The Federal Emergency Management Agency is siding with the University of Iowa over its efforts to rebuild the music and art buildings that were damaged in the 2008 flood. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says it’s a key step.
“Congressman (Dave) Loebsack, Senator (Chuck) Grassley and I all met with administrator Fugate on this, I’m pleased that he made this decision,” Harkin says. “We are now urging the Secretary (Janet) Napolitano (of the Department of Homeland Security) and the undersecretary to support FEMA’s decision on this.”
Harkin says the issue is not final. “The I-G, the Inspector General’s Office of course can appeal that decision. They could accept it and that would be the end of it. But if they do appeal it, then we’re gonna have to do something else. I’m just hopeful that the I-G’s office will accept it and that will be the end of it,” according to Harkin.
Federal auditors had questioned the decision to commit federal funds to pay to replace the damaged music and art buildings. A report said the buildings should be repaired, not relocated and replaced, because they were salvageable under federal rules.
The report also said the projects should be suspended and the funds promised should be diverted to “better use.” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate however backs the University of Iowa’s recovery efforts and the replacement of flood-damaged buildings.