in the letter.

For Gita, ODAPM was awarded over $9.76 million for Public Assistance, $709,533.00 for Disaster Assistance Projects; and $891,333.50 for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. For the COVID-19 declaration, the award amount was over $3.87 million for Public Assistance.

Tuato’o was informed that during the review, the monitoring team assessed whether the financial and administrative operations of the properly accounted for the receipt and expenditure of U.S Department of Homeland Security funds; whether expenditures were in compliance with federal financial regulations; and if expenditures were in compliance with the applicable funding parameters for the grant awards reviewed.

“A review was conducted of your accounting of grant funds, documented policies, procedures, disbursement records and expenditures charged,” explained Rzad, adding that FEMA has completed its review and no further action is required.

Rzad signed the letter on behalf of Paulene Graham-Melvin, Director Grants Management Division, FEMA Region 9

Responding to a request for comments and reaction to this “positive review by FEMA, Tuato’o told Samoa News, “First, I want to give all Praise and Glory to God for without Him we would not have been able to successfully complete this huge undertaking.”

Tuaolo said she is “grateful for a great team at ODAPM who worked diligently in ensuring all supporting documentation were gathered and submitted in a timely manner.”

 “I always believe that I am only as great as the people that surround me.  Job well done to my ODAPM team, Salu Tuigamala, Tracie Sataraka, Lologa Olo, Lima Fiatoa, Lemapu Fairholt, Tali Iongi, Faailoa Kose, Erica Magalei, Johnathan Pen, Siulepa Grey and Janet Fagogo,” she stated.

She also thanked Human and Social Service deputy director Panisia Neueli and Procurement Office’s deputy chief procurement officer, Sapi Ma'o-Ena for providing requested information.

Tuato’o further expressed appreciation to Jhon Kuppens of FEMA, Paulene Grahm and everyone at FEMA Region IX “for your support and partnership.”