RALEIGH – Republican state lawmakers (and opportunist Sen. Thom Tillis) are again excoriating the administration of Governor Roy Cooper for it’s abysmal job delivering allocated disaster relief funds. These are funds allocated by the federal government after Hurricane Matthew THREE YEARS AGO. And Hurricane Florence wrecked eastern North Carolina even more in the interim.
So far only $93 million has been put to work out of more than $2.8 billion between funds connected to Florence and Matthew.
“[…] “We feel abandoned,” said state Rep. Brenden Jones, R-Columbus. “Is it incompetence? Is it just not a willingness to help us? I don’t know.”
Jones said this wasn’t a Republican issue, or a Democratic one. But there were no Democratic legislators at the press conference. Afterward, the Cooper Administration took a shot back at Tillis, who is up for re-election next year in what will be one of the country’s hottest Senate races.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said during the press conference that, “it’s clear that in North Carolina the disaster recovery process is broken.” […]
With Tillis being involved in the targeting of Cooper, he naturally became a target in the response from Cooper’s office about the slow spending.
“Unfortunately, because Senator Tillis either doesn’t have much sway in Washington or because he cares more about his re-election campaign than doing his job, North Carolina doesn’t yet have one single penny of CDBG-DR federal housing money that’s specifically for Hurricane Florence survivors,” [Cooper Weiner said in her statement Wednesday.[…]”
Beyond attacking Tillis, the easiest move there is, the Cooper administration points to a bureaucratic rat’s nest – paperwork and permissions – contributing to the snail’s pace of funds delivery. They also cast blame on Cooper’s Republican predecessor for moving the administration of such disaster grants to the Emergency Management department.
Regardless of how much merit those excuses hold, none of them sound like taking responsibility for and correcting a massive mismanagement of executive disaster recovery. And atop it all, there’s another hurricane threatening the south eastern seaboard this weekend.
Read more about the press conference here.