Burton, the former OMB official who served during Katrina, said offices such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency may shift some spending because of long-term concerns related to Sandy. That might lead to contract cancellations, he said.
Taxpayer dollars were wasted during Katrina because government procurement workers weren’t prepared to handle emergency contracts, Burton said. After the disaster, his office advised contracting officers to take steps such as tapping existing contracts to support the relief effort, rather than starting from scratch with new awards. “The response to Sandy shows that there was some value to the lessons learned from Katrina,’’ he said.
American Medical Response provided medical support, personnel and transportation in 15 states, according to Dan Watson, a FEMA spokesman. The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company was the biggest recipient of Sandy-related contracts, with an order valued at as much as $45 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The second-biggest recipient of Sandy-related contracts was closely held Estes Express Lines, based in Richmond, with about $23.3 million in awards. The firm coordinated distribution of 600 loads of water, meals, blankets, cots, generators and baby formula in New Jersey and New York, said Ken Niemaseck, a division vice president at the company.
Other contracts included the use of three ships as floating shelter and office space, so emergency workers don’t “strain or compete for local lodging resources that displaced residents require,’’ said Meghan Keck, a Department of Transportation spokeswoman. More than 32,000 meals have been served on the ships so far, compared with 230,000 meals during Katrina.
“Katrina was actually the first time ships were used in this capacity, so I would say the primary lesson learned was how helpful the ships could be in relieving strained housing resources and providing office space for emergency response workers close to areas that needed help,’’ Keck said in an e-mail.
— Bloomberg Government
With assistance from Brian K. Sullivan in Boston, Martin Z. Braun in New York and Freeman Klopott in Albany, N.Y.