REPORT: FEMA contractors in Puerto Rico claim they were fired for reporting waste and fraud

WASHINGTONEXAMINER.COM:

Federal contractors working to improve Puerto Rico’s disaster response were laid off after they filed whistleblower reports claiming that their efforts were blocked by dysfunction and fraud.

Six months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017, a group of contractors hired by ATCS, a civil engineering firm based in Herndon, Va., arrived there. The Federal Emergency Management Agency hired them to implement a best practices system for recovery efforts to maximize speed and marshal resources efficiently.

The article goes on to state the following:

Members of the team, which usually comprised about nine contractors, said friction with FEMA management around their efforts led to waste of taxpayer funds. It was, they concluded, a part of a wider cultural problem that has marred multibillion-dollar recovery efforts in the U.S. territory.

The program sought to apply an operational structure called Six Sigma, used at General Electric, and the contractors had taught it to companies and the military and consulted on past FEMA projects.

It was ended prematurely after, the contractors claim, they were punished for identifying the very problems they had been brought in to try to solve.

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