Saturday, April 01, 2006

Thanks, But No Thanks

"When I grow up I want to be an astronaut."
"I want to be president."
"I want to be director of FEMA."

Actually, you probably won't be hearing much of that last one. Especially from the nation's top disaster relief experts. It's been seven months since Hurricane Katrina ravaged both the Gulf Coast, and America's confidence in the government's ability to respond in an emergency. In that time, the Bush Administration has been offering the FEMA director's post, vacated in disgrace by Michael Brown, to several top disaster specialists. The responses have been cool at best. The director spot, and other top posts at FEMA are still held by acting and temporary appointees.

You really can't blame anyone for not wanting the job. It's a difficult spot to begin with, the kind of position where you're only noticed when something terrible happens. If everything goes swimmingly in response to an emergency hardly any national attention is paid to FEMA because that's how people expect things to go. If things go badly, or unimaginably badly as they did in the case of Katrina, well, then you're in some trouble. Even the fact that the ex-FEMA chief warned the President of the impending crisis in New Orleans has done little to mend Brown's bruised reputation in the eyes of the public.

If you're a disaster relief expert this probably isn't the administration you want to be working with. As they might say on monster.com, if you're interested in being George W. Bush's FEMA director, you might also be interested in the following exciting opportunities...

Iranian Director of Religious Tolerance and Multiculturalism.
Commissioner of the Belarus Board of Elections.
Director of the New Jersey Clean Air & Fresh Water Initiative.


FEMA Calls, but Top Job Is Tough Sell - New York Times

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