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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 02:17 PM
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Yup, and that is essentially why Dr. Paul wants to dismantle Homeland Security altogether.
Now THAT you will get NO argument from me

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Good analysis EXCEPT we are talking about the FEMA committed Federal projects, and the inability of the promised monies to work their way through the Federal system, not the Cluster Fuck that was the initial Katrina Disaster.

Note the subtle difference.
It's expecting more of an agency than they can deliver. It failed unrealistic expectations from the beginning. We taxpayers expect the gov to carefully husband every dime and when we hear of waste, fraud, and abuse of our money, we go ape-shit. As we should. Whenever we hear of a $300 toilet seat we go nuts and it is entirely reasonable and right and good that we do. What do we expect the bureaucracy to do about it?

The bureaucratic response to ANY demand is ALWAYS the same :Increase the budget to add layers of oversight. Adding oversight improves the chances of properly disbursing money. It also adds a huge time element and a significant cost element -- program managers are GS-13's and GS-14's $70K - $110K. How many do we want? Each of them need support staff (a half-dozen 11's and 12's and a half-dozen 7's and 9's) and budgets. Need a few SES's to do policy review over the senior GS's. Etc. It grows like a malignancy except with a malignancy you can kill it. Bureaucracy does not die. It metastasizes.

So now with a reformed FEMA we suddenly are shocked, shocked that the bureaucracy is slow. Give me a break.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 02:35 PM
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My head is bleeding....
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 02:38 PM
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My head is bleeding....
which one?
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 02:45 PM
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It's expecting more of an agency than they can deliver. It failed unrealistic expectations from the beginning. We taxpayers expect the gov to carefully husband every dime and when we hear of waste, fraud, and abuse of our money, we go ape-shit. As we should. Whenever we hear of a $300 toilet seat we go nuts and it is entirely reasonable and right and good that we do. What do we expect the bureaucracy to do about it?

The bureaucratic response to ANY demand is ALWAYS the same :Increase the budget to add layers of oversight. Adding oversight improves the chances of properly disbursing money. It also adds a huge time element and a significant cost element -- program managers are GS-13's and GS-14's $70K - $110K. How many do we want? Each of them need support staff (a half-dozen 11's and 12's and a half-dozen 7's and 9's) and budgets. Need a few SES's to do policy review over the senior GS's. Etc. It grows like a malignancy except with a malignancy you can kill it. Bureaucracy does not die. It metastasizes.

So now with a reformed FEMA we suddenly are shocked, shocked that the bureaucracy is slow. Give me a break.
Corporations all over the world have been doing purchasing and bidding and contracts and funds processing for well over a century. The business principles are in place on a national and worldwide level to address such simple stuff as $5B in contracts. There is NO excuse for this. Oversight does not add undue time or complexity. Only poorly hired or appointed administrators can do that.

This stuff is not rocket science. Is is simple contract assessment. It is simply failure to hire the right people at the top to deal with it. And we know how the top people were hired.

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Corporations all over the world have been doing purchasing and bidding and contracts and funds processing for well over a century. The business principles are in place on a national and worldwide level to address such simple stuff as $5B in contracts. There is NO excuse for this. Oversight does not add undue time or complexity. Only poorly hired or appointed administrators can do that.

This stuff is not rocket science. Is is simple contract assessment. It is simply failure to hire the right people at the top to deal with it. And we know how the top people were hired.
That's what every reformer since WWII has promised. What happens is ... Congress.

I am not disagreeing with you, here. I hope all I am doing is describing what I have seen and learned from the inside.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 06:55 PM
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That's what every reformer since WWII has promised. What happens is ... Congress.

I am not disagreeing with you, here. I hope all I am doing is describing what I have seen and learned from the inside.
I've played on the inside too. I just kept hoping it would have changed in the 20 years since I left. Interesting part is the Military doesn't have much of that same problem, on the other hand they have fewer budget restrictions and most of what I worked on was in very non audited budgets.

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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 09:01 PM
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Let's talk about FEMA I wonder if the local representatives might be to blame, I know this is going to open a can of worms but I think that the local guys are more concerned with there image as a disaster savior than there job. the FEMA director in our county was asked to go to the Katrina site and help hose off the bodies of the dead and he refused. come on guys do your job and don't worry about your image. No offense to the hard working Fema workers.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2007, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Let's talk about FEMA I wonder if the local representatives might be to blame, I know this is going to open a can of worms but I think that the local guys are more concerned with there image as a disaster savior than there job. the FEMA director in our county was asked to go to the Katrina site and help hose off the bodies of the dead and he refused. come on guys do your job and don't worry about your image. No offense to the hard working Fema workers.
As conceived, FEMA was NOT a 1st response provider. It was planned as an agency in which representatives show-up at a declared federal disaster with a credit card to help the state and local authorities pay for what they needed. Also, FEMA can mobilize volunteers from other fed agencies. Fed volunteers sign-up in advance but can refuse a call. They get a temp pay grade increase and perdiem while they are working for FEMA. It keeps FEMA from having a huge bureaucracy that stands around twiddling thumbs waiting for a disaster. Instead, it has a few admin types and specialist-mgrs but fill-out the ranks from other agencies. FEMA has some oversight -- just because the local mayor says he needs a S500 doesn't mean he'll get on from FEMA. Also, FEMA has comparatively lax spending rules.

The theory is that strict budgetary oversight is too great a burden when citizens' lives and property is at stake. The result is that sometimes FEMA screws-up and spend money for things that in retrospect look silly or tragically wasteful. Congress determined that the risk was worth it. But that doesn't mean Congress wont second-guess FEMA! Congress (as usual) takes no responsibility for it's own legislation and heaps blame on everybody else. (I wish there was a body aside from Congress that could investigate Congress, but that's a subject for another time).

Right now, FEMA has the highest turn-over rate in the fed bureaucracy and they are having a very difficult time recruiting competent people. The FEMA folks I know are deeply unhappy with DHS -- a top-down bureaucracy that is nearly exactly the opposite of FEMA in design and philosophy.

For example (in the public record), NGA showed-up in NOLA with access to military & other remote sensing assets. But they could not, due to their own rules, share any useful information with state and local or uncleared fed rescuers. A reasonable person might ask, "If we can't use these assets to save lives of citizens, why the fuck do we have the god damned assets?" A local politician rounded-up a bunch of newsies and made that particular point but with a lot more colorful language. He then invited the feds to go somewhere where their uncooperative assistance would be more fully appreciated.

You tax dollars at work.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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