Hogan's Alley

Friday, December 23, 2005

FEMA Changes Doomed To Fail According To Brownie

The Washington Post has published a lengthy and very thorough look at the restructuring of FEMA and other Department of Homeland Security offices over the years leading up to Katrina. The facinating thing about the piece is the Michael Brown, the now-disgraced former head of FEMA, predicted in numerous internal memo long before this year, that this reorganization would render FEMA ineffective and unable to respond when necessary.

Brown's tragedy is that he was ineffective at working with his peers and was perceived as a man focused on empire building. This episode proves once again that leadership, either in or out of government, consists of developing a reputation as a person who is credible and wise and in not being seen as an asshole, which was part of Brown's problem. He was right, but who he was made other incapable of hearing his advice. Read the whole piece. It will be required reading at schools of public administration.