Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Post Katrina: There's still no substitute for competence.


African American Political Pundit says: Here is one of the best editorials regarding Katrina lessons learned. It's too bad our Federal Government does not get it. What do you think? To the left is a photo of FEMA mobile homes in Arkansas that, because of its own regulations, cannot be used in flood plains. $900 million of Federal tax payer waste.


The Washington Post says:

The important post-Katrina lesson is not about less vs. more government, or about the government's organizational chart. It is about competence and leadership. The initial response to the storm was bungled, with New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin being slow to order an evacuation and the federal government slow to step in with assistance. Even more shockingly, the realization of the full scale of the crisis did not improve the quality of government decisions. FEMA spent $900 million on mobile homes that, because of its own regulations, cannot be used in flood plains. A Senate report has estimated that the agency allowed an additional $2 billion to disappear in fraud and abuse. Bureaucracy has slowed progress repeatedly. Of the $110 billion appropriated for rebuilding and assistance to victims, only $44 billion has been spent.

This is a lesson in the danger of entrusting the emergency management agency to political loyalists rather than experts. It is a danger that exists quite independently of whether or not FEMA is part of a larger department: During the 1980s the agency was stuffed with political appointees with dubious credentials, which explains why its response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was similarly incompetent. In the wake of that disaster, the agency was overhauled, and another wave of reform is in the works: The Bush administration has appointed a new boss for the agency; it has installed new communications and logistical systems; and it has worked on prepositioning relief supplies in disaster-prone areas.

The test will be whether this and future administrations sustain this new seriousness -- or whether the old complacency returns. That in turn will depend on whether there is more leadership than Mr. Bush provided in the first year, and a greater sense of urgency.


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home