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State Agencies Under Fire For Spending Hurricane Floyd Relief Efforts

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RALEIGH, N.C. — After nearly three years, people are still waiting for assistance from the damages caused by Hurricane Floyd. State Auditor Ralph Campbell Jr., in a thorough examination of Hurricane Floyd relief funds, pinpointed one of the problems.

"There needs to be better coordination, which will help to improve communication with either the locals or either with the citizens they serve," he said.

In the recommendations made to a legislative commission studying disaster recovery needs, Campbell said relief efforts were so poorly coordinated that many of the victims who thought they were asking for direct grants were given loans instead.

The audit shows that $10 million of the $836 million in state funds remains unspent or uncommitted, and as many as 267 families still have not found permanent homes.

The audit also criticized use of part-time employees when full-time workers could have saved the state more than $500,000 in overtime costs. And, the audit found that relief efforts should be handled by a single state agency.

"That should help to eliminate some of the confusion that they experience with the Hurricane Floyd reserve fund because of the multiple agencies that were involved," auditor Janet Hayes said.

The disaster response and recovery commission, in a statement following the audit, writes that the commission remains distressed by evidence that the Hurricane Floyd relief efforts have, in many instances, been ineffective and misdirected.

The commission requests that the state Legislature expand investigative work to include field hearings at sites that are still trying to recover.


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