Statement Regarding Disaster Emergency Fund Performance Audit

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(Dec. 12, 2022) -- On Dec. 12, the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) released a performance audit for the state’s Disaster Emergency Fund (DEF), which was created by the General Assembly in 1992 to help ensure that funds are available to meet disaster emergencies in the state. Auditors did not identify any expenses from the Disaster Emergency Fund that were not in compliance with statutory requirements or the relevant executive orders, but they recommended “closing out disasters” more promptly to release unused funding.

The Colorado Department of Public Safety has this response statement to the audit:

“We appreciate the collaboration that’s taken place over the past year with the OSA. We are proud of the fact that there were no improper expenditures or expenses and 100% of the expenditures reviewed were in compliance with the statutory requirements and respective executive orders.

The disaster recovery process is complex and lengthy, and rarely the same for any two disasters given the unique circumstances of each one. Our focus as a state agency partner is to support the affected local communities and to help them recover as quickly and as wholly as possible. 

Regarding the audit’s recommendations on how we can improve our disaster closeout process, we agree with both subparts of the OSA recommendation and will have these implemented by June 30, 2023. This includes updating the DEF Process Guide, establishing a process to assess when it would be appropriate to close each disaster prior to the executive order date, and establishing timelines for closing disasters with the Governor’s Office once they are complete. 

We would like to note that CDPS has closed 10 of the 17 outstanding incidents that were noted in the audit; each was closed sooner than the state executive order expiration date after we determined that all transactions have been accounted for and it was appropriate to close them.  We will continue to work with the Governor's Office on closing the remaining seven incidents.”