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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Posts: 22572
Location: Staten Island

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:10 am    Post subject: AUDIT SHOWS POSSIBLE MISUSE OF $300 MILLION OHS FUNDS 7/1 Reply with quote


A recent federal audit has raised serious questions about how over $300 million was spent by a firms contracted by the newly formed Transportation Security Administration. A few of the items listed were:

$5.4 Million for 9 months salary for a chief executive of a firm that received a contract before it was incorporated and has subsequently gone out of business.

$8,100 for elevator operators at the Marriott Marquis Hotel

$125,000 rental fee for six magnetometers that could have been purchased for about $5,000 apiece

$4.4 Million for no show fees for exams not taken by potential candidates

$28,000 for coffee at the Sheraton Hotel in Reston

Now let me see if I follow the logic. This Agency a part of the Office of Homeland Security has allowed nearly half of its allocated budget to be spent on questionable items but thatís OK. We here in New York are penalized and the Federal Government demands back $125 Million in aid because we did not spend it fast enough. They also question the fact that we used the NYS Crime Victims Board to administer some of these funds. I for one can tell you that this agency was one of if not the best in supplying aid to victims of 9/11. If not for them thousands of victims would not have gotten help when they needed it most.

While all of this is going on New Jersey is using Homeland Security Funds to buy Sanitation trucks and Senator George Voinovich is complaining that the Senate voted to take away $100 Million from the Department of Homeland Security.

It seems to me that New York should be praised and not penalized for not just looking for ways to spend the money. While it is true that we have been slow in using the funds it is also true that there are still many unmet needs. Every day I get messages from victims families looking for help with new physical and mental problems directly related to 9/11. It has become clear that many of the victimsí children who were in their teens in 2001 are now experiencing emotional and mental problems do to the fact that they felt that they needed to be strong for their families after 9/11 and held everything in. The effects of this are just now being felt. This is just one area for which the funds are needed, there are countless others.

The Federal Government really needs to reassess what they are doing and the example that they are setting. Here is how they can they can begin.

Take $25 Million of the requested funds and allocate it to the excavation of the remains at Fresh Kills. We can set up an oversight group to come up with a plan which will relieve the suffering of these 9/11 families and allow Staten Island to move on with the reclamation of Fresh Kills while avoiding costly pending lawsuits. This will do more for the mental and emotional condition of the impacted families then 1,000 other projects.

Set aside an additional $25 Million to address the needs of the teen children as well as the parents of adult children who have been the most forgotten groups.

Keep $50 Million to handle issues through the 5th Anniversary of the attack and to improve outreach and information services to all victims of tragedy.

As a show of good faith return the remaining $25 Million because you never know when the Office of Homeland Security might run out of coffee or one of the garbage trucks in New Jersey might get a flat.

I donít know if its just me but I think this is a much more logical solution.

Dennis McKeon

100 Daleham Street

Staten Island, NY

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