Sunday, April 15, 2007

FEMA-- The bungle boys bungle along

This is what happens when you staff a critical Federal agency with political hacks.FEMA used to be run by highly trained professionals, at least during the Clinton administration, but since Bush took office, the agency has been virtually destroyed by the party loyalists placed into top management positions as rewards for their fealty. We all know the horror of Katrina and the gross mismanagement of Michael(heckuva job) Brown and others, who were not prepared in any way for a quick response to that 2005 disaster. Unfortunately, FEMA today is in no better shape than it was then. The agency is riddled with problems ranging from lack of logistical coordination to fraud to massive waste. Here is a Washington Post article by Spencer Hsu:

I won't mention the many Katrina related foul-ups that cost the taxpayers billions of dollars, but will show how far the agency has progressed since they pledged to improve their ability to respond to disasters as ordered by Congress.

The article reveals a few of the problems that have come to light. For example, Fema managers, anticipating a busy hurricane season in 2006, and determined to avoid the criticism that surrounded Katrina, loaded the area up with massive amounts of food, water and ice. The only problem is that they failed to take into account that they did not have enough storage for all of these supplies, and when they weren't used because of the mild season, over $40 million in food rotted and had to be thrown away.

In addition, two FEMA staffers are being investigated for misappropriating money for unauthorized purchases. No names have been made public yet.

One neat bit of possible illegality, so common in this administration, concerns a $71 million no-bid contract awarded to a Georgia firm in 2005 to develop a system that would enable Fema to track all shipments from their warehouses, similar to what FedEx uses. This system was to have been in place in mid 2006, but the first phase has been pushed back to 2009 so far.

The contract was given to a company named Stratix, who was favored by FEMAs chief operating officer, Kenneth O. Burris, Jr. He is no longer employed by FEMA, having been hired into an executive position by Stratix, in what I am sure is nothing but the merest coincidence.

Impropriety, illegality,waste and mismanagement, thanks to Mr Bush and company, remain the hallmarks of Fema today. If we have another disaster in the U.S., the folks affected won't be able to count any government help.

Next election, vote for people who at least have some concern for the welfare of our citizens-vote Democrat!


Anonymous said...

Did you know Burris was brought into the Federal government during the CLINTON administration? Check his background and you'd know he's not a republican

JohnDWoodSr said...

Dear Anon, thanks for the info. You're absolutely correct. We could have a long discussion of maybes(Burris found the climate within Fema more amenable to dishonest dealings in 2005, for example), but I am willing to concede that every political party has a share of crooks. I will say however, that all evidence points to the party currently holding the Executive Branch as having the "lions share".
The rest of my post describing Femas problems is still valid, so the best I can do is to award you one-sixth of a point.
Seriously though, thanks for commenting and stay in touch.