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Thread: FEMA question.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Default FEMA question.

    Didn't know where to put this, but I was watching an interview with former FEMA head Michael Brown and he commented that, as an appointee of the President, you sometime have to "fall on the sword for him". But I think his comment was that he was "pushed" onto the sword.
    And the infamous, "Brownie, you're doin' a heck of a job" comment by the President, Brown says that only one person has ever called him "Brownie".
    The President!
    Poor Michael.
    CR
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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    Didn't know where to put this, but I was watching an interview with former FEMA head Michael Brown and he commented that, as an appointee of the President, you sometime have to "fall on the sword for him". But I think his comment was that he was "pushed" onto the sword.
    And the infamous, "Brownie, you're doin' a heck of a job" comment by the President, Brown says that only one person has ever called him "Brownie".
    The President!
    Poor Michael.
    CR
    My opinion, as not to start a "crapstorm" from others on the forum...

    Michael Brown's only qualification to head FEMA was that he was contributor to Bush's campaign. Of course, if Al Gore or John Kerry had been elected, I am sure the same "qualifications" would have been factored into the appointment... the only difference between republicans and democrats is the side of the aisle they pick from!

    What the Feds need to do is set up criteria for important posts such as the head of FEMA (such as having "X" number of years experience in the emergency response field) and hire the best and the brightest. Criteria should should be based on the size of one's ability to do the job rather than the size of the person's checkbook and political connections!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    My opinion, as not to start a "crapstorm" from others on the forum...

    Michael Brown's only qualification to head FEMA was that he was contributor to Bush's campaign. Of course, if Al Gore or John Kerry had been elected, I am sure the same "qualifications" would have been factored into the appointment... the only difference between republicans and democrats is the side of the aisle they pick from!

    What the Feds need to do is set up criteria for important posts such as the head of FEMA (such as having "X" number of years experience in the emergency response field) and hire the best and the brightest. Criteria should should be based on the size of one's ability to do the job rather than the size of the person's checkbook and political connections!
    Cap, usually agree with you, and in general, I think you are right about political appointments. However, it is also true that Clinton, love him or hate him (and I know most people on here did not like him), he put FEMA as a priority and really pushed for it to be an efficient agency with an efficient leader. That being said, it doesn't follow that he didn't put his friends in other positions- it just means he put a capable leader at the helm of FEMA

    And respond to my PM already, will ya Cap?!

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    FEMA has a real problem, there was an article that came out shortly after Katrina that gave some of FEMA's history. FEMA was organized in the 70's to streamline and organize the governments response to emergencies. This meant bringing many agencies under the new agency (sort of like DHS), unfortunately this also crossed many committee lines in congress, of course no commitee wants to lose power and influence, as a result FEMA is burried under political appointees, they have 30-40 high level appointees in an agency with about 2000 employees. Can you imagine working at a medium sized city department where all the positions of BC up were filled with the buddies of the mayor? Its amazing FEMA can get anything done.

    Having the appointee come from the agency is possible, nearly all the Chief's of the US Forest Service have worked their way up through the organization, so it would not be unreasonable to require FEMA heads to come from the emergency services or disaster preparedness, but I'm not holding my breath for it to happen, that would mean the politicians would have to give up some power.

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    Default FEMA Question

    No matter who is at the helm, politics is going to be a component in FEMA. And I will stipulate that there is a difference between "Brownie" and James Lee Witt. Of course Katrina was an unprecedented and wide ranging event.

    Here is where we'll see politics effect FEMA now and in the future. Training and communications are going to be priorities in the 2006 AFG. Anybody getting apparatus through this grant process (if not a priority generally) will be those effected by Katrina, because FEMA (and DHS generally) got a real black-eye here and they still are getting political punches in the nose. Again a "political" reality. Add the political reality of an election year. Another political reality here is that you stand a far better chance of getting a DHS grant, if you are an oil firefighting subcontractor of Halliburton and you're either in Baghdad or Faluja.

    More examples of FEMA/DHS related politics are that 2006 AFG total awards and individual rewards will be less than 2005. In 2007 it is now proposed for these to be even less and SAFER to be eliminated.

    Now these comments may get me flamed, but this won't matter or change anything, because what I'm saying/showing here will be proven to be patently true and in the not too distant future, even for those who aren't informed already of the accuracy.

    In the meantime, instead of doing a lot of posting here, I'm doing what counts and is necessary. Namely, finding funding for fire departments, because we really can't count on the feds, and in some cases this means me making donations out of my own pocket, because most departments have about as much political clout to get grants, as they have the finances to get the equipment they need. I do this type of donating, because I know of many departments without political clout and finances, are trying to fight structure fires in bluejeans and with apparatus that leak more water than they pump.

    Another excellent example of this is a rural fire department (Mountain Park Volunteer Fire Department) in Oklahoma, who blew up the engine in their old tanker responding to the recent wildfires. They went to FEMA (in a declared disaster area), who denied them of getting even basic engine repairs, or to get another used tanker. The reason? Politics. If I had the chief's permission to post his e-mail to me, I would certainly do so.

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    as a result FEMA is burried under political appointees, they have 30-40 high level appointees in an agency with about 2000 employees...

    ..., so it would not be unreasonable to require FEMA heads to come from the emergency services or disaster preparedness, but I'm not holding my breath for it to happen, that would mean the politicians would have to give up some power.


    LOL...never mind the "career" politicians.

    Try appointing a Fire Chief to FEMA, the cops will scream "**** that!"

    Try appointing a Police Chief to head FEMA, the firefighters will scream "**** that!"

    Then the civil defense (neigh, "civil preparedness"...oh no, wait, "Emergency Management") will point out FEMA is a civil defense agency and they should be in charge. To which both the cops & firefighters will shout in unison "**** that!"

    Before you even start to do anything with them, you have to figure out what FEMA is.
    Is it supposed to be an agency that replaces state & local decision makers?
    Is it supposed to provide fire fighter training and maintain memorials?
    Is it supposed to provide planning and resource coordination?

    You probably have the makings for 4, 5, 6 seperate agencies currently under the FEMA umbrella with distinct roles and responsibilities that don't need to be under a single umbrella to function effectively.
    -- Disaster Hazard Assessment, Planning, and Rescue / Stabilization Response (basically the traditional Civil Defense roles)
    -- Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation / Post-Disaster Economic Recovery
    -- Flood Insurance
    -- USFA / National Fire Academy
    ????
    --

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    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    FEMA needs to return to its Cabinet Status, and those below the Sec can remain "professionals". We don't require the SecDef to be a retired general, DOD employee, or even a veteran. We don't make the Sec. of State work their way up the Foreign Service ladder, and we don't make the Sec of Interior work their way up from being park rangers or the Sec of Ag up from being a farmer or forest manager. These are political positions and they should be, you can fire a Cabinet Secretary for a screw up immediately, it takes a lot of work to get rid of a civil servent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    I am hearing that DOD will run the next big disaster, so why not give them the funding and eliminate FEMA all together?
    Since the public safety agencies STILL can't seem to play nice together, public safety leaders will be over looked for the guy who can "bridge" the different entities.
    OR, you simply say, "The Army is going to run things here at this disaster and remember; they have guns."
    I just don't know why it has to be layered in all of the BS.
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  9. #9
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    I am hearing that DOD will run the next big disaster, so why not give them the funding and eliminate FEMA all together?
    Since the public safety agencies STILL can't seem to play nice together, public safety leaders will be over looked for the guy who can "bridge" the different entities.
    OR, you simply say, "The Army is going to run things here at this disaster and remember; they have guns."
    I just don't know why it has to be layered in all of the BS.
    CR
    The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, too much law enforcement is involved in disasters for the Army to be in charge.

    The Radical-Right freaked out that Clinton would try it, now the far-Left has made noise about Bush's proposal of a few months ago.

    Blowing away the bad guys, and helping our good guys are two different things. The military could provide great lessons in logestics for such large scale missions, but they should not be the lead.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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