FEMA's Year End Fund Transfers

B-222009: Mar 3, 1986

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) practice of year-end transfers of selected obligations from its Salaries and Expenses account to the account entitled "Funds Appropriated to the President--Disaster Relief" were in question, as were whether salaries of "temporary" staff employed at headquarters and regional offices on a more or less permanent basis could be paid from the same Disaster Relief appropriation. GAO views FEMA's actions in making the year-end transfers in question illegal. They violate the laws governing appropriation availability, the statutory prohibition against transferring funds from one appropriation account to another, and the so-called Anti-Deficiency Act. For some of the same reasons, using the Disaster Relief appropriation to pay salaries of "temporary" headquarters and regional employees is also improper. Accordingly, GAO views salaries of such employees, are required to be charged to FEMA's Salaries and Expenses account.