Accountability in emergency: OIG oversight of FEMA's disaster awards

Thesis (M.P.P.A., Public Policy and Administration)--California State University, Sacramento, 2020.

America is living in a time of complex emergencies, and FEMA is the principal government entity tasked with managing them. To do so, it relies heavily on awarding public funds to private entities. It is unclear the extent to which FEMA and its awardees perform to expectations, and how FEMA is held accountable for its performance. While there are many different models for public accountability, there is little consensus on what is most effective, with hybrid approaches used for contractor-preferred environments. Accountability in the federal government primarily relies on the Office of Inspector General (OIG) model, which provides Legislative Branch oversight in every Executive Branch entity. For emergency management contracting specifically, the OIG model appears to have been minimally effective over the past two decades. A combination of remedies is the best policy path forward. Any major change appears likely to be delayed until after another catastrophic disaster, due to emergency management policy conforming to the punctuated equilibrium theory of policy change.