This report will address only the initial steps in the recovery process. city recovery began with its application to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement for damages and response costs and its requests for temporary staff through the California Assistance and Relief for the Earthquake (CARE) program.

a. The FEMA process

The reimbursement process has taken thousands of staff hours. It required establishment of a City FEMA Coordination committee. It also required reassignment of employees from their normal duties to writing and documenting FEMA requests.

Prior to the earthquake, Emergency Services developed an Administrative Instruction (AI) that described how all City employees were to report the hours worked and resources used during an emergency. However, most departments had not been sufficiently trained in this process.

On the day following the earthquake, at the Department Heads' Meeting, everyone was instructed to keep a diary of all their response activities as documentation for future claims. . This directive was followed with varying degrees of completeness.

The City formed the FEMA Coordination Committee within the first few first few days of the earthquake. Its function was to coordinate all aspects of the FEMA application process. This group was originally composed of representatives from the City Manager's Office, City Attorney's Office, Finance Department, the Emergency Services Division, and Public works. A representative from Office of General Services was added later. This group is the City's official liaison to the State and Federal governments and is expected to remain in operation until all earthquake projects have been completed and all claims have been paid.

Reimbursements from FEMA are paid on the basis of Damage Survey Reports (DSRs). DSRs are written by FEMA field inspectors their estimates after visiting the damaged site as well as documentation of costs and damages provided by the jurisdiction applying for funds. The DSR is then sent to FEMA reviewers where a final determination is made on the dollar amount based on the accompanying documentation. After the DSR is reviewed, FEMA returns it to the City. At this point, if the City and FEMA agree on the scope of work, the DSR is processed for payment.

If the City does not concur with the scope of work reported on the DSR, it has 60 days to appeal. FEMA then has 60 days to respond to the appeal. This is followed by a second 60-day appeal for both parties. All told, the process of getting one DSR approved can take 300 days from the time it is first submitted. The City has submitted 112 DSRs for a total of $17,572,141 in claims to date. Ultimately it is estimated that 250 claims will be submitted totaling $90+ million.

Several departments have been directly affected by the FEMA process. Documentation needed to write a DSR or file an appeal is. gathered and analyzed by employees in those departments which have the expertise. in addition, new procedures and computer programs were developed to capture and track the needed information. These activities were managed by the Office of Emergency Services and Public Works originally. The lead responsibility now resides with the Department of Finance who hired a 4-member claims unit to retrieve and monitor earthquake related expenses.

b. The California Assistance and Relief for the Earthquake (CARE) program

Following the earthquake, the Office of Economic Development and Employment (OEDE) was without an office. This department, however, receives 97 percent of its budget from the Federal government through grants and employment programs. Future funding is dependent on current performance and meeting program goals. For this reason, OEDE could not accept a reduction in productivity despite their displacement. However, those interviewed felt although the work got done, there was a decrease in efficiency and effectiveness due to inadequate temporary quarters.

While OEDE was trying to meet its own program objectives the department also had to apply for monies from the California Assistance and Relief for the Earthquake (CARE) program. This program transferred funds into the City's existing Job Training Program to hire Oakland residents to help in recovery. By October 31, 1989, OEDE staff established a system to collect data on recovery needs of community agencies and City Departments, submitted a written application to the State, surveyed 91 public agencies, and began recruiting applicants. Staff from the Hire Oakland program implemented the program.

On November 21 and 22, OEDE rented the Oakland Convention Center to conduct screening of 800 applicants. The Employment Development Department (EDD), and the Recruitment and Examination Division of OPRM helped manage the screening.

Hiring began the first week of December. Funding for the program was extended beyond the original termination date of May 31, to August 31, 1990. Oakland was able to obtain additional monies for the program because it rapidly initiated the program and put people to work. Additional monies became available from jurisdictions which were unable to mobilize quickly enough or had less need.

By the end of June, 241 Oakland residents were employed in the program. Thirty percent of these individuals were employed by the City of Oakland. This program provided additional staff resources at a time when they were sorely needed, without additional expense to the City.

  1. Formalize the simplified building permit process for repair of damage due to disasters that was used in this disaster. (OPW)

  2. Finalize building repair standards for earthquake damaged buildings. Co-sponsor a workshop on this issue with other earthquake damaged jurisdictions. (OPW)

  3. Instruct all departments to create their own emergency response plans to include:
Develop a recovery plan to address:
  1. recovery of essential City services prioritization of computer access and relocation of departments office supply distribution cost recovery strategies streamline the rebuilding and building repair permit process. (Task Force appointed by CMO)

  2. Develop a system to capture response costs and train appropriate City employees on the system. (Finance)

  3. Formalize guidelines used to manage the FEMA reimbursement process. (Finance, Emergency Services, City Attorney)

Go to Conclusion, or return to 1989 Earthquake Exhibit