Saturday, September 03, 2005

"supervision failures"

The Boston Herald asks some questions about how FEMA administrator Brown was pushed from his last job:
Brown - formerly an estates and family lawyer - this week has has made several shocking public admissions, including interviews where he suggested FEMA was unaware of the misery and desperation of refugees stranded at the New Orleans convention center.

Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado.

``We do disciplinary actions, certification of (show trial) judges. We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards. And we keep records,'' explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner's office. ``This was his full-time job . . . for 11 years,'' she added.

Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.
``He was asked to resign,'' Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night.
Soon after, Brown was invited to join the administration by his old Oklahoma college roommate Joseph Allbaugh, the previous head of FEMA until he quit in 2003 to work for the president's re-election campaign.
I remember people pointing out how odd it was that the FEMA chief was going to be this lawyer out of Colorado, but no one really did anything at the time because, on the scale of patronage, FEMA seemed a lot less important than the UN Ambassador, Attorney General and other, higher profile, positions.

Obviously, this was a mistake. This is a post where supervision failures are unacceptable.

FEMA doesn't make policy. There are legitimate differences about policy. Supervising the planning process for a disaster isn't policy, it's just hard work. One has to wonder if Mr. Brown is up to the task, or if he ever was.