GAO United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division B-281665 January 27, 1999 Congressional Requesters Subject: National Park Service: Flood Recover-v Efforts at Yos_emiteNational Park, California This letter is in response to your June 3, 1998, request that we review the use of the disaster recovery funds provided for Yosemite National Park by Public Law 105-18, following the January 1997 flood that damaged much of the park’s buildings and infrastructure. The park received $176 million as emergency funds to pay for flood damages. The funds provided were to be used for expenses related to construction including improvements, repairs, or replacement of physical facilities. Accordingly, some of the funds were used for previously planned park facilities damaged or affected by the flood. Because of the large amount of money involved and recent incidents of questionable spending on construction by the National Park Service (NPS),l such as the $330,000 outhouse that was built at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, you asked us to address the following questions: - Are planned and actual expenditures consistent with the park’s planning documents? - Do the costs of the disaster recovery projects appear reasonable? - Is there any merit to the allegations that we received about the misuse of some of the disaster recovery funds? ‘See our report entitled National Park Service: Efforts to Identify and Manage the Maintenance Backlog (GAO/RCED-98-143, May 14, 1998) and Cost of Construction of Employee Housing at Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, National Park Service, Office of Inspector General, Department of the Interior (No. 97-I-224, Dec. 11, 1996). GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts B-281665 On November 17 and December 4, 1998, we briefed your staff on the results of our review and agreed to provide you with this report summarizing our findings. In brief, the following are our answers to the specific questions you raised: - To date, we have not identified any inconsistencies between planned and actual expenditures and the park’s planning documents. - At the time of our review, only about one-third of the funds (about $60 million) had been obligated or spent, and the costs for the disaster recovery projects that we sampled appeared to be reasonable. However, the park did not sufficiently justify its plan to use flood recovery funds to construct additional office space. - We received allegations from a variety of sources, which included, for example, concerns about the misuse of flood recovery funds to purchase vehicles and computer equipment. The allegations that we reviewed about the misuse of flood recovery funds, however, could not be substantiated. It should be noted that our review provides a snapshot of the flood recovery obligations and expenditures made between the time of the January 1997 flood and September 30, 1998. To address your first two questions, we randomly sampled 21 of the 213 projects that the park officials had identified as being part of their flood recovery effort. The 21 projects represented over 80 percent of the obligations and expenditures made as of September 30, 1998. In addition, to determine if the allegations made had merit, we discussed them with appropriate individuals and reviewed pertinent documentation that was available. We also discuss in this report the two lawsuits against NPS that may delay the completion of some flood recovery projects. SAMPLED PROJECTS WERE CONSISTENT WITH PARK’S PLANS As of September 30, 1998, the park had obligated about $60 million, or one- third, of the $176 million it received. The Congress provided the park with $176 million to repair damages from the flood as well as to improve the park in accordance with current planning documents, which include the General Management Plan, Housing Plan, Concession Services Plan, Yosemite Lodge Development Concept Plan, and Valley Implementation Plan. Of the 213 disaster recovery projects, 27 relate to at least one of these plans. One hundred eighty-six projects do not relate to these planning documents primarily because they involve normal park operations that were damaged by the flood and required flood-recovery funding for repair. With regard to our sample, we found that 12 of the 21 projects related to the park’s planning documents and were consistent with them. For example, the Yosemite Lodge projects are consistent with the General Management Plan and 2 GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts B-281665 Concession Services Plan, and the Annex/Ozone and Camp Six concessionaire employee housing projects are discussed in the Housing Plan. The remaining nine sampled projects were not related to specific planning documents. These included items such as repairing damage to the El Portal road, electrical lines under the river, and Yosemite Creek Lift Station. SAMPLED PROJECTS’COSTS APPEAR REASONABLE We found that the estimated costs for the 21 sampled projects appear reasonable. However, it should be noted that final costs have not been determined because most projects are not yet completed. As a result, obligations for most of the sampled projects have been higher for planning and designing the work to be performed than for the actual construction. Several factors may also affect the final costs. All projects are being or will be “value engineered,” which should also help ensure their reasonableness.’ Projects estimated to cost over $500,000 are being reviewed by an NPS Servicewide Development Advisory Board to help ensure that they are consistent with congressional committee and policy guidance. And, in response to a National Academy of Public Administration study, NPS is making changes to its cost- estimating procedures, which may result in changes to the projects’ costs. One of the park’s approved projects was to construct a new building to provide office space for 12 Resource Management staff who were occupying a building damaged by the flood. Initially, the park planned to replace the flooded building with a one-story building with comparable square footage. After this project was approved, the park decided to add a second story to the new building instead of leasing a modular building at an estimated cost of $500,000. The second story space is to be temporarily used by Office of Flood Recovery staff and later by Resource Management staff. The new building would provide office space for about 50 Resource Management staff. In our opinion, the park did not sufficiently justify its plan to use flood recovery funds to construct the second story to this new building. The park plans to use $500,000 in flood recovery funds to provide office space for Office of Flood Recovery staff. According to NPS, the cost of managing the projects was part of the gross estimate for all of the projects; therefore, the $500,000is not an increase to the original estimate. In justifying its use of these funds to construct a second story to a new building, the park determined that it would 20ffice of Management and Budget Circular No. A-131 defines value engineering as an organized effort directed at analyzing the function of systems, equipment, facilities, services, and supplies for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest life-cycle cost consistent with required performance, reliability, quality, and safety. 3 GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts B-281665 (1) need office space for 30 employees; (2) lease rather than purchase a modular building for office space; and (3) locate the building at its El Portal, California, warehouse site. The Office of Flood Recovery staff plan to use the new space until they complete their work. At that tune, employees from the Resources Management Division, who are currently working in an interior area of the park-known as the valley-will move into the offices. Moving such employees out of the valley is consistent with the park’s objective to do so. However, we question the park’s justification for the following reasons: - First, in October 1997, the park determined that it would cost $500,000 to lease a temporary modular building for office space for 30 authorized Office of Flood Recovery staff. In August 1998, the park requested and obtained approval from its regional office to use $500,000 of the park’s flood recovery funds to cover the costs of building a second floor rather than lease. However, as of September 30, 1998, the actual number of employees in the Office of Flood Recovery was 18; for the most part, these employees were working in an area that was formerly used for training. - Second, the park received a single cost estimate to (1) lease 5,760 square feet of modular office space for 4 years for $500,000 or (2) purchase the same space for $400,000. The park decided to apply the full $500,000 leasing-cost estimate to add a 4,300~square-footsecond story to a new structure to be built. Thus, the park justified the use of $500,000 to build the additional square footage on the basis of leasing 33-percent more square footage of office space (1,460 square feet-the difference between 5,760 and 4,300 square feet) than it plans to actually build for the Office of Flood Recovery staff. - Last, the park considered alternatives for providing the office space only at its El Portal warehouse. The park did not consider acquiring office space at other locations to determine whether sufficient space was available elsewhere and its related lease or purchase price. ALLEGATIONS REGARDING MISUSE OF FLOOD RECOVERY FUNDS NOT SUBSTANTLTED We could not substantiate any of the allegations we received about the misuse of disaster recovery funds. We received allegations from several sources who claimed, for example, that flood recovery funds were misused for purchasing new vehicles and computer equipment or for retaining campgrounds in the floodplain. We met with the individuals making the allegations to better understand the basis for the allegations and to acquire specific information to substantiate their claims. However, the information provided by these 4 GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts B-281665 individuals in support of their allegations either did not contain specific details, addressed their claims only partly, or was incorrect. ACTION TAKEN TO ADDRESS LAWSUITS MAY DELAY COMPLETING SOME FLOOD RECOVERY PROJECTS NPS was recently the defendant in two lawsuits that, according to NPS, have been dropped. Actions taken to address the issues raised in these lawsuits, however, may delay completing some of the disaster relief projects at Yosemite. Such delays could increase the cost associated with the park’s flood recovery projects. One lawsuit concerned constructing buildings in or adjacent to an area that has historically been used by rock climbers, The lawsuit contended that, among other things, NPS failed to prepare an environmental impact statement, failed to consider alternative sites, and violated the NPS Organic Act and Administrative Procedures Act. The second lawsuit challenged the 1997 Yosemite Lodge Development Concept Plan. This lawsuit contended that, among other things, the park failed to consider all significant environmental impacts, failed to evaluate other reasonable alternatives, and should have prepared a full environmental impact statement rather than an environmental assessment. NPS informed us that in December 1998, the park announced that it would conduct an environmental impact statement for Yosemite Valley development, which will ensure a full assessment of cumulative impacts and avoid claims of fragmented planning. NPS anticipates that the draft environmental impact statement will be available for release to the public in May 1999 and finalized later in the year. AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION We obtained agency comments on a draft of this report from the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior. (See enc. I.) The agency said that it generally agreed with the findings in the draft report and provided several comments for our consideration. We have revised the report where appropriate to address these comments. The agency had several specific comments on our findings about the park’s plan to build new space for the Office of Flood Recovery staff. Specifically, the agency commented on (1) its need for office space for 30 employees, (2) its justification to build rather than lease the office space, and (3) its decision to locate the office space at its El Portal warehouse. The agency commented that it still plans to increase the Office of Flood Recovery staff from its current level of 18 employees to 30 employees and place 5 GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts B-281665 them in the new office space. Hiring the additional employees has been delayed about 1 year by legal challenges to Yosemite Lodge construction, which led the park to postpone filling some flood recovery positions, especially those related to the supervision of construction. Also, upon anticipated approval of a comprehensive environmental impact statement for Yosemite Valley development, over $90 million worth of construction will begin, and the Office of Flood Recovery plans to provide up to the programmed number of staff and remain at that level through its 3-year construction period. However, we continue to believe that there are uncertainties about whether staffing at the full authorized level of 30 positions will be necessary. Work that is currently being done by the existing 18 staff has continued while the environmental impact statement is being prepared. As such, projects that are not affected by the delay could be completed, thus freeing up the time of existing staff to work on the delayed Yosemite Valley development projects. Also, according to Yosemite officials, the supervision of construction may be contracted out rather than done in-house. Finally, some of the work associated with Yosemite Valley’s development has already been undertaken, specifically that related to the planning and design as well as the demolition work needed in preparation for the delayed projects’ construction, which should reduce the need for additional Staff. The agency commented that, if modular office units had been leased for the Office of Flood Recovery, 5,760 square feet of space would have been required. However, the agency said that the space can be reduced to 4,300 square feet if built as part of the Resource Management building by allowing common use of rest rooms, meeting rooms, copying and faxing machines, et cetera. It also said that the $500,000estimate for the office space is based on what would have been needed if modular units were leased; therefore, it is appropriate to apply that amount toward the construction of the new Resource Management building because building a permanent structure is a better use of the money. However, the agency’s explanation does not clearly show how the -agency has reduced the space requirement by over 1,400 square feet as a result of common uses. For example, the designs for both the first and second floors of the new building had rest rooms and copy rooms identified. Also, space savings do not appear to result from the common use of a 400-square-foot conference room on the second floor. The design plan for the leased space included 400 square feet for a conference room and a separate break room, whereas the new space does not include a break room. Therefore, there is no net change in the square footage. In addition, we understand that the park used its estimate for leasing the modular units to justify its expenditures. Our point is that, in doing so, the park justified the expenditure to build additional square footage on the basis of leasing more space than it plans to build. The agency commented that the General Management Plan calls for the majority of Yosemite’s administrative and maintenance support facilities to be located in 6 GAOIRCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts B-281665 El Portal. The agency said that it evaluated five possible alternative sites in El Portal and that the preferred building site best meets established criteria (proximity to existing infrastructure, interface with existing offices, least disruption to on-site operations, and minimized impact to a sensitive resource area) and offers the additional benefit of removing more Resource Management offices from Yosemite Valley once the flood recovery staff vacate the space. We believe that the park could have explored other potentially more cost- effective alternatives, even within El Portal, for housing staff temporarily assigned to the Office of Flood Recovery. We do not question the need for the additional office space for permanent employees at El Portal or the plan to relocate employees according to the General Management Plan. However, in evaluating the five alternatives, the park only considered locating this office’s staff outside the park at the warehouse in El Portal. For example, a draft report of a recently completed study of the park’s housing, done at the request of NPS, indicated that there are excess employee housing units in El Portal. Thus, since the park already uses former employee housing as office space, excess employee housing might have provided an option for consideration. We conducted our review from June 1998 through January 1999 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. A discussion of our scope and methodology appears in enclosure II. As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that time, we will make copies of this report available to others upon request. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me on (202) 512-3841. Major contributors to this report were Cliff Fowler, Roy Judy, Richard Kasdan, Kenneth Kurz, Diane Lund, and William Temmler. Enclosures - 2 7 GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts B-281665 List of Congressional Requesters The Honorable Slade Gorton Chairman, Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable Craig Thomas Chairman, Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation, and Recreation Committee on Energy and Natural Resources United States Senate The Honorable Ralph Regula Chairman, Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives 8 GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I United States Department of the Interior OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY Washington, D.C. 20240 January11,1999 Mr. Barry T. Hill AssociateDirector, Ener,oy,Resources, and ScienceIssues U. S. GeneralAccounting Office 441 G Street,NW Washington,DC 20548 Dear Mr. Hill: The Departmentof the Interior has reviewedthe GeneralAccounting Office’s (GAO) draft report entitled, “National Park Service: Flood RecovervEfforts at Yosemite National Park. California” (GAO/RCED-99-50R). We are generallypleasedwith the findings in the draft report, and offer the following commentsregardinga few specific issues: Page4, Paragraph1: This paragraphstatesthat “final project costshavenot been determinedbecauseobligationsfor most of the sampledprojects havebeenhigher for planning and designwork to be performed...than for actual construction.” This is a confusing statement.It seemsto suggestthat planning and designwill cost more than construction. Actually, the obligationsat this’point for planning .’ and design are higher only becausethey happenedfirst, and much of the constructioncosts have not yet beenincurred. It may be clearerto statethat final costs are unknown becausemost projectsarenot yet completed. Page4, Paragraph1: Although the National Park Service(NPS) is making changesto its cost-estimatingproceduresin responseto the National Academy of Public Administration study, it is.not true that flood recoveryproject estimates may change. In quarterlyprogressreportsto Congress,the park is requiredto comparethe original estimatesto actualobligations. Thereforethe original estimateswill be retained. Page4, Paragraph2: In this section,wherethe use of flood recoveryfunds to construct additional office spaceis first questioned,we beIieve it would be helpful to clarify the intent of the new construction. The main purposeof the new 9 GAOIRCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I building is to replaceResourceManagementDivision offices destroyedby the flood. The replacementof thoseoffices was a specific component(package number 903) of the funding requestthat was sentto andapprovedby Congress. Adding squarefootagewithin the replacementbuilding for the Flood Recovery Office staffs temporaryuseis secondary. This distinction is not clear in the current draft, andreadersmay incorrectly infer that the building is being constructedprimarily for flood recoveryoffice space. Page5, Paragraph2: This paraaaphsaysthat the $500,000for flood recovery office spacewas not part of the park’s initial cost estimate. Actually, the cost of managingthe projects,including flood recoveryspaceneeds,was part of the gross estimatefor all of the projects. It has not resultedin a7 increaseto the original request. Page5, Paragraph2: This sectionmentionsthat the actualnumberof flood recovery employeesusing office spaceis 18 insteadof the approved30. As describedin a November 1998letter from the park to GAO, this differenceis only temporary. Legal challengesover the YosemiteLodgeproject that includesguest lodging and employeehousinghavedelayedLodge constructionby approximatelyone year. The park has postponedfilling someflood recovery positions, especiallythoserelatedto constructionsupervision.Upon anticipated approval of a comprehensiveEnvironmentalImpact Statementfor Yosemite Valley development,over $90 million worth of constructionwill begin,and flood recovery will staff up to the programmednumberandremainat that level through its three-yearconstructionperiod.Thereforethereis a legitimateneedfor the office spacerequested. Page 5, Paragraph3: This sectionstatesthat the park justified using $500,000on the basis of leasing33% more squarefeet of office spacethan it actuallywill build. If modular office units hadbeenleased,the fi1115,760 squarefeet of space would have beenrequired. However,the spacecan be reducedto 4,300square feet if built as part of the ResourceManagementbuilding, allowing commonuse of restrooms,meetingrooms,copying and faxing machines,etc. The $500,000 estimateis basedon what would havebeenneededif modularunits were leased, thereforeit is appropriateto apply that amounttoward constructionof the new ResourceManagementbuilding. It is more responsibleto constructpermanent office spaceand reuseit when flood recovery is completethan to spendan equivalentamountof money purchasingmodularunits that quickly deteriorateto an eyesoreor leasingunits that needto be returned. Page5, Paragraph4: This paragraphsaysthat the park did not considerproviding office spaceat locationsotherthan its El Portal warehouse.The General ManagementPlan calls for the majority of Yosemite’sadministrativeand GAOIRCED-99-5OR Yosemite Flood Recovery Efforts 10 ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I maintenancesupportfacilities to be locatedin El Portal. In the value analysisfor the project, five possiblesite alternativesin El Portal were evaluatedagainstthe desirablecriteria establishedfor this project: proximity to existing infrastructure; interfacewith existing offices; leastdisruptionto on-siteoperations;and minimized impact to a sensitiveresourcearea. The preferredbuilding site best meetsthose criteria, andoffers the additionalbenefit of removingmore Resource Managementoffices from YosemiteValley oncethe flood recoverystaff vacates the space. Page6, Paragraphs2 and 3; andPage7 Paragraph1: The statementthat lawsuits may delay completingflood recoveryprojectsstill is true. This additional information is offeredjust as an updateon the lawsuit status: In Decemberof 1998,the park announcedthat it would includeNational EnvironmentalPolicy Act compliancefor the YosemiteLodge site in a more comprehensive EnvironmentalImpact Statement (EIS) for YosemiteValley development.This EIS will insure a full assessmentof cumulativeimpactsand avoid claims of fragmentedplanning. The plaintiffs have droppedtheir pendinglawsuits. The draft of the Valley Plan EIS shouldbe releasedto the public in May, with a Recordof Decision anticipatedlate in 1999. Page7, Paragraph2: This paragraphindicatesthat the review was conducted from June 1998throughJanuary1998. The seconddateappearsto have a typo,mphical error and shouldread“1999”instead. Page7, Paragraph4: When major contributorsto the reportwere mentioned,we believethat KennethKurz, with whom the park had considerableinteraction,was inadvertentlyleft off of the list. Thank you for the opportunityto review and commenton the draft GAO report. Sincerelv. Donald 3. Barry I AssistantSecretaryfor Fish andWildlife and Parks 11 GAOLRCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II GAJ Briefing for Congressional Requesters Flood Recovery Efforts at Yosemite National Park, California 12 GAO/RCED-99-5OR YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSUIZEII GQJ Background l In January 1997, Yosemite National Park experienced a major flood that damaged much of its buildings and infrastructure. l In March 1997, park officials estimated that about $176 million was needed to recover from the flood. l The $176 million included both repair items and costs to improve the park. GAOLRCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts 13 ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSUREII w Background (can’t) l In June 1997, P. L.10518 provided the funds for disaster recovery at various locations. Yosemite received the full $176 million requested. l Legislation provides wide latitude for the use of appropriated funds. l As of September 30,1998, about $60 million had been obligated--roughly one-third of the total provided. GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 14 ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II w Objectives l Because of the large amount of money involved and recent incidents involving questionable spending on construction by the National Park Service (NPS), we were asked to answer the following questions: GAOiRCED-99-50RYosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSUIXEII ENCLOSUREII GAQ Objectives (can’t) --Are planned and actual expenditures consistent with the park’s planning documents? --Do the costs of the disaster recovery projects appear reasonable? --Is there any merit to the allegations about the misuse of some of the disaster recovery funds? GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II w Results in Brief l We did not identify any inconsistencies between the park’s planning documents and planned and actual expenditures as of September 30, 1998. 17 GAOIRCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II w Results in Brief (can’t) l At the time of our review, about one-third (about $60 million) had been obligated, and the costs for the disaster recovery projects we sampled appeared to be reasonable. However, the park did not sufficiently justify its plan to use flood recovery funds for building new office space. l The allegations we reviewed about the misuse of flood recovery funds could not . I&d. 18 GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II w Scope and Methodology l Our review provides a snapshot of flood recovery obligations and expenditures as of September 30, 1998. l To determine whether planned and actual expenditures are consistent with planning documents and whether the costs for the disaster projects are reasonable, we: GAOLRCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts 19 ENCLOXREII ENCLOSUREII GAQ Scope and Methodology (can’t) --reviewed applicable laws, regulations, and other relevant documentation; --interviewed appropriate officials at NPS’ headquarters, Denver Service Center, and Yosemite National Park; --sampled 21 of the 213 flood-related projects representing over 80% of the total estimated costs and obligations; GAOLRCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 20 ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSUREII GAs3 Scope and Methodology (con?) - --reviewed and discussed project plans with project managers for each of the sampled projects; and --conducted site inspections of flood- affected areas related to some of the sampled projects. 21 GAO/RCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSUFtElI ENCLOSUREII GAo Scope and Methodology (can’t) l To assess the merits of allegations about misusing disaster recovery funds, we --talked to or met with individuals making the allegations and asked for specific information to substantiate their claims, --discussed the allegations with Yosemite officials, and 22 GAOLRCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSUREII ENCL0SLJFiEI.l GAo Scope and Methodology (can’t) --reviewed Yosemite’s files for documentation pertinent to the allegations made. GAO/RCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts 23 ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II GAs3 Scope and Methodology (con?) l We did not assess or evaluate --the adequacy of the park’s planning documents, --the need for projects, or --the appropriateness of existing policies. 24 GAO/RCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSUREII a0 Were Expenditures Consistent W ith Planning Documents? l We did not identify any inconsistencies between the park’s planning documents and planned and actual expenditures as of September 30, 1998. 0 The planning documents that the park related to the flood recovery effort are the Concession Services Plan (CSP), General Management Plan (GMP), Housing Plan, ,Lodge Development Concept Plan. (DCP), and Valley Implement&on Plan (VIP). GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 25 ENCLOSTJREIt ENCLOSURE II w Were Expenditures Consistent W ith Planning Documents? (can’t) l 186 of the 213 disaster projects do not relate to the park’s planning documents primarily because they involved normal park operations that were damaged by the flood and required flood-recovery funding for repair. l 27 of the 213 projects relate to at least one of the park’s planning documents. 26 GAOLRCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II GAs3 Were Expenditures Consistent W ith Planning Documents? (con?) l We sampled 21 disaster projects to track consistency with the park’s plans. l 12 of 21 sampled projects related to the park’s planning documents and were consistent with them. These 12 projects represented about 50% of the total estimated expenditures for the flood recovery effort. Among these, for example, are changes to: 27 GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSUFtEII ENCLOSUREII GAL) Were Expenditures Consistent W ith Planning Documents? (con?) --Yosemite Lodge that are related to the GMP, CSP, and DCP; --Annex/Ozone and Camp Six concessionaire employee housing projects that are discussed in the Housing Plan; and --Lower Pines Campground that is included in the GMP and VII? 28 GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II a0 Were Expenditures Consistent W ith Planning Documents? (can’t) l Nine of the sampled projects were not related to the park’s planning documents. However, they generally contributed to the park’s normal operations and were damaged by the flood, thus requiring funds for repair. These projects represented about 36% of the total estimated expenditures for the flood recovery effort. GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSUREII w Were Expenditures Consistent W ith Planning Documents? (con?) l These included, for example, repairs to the --El Portal road, --Yosemite Creek Lift Station, and --electrical lines under the river. 30 GAOLRCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II GA(3 Do the Costs for Projects Appear Reasonable? l The estimated costs for the 21 sampled projects appear to be reasonable. l However, final costs have not been determined because most projects are not yet completed. As a result, obligations for most of the sampled projects have been higher for planning and designing the work to be performed than for actual construction. 31 GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II m Do the Costs for Projects Appear Reasonable? (can’t) l Projects are being or will be value engineered. l Projects costing over $500,000 are reviewed by the NPS Servicewide Development Advisory Board to help ensure that they are consistent with congressional committee and policy guidance. 32 GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSUREII w Do the Costs for Projects Appear Reasonable? (con?) l In response to a National Academy of Public Administration study of NPS’ construction program, NPS is making changes to its cost-estimating procedures. l The changes that NPS is making may result in modifications to existing project costs, particularly those that have not yet begun or are in the early stages of project design. GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 33 ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSUREII w Do the Costs for Projects Appear Reasonable? (can’t) l In our opinion, the park’s planned use of flood recovery funds for building new office space was not sufficiently justified. GAO/WED-99-50RYosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 34 ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSUREII w Do the Costs for Projects Appear Reasonable? (can’t) --The park plans to use $500,000 from its flood recovery funds to build new office space ‘for Office of Flood Recovery staff. While, in our opinion, the additional $500,000 has not been sufficiently justified, the additional space, once vacated, will allow more employees to work outside of the valley, which is consistent with park’s objective to do so. GAO/RCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II w Is There Merit to Allegations About Misusing Funds? l We received allegations concerning the misuse of disaster recovery funds at Yosemite from a variety of sources. 0 We could not substantiate the allegations about the misuse of disaster recovery funds. GAO/RCED-99-50R Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts 36 ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II w* Is There Merit to Allegations About Misusing Funds? (con?) l The allegations involved --the misuse of funds to purchase new vehicles and computer equipment, --inflated cost estimates based on the assumption that work would be contracted out, --inflated costs for constructing trail bridges, and --NPS’ decision to spend appropriated funds to retain and redesign campgrounds in the flood plain. GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 37 ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSUREII GAB Is There Merit to Allegations About Misusing Funds? (can’t) l We discussed the allegations with those making them and sought specific information that we could use in an attempt to substantiate their claims. l However, on the basis of additional documentation we obtained, the information provided by these individuals in support of their allegations.either: GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 38 ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSUFiEII G@ Is There Merit to Allegations About Misusing Funds? (con’t) - -- contained no specific details, -- addressed their claims only partly, or -- was incorrect. 39 GAOfRCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSUREII GAs3 Actions Taken to Address Lawsuits May Delay Flood Projects l NPS was recently the defendant in two lawsuits that have been dropped. Actions taken to address the issues raised in the lawsuits may delay completing the Yosemite Lodge project and some projects in the VIP such as campgrounds, for several months. Such delays could increase the cost associated with the park’s flood recovery projects. GAOLRCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts 40 ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II w Agency Comments l NPS officials generally agreed with the findings in this report. l NPS offered several comments for our consideration, and we revised the report where appropriate. l NPS did not agree. that it did not sufficiently justify using $500,000 of flood recovery funds for building new office space for Office of Flood Recovery staff. (141216) 41 GAO/RCED-99-50R YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and Mastercard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. 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National Park Service: Flood Recovery Efforts at Yosemite National Park, California
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-01-27.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)