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Marie Mak, director of contracting & national security acquisitions issues at GAO, discusses recommendations for contracting at FEMA, and why they need to bolster their contracting workforce.

As this year’s hurricane season begins, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing for anything. Some of that prep includes overhauling the agency’s contracting methods. Right now, FEMA looks for contracts before and after disasters hit. The Government Accountability Office looked at the way that FEMA is approaching contracting, and made some recommendations. Marie Mak, director of contracting & national security acquisitions issues at GAO, says there’s a common issue between both kinds of FEMA contracts is workforce,

 

“FEMA has had a persistent workforce challenge for years. And when it comes to workforce what we found was that even at FEMA headquarters there’s over 70 vacant contracting positions, that’s just headquarters,” Mak said. “At the regions, Eight out of the 10 regions only have one permanent full time contracting official. It makes it very difficult when it comes to gauging state and localities and it also becomes very difficult to manage the contracts they have to put in place after a disaster hits.”

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