JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt has ordered all state agencies to provide detailed analyses of federal homeland security funds received and how those funds are being spent.
Missouri received $125 million in homeland security grants from the federal government in 2003 and 2004. Federal law requires states to obligate 80 percent of the funds to local governments within 45 days of receipt. Missouri has spent only $20 million of its allotted amount in the last two years.
In announcing the order Tuesday, Blunt complained that the administration of his predecessor, Gov. Bob Holden, had not kept track of how the money was being used. Blunt has asked for a report from every executive department to determine how to spend the remaining $105 million to enhance homeland security by March 31.
“Missouri is a potential target,” Blunt said. “It is disturbing to know that funds our first responders and law enforcement agencies need for training, equipment and anti-terrorism planning efforts have not been spent for the last two years.”
In addition to reports on how federal homeland security grants have been spent, Blunt wants a plan outlining how each department will use the federal money to prepare and protect the public in the event of a terrorist attack. Each department must also provide information about past homeland security grant requests, as well as the names of private companies or local government agencies that they have partnered with to petition for the grants.
Blunt recently expressed concern over former Missouri Homeland Security Director Tim Daniel’s relationship with Convergence Communications. Daniel encouraged the state to purchase a $300,000 Web portal from Convergence before resigning his state position and joining the company. The state’s contract with the company was found to duplicate other emergency notifications systems already in place.
Gen. Dennis Schull, general of the Missouri National Guard, will take Daniel’s place in overseeing the management of homeland security funds. Blunt said that once he names a director for the Public Safety Department, the new director will work with Schull to oversee the operation. Blunt said he wants to move the Homeland Security office into the Public Safety Department.