September 9, 2005
The FEMA dream team
The Washington Post sums it up:
Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
FEMA’s top three leaders – Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler – arrived with ties to President Bush’s 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska anda U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.
Meanwhile, veterans such as U.S. hurricane specialist Eric Tolbert and World Trade Center disaster managers Laurence W. Zensinger and Bruce P. Baughman – who led FEMA’s offices of response, recovery and preparedness, respectively – have left since 2003, taking jobs as consultants or state emergency managers, according to current and former officials.
Because of the turnover, three of the five FEMA chiefs for natural-disaster-related operations and nine of 10 regional directors are working in an acting capacity, agency officials said.
… FEMA “has gone downhill within the department, drained of resources and leadership,” said I.M. “Mac” Destler, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. “The crippling of FEMA was one important reason why it failed.”
Still, I’m sure FEMA’s investigation of its own fuck-ups—which will cost taxpayers $1.4 million—will set things right.
TrackBack URL for this entry: