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Privacy Act Systems of Records; Amendment of Systems Notice

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Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


Notice of amendment to Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Claim Files.


We (FEMA) are amending our existing system of records entitled FEMA/CGC-1, Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Claim Files by adding to the categories of records maintained in the system. We are specifically enumerating those types of documents (i.e., arbitration decisions, settlement/mediation agreements, and other documents related to the arbitration or settlement process) generated under the alternative remedial schemes, in order to reflect the claimant's option following appeal to invoke binding arbitration or judicial review.


The modifications to this system are effective September 14, 2001.


We invite comments on these modifications to the systems notice. Please send any comments to the Rules Docket Clerk, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of the General Counsel, room 840, 500 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20472, or (e-mail)

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Eileen Leshan, FOIA/Privacy Specialist, at (202) 646-4115, or (e-mail)

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We previously published notice of FEMA/CGC-1, Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Claim Files system of records on August 28, 2000 at 65 FR 52116-52118.

As required by 5 U.S.C. 552(r) and Appendix 1 to OMB Circular A-130, we are simultaneously submitting this notice of altered system of records to the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and to the Office of Management and Budget.

Accordingly, we revise FEMA/CGC-1 of the FEMA Privacy Act system of records to read as follows:


System Name:

FEMA/CGC-1, Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Act Claim Files.

Security Classification:

Unclassified. Start Printed Page 47917

System Location:

Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Claims Office, New Mexico.

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System:

Injured parties claiming compensation for injury to person, property, and economic losses resulting from the Cerro Grande fire of May 2000, and subrogees of such injured parties.

Categories of Records in the System:

(a) Records of claims include names, addresses, telephone numbers, nature and amount of claim, insurance coverage information, and evidence to support claim for the purpose of receiving compensation.

(b) Inspection and appraisal reports containing identification information relating to the claim and results of survey of damaged property and goods.

(c) Supporting medical documentation.

(d) Notice of Loss forms, Proof of Loss forms, documents from other agencies relating to the claim, general administrative and fiscal information, payment schedules, and disposition of claims, general correspondence, including requests for disbursement of payments, contracts, leases, estimates for repair or replacement of fire damaged/ destroyed residence or business.

(e) Claim decisions and appeals.

(f) Arbitration decisions, settlement/mediation agreements, and other documents related to the arbitration or settlement process.

Authority for Maintenance of the System:

Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Act, Pub. L. 106-246, 106th Congress, 2d Session (2000), 114 Stat. 511, 584.


To register claims, evaluate and verify information provided by claimants, inspect damaged property, make determinations for compensation, and make determinations on claims relating to reasonable mitigation efforts that reduce the risk of wildfire, flood, or other natural disasters in the affected counties.

Routine Uses Records Maintained in the System, Including Categories of Users and the Purposes of Such Act:

The Privacy Act permits us to disclose information about individuals without their consent for a routine use, i.e., when the information will be used for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose for which we collected the information. The routine uses of this system are:

(a) Disclosure may be made to agency contractors who have been engaged to assist the agency in the performance of a contract service related to this system of records and who need to have access to the records in order to perform the activity. Recipients must comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 USC 552a.

(b) Disclosure may be made to a member of Congress or to a Congressional staff member in response to an inquiry of the Congressional office made at the written request of the constituent about whom the record is maintained.

(c) Disclosure may be made to other Federal agencies that FEMA has determined provided Cerro Grande fire-related assistance to claimant in order to ensure that benefits are not duplicated.

(d) Disclosure of information submitted by an individual Claimant may be made to an insurance company or other third party that has submitted a subrogation claim relating to such Claimant when it is necessary in FEMA's opinion to ensure that benefits are not duplicated and to efficiently coordinate the processing of claims brought by individuals and subrogees.

(e) Disclosure of property loss information may be made to local governments in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties and the Pueblos of San Ildefonso and Santa Clara for the purpose of preparing community-wide mitigation plans.

(f) When a record on its face, or in conjunction with other records, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute, or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, disclosure may be made to the appropriate agency, whether Federal, foreign, State, local, or tribal or other public authority responsible for enforcing, investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, or rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto, if the information disclosed is relevant to any enforcement, regulatory, investigative or prosecutive responsibility of the receiving entity.

(g) Disclosure may be made to the National Archives and Records Administration for the purpose of conducting records management studies under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

Disclosure to Consumer Reporting Agencies:

Disclosures under 5 U.S.C. 552a (b)(12): Disclosures may be made from this system to “consumer reporting agencies” as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681a(f).

Policies and Practices for Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining, and Disposing of Records in the System:


Records in this system are stored in magnetic media (e.g., computer hard drives and computer disks) and on paper. Paper printouts of these data are made when required for study. The system may also contain photocopies of numerous documents and records, which are filed in appropriate file folders.


By name, address, and claim number.


We will employ a number of security measures to minimize the risk of unauthorized access to or disclosure of personal data in the proposed system. These measures include the use of passwords and access codes to enter the computer system which will maintain the data, and storage of the computerized records and paper records in secured areas that are accessible only to employees who require the information in performing their official duties. Paper documents are stored either in lockable file cabinets within locked rooms or in otherwise secured areas. In addition, we will require contract employees to comply with the safeguards that must be followed to protect the data.

Retention and Disposal:

The files are maintained at the Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Claims Office until completion of a claim. After such time, the files will be transferred to FEMA, 500 C Street, SW., Washington, DC for three years, and then they will be transferred to the appropriate Federal Records Center for seven years until they are destroyed. Means of disposal are appropriate to the storage medium (e.g., erasure of disks, shredding of paper records, etc.)

System Manager(s) and Address:

Director, Cerro Grande Fire Administration Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1549 6th Street, Suite H, Santa Fe, NM 87505; and Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of the General Counsel, room 840, 500 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20472.

Notification Procedures:

An individual can find out whether this system of records contains information about him/her by writing to the system manager at the address Start Printed Page 47918shown above and providing his/her name and address. Inquiries should be addressed to the System Manager. Written requests should be clearly marked, “Privacy Act Request” on the envelope and letter. Include full name, some type of appropriate personal identification, and current address.

When requesting notification of records in person, the individual should be able to provide some acceptable identification, such as a driver's license, passport, employing office's identification card, military identification card, student identification card or other identification data.

Records Access Procedures:

Same as notification procedures described above. Individuals requesting access to their records should also reasonably describe the record(s) they are seeking.

Contesting Records Procedure:

Same as notification procedures described above. Individuals contesting the contents of a record in the system should also reasonably describe the record(s), specify the information being contested, and state the corrective action sought with supporting justification showing how the record is untimely, incomplete, inaccurate, or irrelevant. FEMA Privacy Act regulations are located at 44 CFR part 6.

Record Source Categories:

We obtain information in this system from claimants seeking compensation under the Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Act, Pub. L. 106-246, attorneys, claims adjusters, inspectors and appraisers, insurance companies, medical officials, and Federal, State, and local agencies.

System Exemptions From Certain Provisions of the Act:


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Jordan Fried,

Acting General Counsel.

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[FR Doc. 01-23080 Filed 9-13-01; 8:45 am]