"Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job" President Bush told then FEMA director Michael Brown after Bush had flown to the Gulf Coast a few days after Katrina. It turned out that was an very wrong evaluation of Brown’s work who was soon after relieved of his position.
Tens of thousands of empty trailers are stored on vacant lands, in industrial parks and a warehouse. They were purchased by FEMA to assist in disasters. FEMA has 8,420 brand new, fully furnished, never used mobile homes in a cow pasture in Hope, Arkansas, but refused to provide them to people adjoining counties. Thousands of unused units are rusting in thirteen locations around the U.S. After spending $900 Million to purchase some 26,000 mobile and modular homes, FEMA discovered they couldn’t be used in flood zones and some communities refused to allow them so they were added to the surplus. The agency purchased 2600 units just before and just after Katrina spending $2.7 Billion on no-bid contracts. Now it is selling off some 41,000 units netting about forty cents on the dollar according to the Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/07/AR2007030702628.html)
Some of the units were purchased a $59,800, but by the time the contractor was paid to move them to the location and all the expenses paid, the cost rose as high as $120,000 each.
Then it was discovered that many new trailers had toxic levels of formaldehyde presenting an immediate health risk to the users. The tests showed levels 75 times higher than what the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health recommended according to a congressional oversight committee. http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?id=1413)
In the meantime FEMA gave away $85 Million in collected supplies as surplus only to have to recover as much as could be located after the latest hurricane damage. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said: "it’s just another example of the failings of the federal bureaucracy" and wrote Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for an explanation. FEMA Administrator David Paulison, of course, defended the agencies actions.
So, there you have goverment waste in action. No wonder people have lost confidence in the federal government.