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Thursday, September 7, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Some praised for good work after Katrina

Newhouse News Service

WASHINGTON — The long list of federal government failings in the face of Hurricane Katrina is well-documented. Now the nation's top auditor is praising a few agencies that he says were up to the challenge.

In addition to the Coast Guard, which has been widely lauded for its daring helicopter rescues of more than 12,000 flood victims in New Orleans, comptroller general David Walker commended other federal agencies whose efforts filled critical needs.

Among those singled out in a report Wednesday were the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center for accurately tracking the storm.

The U.S. Postal Service and the Social Security Administration also won acclaim. So did the New Orleans-based National Finance Center, which issued paychecks to 500,000 federal employees as the storm bore down.

Even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) received plaudits. After Katrina, the IRS assigned 5,000 employees the task of getting cash to victims by assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Walker, who runs the Government Accountability Office, also praised the IRS for being a kind and gentle tax collector after the storm. The agency set up a payment-relief hotline and handled more than 100,000 calls.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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