State-Managed Disasters: An Interview with Arizona's Director of Emergency Management


...reviewing insurance, then we make that known as early as possible in the process; preferably following the preliminary damage assessment (PDA). Once the PDA is complete, you have a feel for unique aspects associated with the event and what that could mean as far as additional technical assistance or other support that would be required by FEMA.

Craig: So, what are the negatives for the state? What are your downfalls? Are there additional burdens put upon you? There are always those unintended consequences to anything we do.

Smith-Reeve: I think at this point the burden that the state of Arizona has borne, and I would argue that it’s an intangible benefit, are the additional costs associated with administering this program given the insufficient return with the limited management funds outlined right now in regulation. The 3.34 percent just doesn’t get anywhere close to what it costs the state. If you compare and contrast that with what it actually costs for FEMA to administer the program (upwards of 30 percent), the state is getting shortchanged and the same taxpayer is burdened again from the state/local level.

Craig: So, you’re not currently given more money to manage it yourself — you’re given the normal state-management amount?

Smith-Reeve: We receive the same amount as everyone else. As I mentioned before, there is great benefit on the back end with a higher quality of customer service and ensuring that both the sub- grantees and the state are receiving everything that they are qualified to receive. That to me is an intangible benefit, as it’s something you really can’t quantify in dollars, but at the end of the day we have happier customers, who are the same customers that we’re serving whenever we have a state- declared disaster. We want to make sure that our processes and programs are as seamless and integrated as possible, so the customer is always receiving the same quality customer service. I want to touch on something you had mentioned about audit and while there is a federal audit requirement, the way our state laws work, we have a state audit requirement that...

“Currently, only five states are actively participating in the state-managed disaster initiative: North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Arizona.”

MonsoonMicroburst, July2017;Photo courtesyofBruceHaffner