Klamath County Emergency Management reviewed for how it handled grant funds

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore.– The Klamath County Office of Emergency Management is being reviewed by the state Office of Emergency Management for the way it handling its finances.

During a Thursday Klamath County Board of Commissioners meeting, commissioners voiced their concerns about its emergency management office being reviewed by the state.

Commissioners said OEM is reviewing the department because of missing or incorrect billing for grants it was receiving.

Commissioner David Henslee said, “I remember towards the end of last year or the first of this year, I don’t recall, when there was some concerns about time getting double billed on the well reimbursement grant.”

Documentation from the state shows a number of missing quarterly reports from the county emergency management office.

OEM said the county also failed to provide interagency agreements for organizations that they partnered with on grant projects.

The missing or incorrect documentation could end up costing the county thousands of dollars in potential reimbursements.

Though commissioners noted the review by OEM is different than an audit.

County Administrative Manager Sandra Cox said, “they said yes, if this was an audit or if you don’t comply with what we’re asking you to comply with, then that’s a whole different conversation.”

Commissioners said they spoke with Emergency Manager Brandon Fowler and Sheriff Chris Kaber about the situation.

Fowler’s position is part of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office.

“How many people are we laying off?” Commissioner Henslee said, “we need to take a hard look at who runs emergency management, who supervises emergency management moving forward and how many employees that department should have without any funding.”

NBC5 reached out to Fowler for comment, he did not respond.

Meanwhile, Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber did respond with a statement:

“Oregon emergency management conducted a monitoring meeting with us to determine how best to report to them on multiple grants.

Money being spent was not an issue rather whether work completed by our emergency management team was documented thoroughly enough to be eligible for reimbursement”

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NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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