Director of Emergency Management Blows Up Cooper’s Claim Slow Disaster Funding Fault of Republican NCGA

RALEIGH – State lawmakers again grilled officials from the N.C. Department of Emergency Management on Monday on the agency’s slow spending of more than $236 million in federal grant money for Hurricane Matthew disaster relief.

While officials informed the committee, led by Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), that they are hamstrung by an eight step process dictated by the federal agencies, recent comments from the EM Director Mike Sprayberry contradict the narrative provided by Gov. Roy Cooper.

While Cooper used the unfortunate hold up of disaster relief funds as an opportunity to take political jabs at the Republican-led legislature, Sprayberry reveals those claims to be completely bogus.

Cooper had pointed to disaster relief legislation passed in late 2016 as having complicated the process by transferring administration of funds to emergency management instead of the Department of Commerce.

According to reporting by WBTV, though, the executive agencies themselves had submitted proposals to HUD that emergency management would be better suited to administer funds, and they did so before the General Assembly ever passed legislation on the topic.

“When WBTV asked Weiner, Cooper’s spokeswoman, about the submission touting NCEM’s ability to administer CDBG-DR funds and whether that contradicted the claim in her memo that the agency wasn’t situated to do so when designated by the NCGA, she could not provide a response.

“On the document, without knowing more about the genesis of the document I’m not sure I can offer much clarity. As I said in the memo, it is not a function they have been responsible for in the past but they have worked steadfastly to build up its program,” Weiner said.”

Of course, now the executive agencies are scrambling, no doubt under pressure from Cooper’s office, to step back in line with the narrative.

Cooper just can’t have anything other than Republicans in the General Assembly taking blame for the slow spending of his executive divisions. But as Sprayberry essentially said, it wasn’t the General Assembly, Coop!

So, while the blame game continues, some of that HUD money is finally hitting the ground. However, considering the sloppy way in which such bureaucratic spending happens, and from whence the money actually comes, maybe there should be a conversation about whether or not the government is the best conduit for disaster relief.

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