Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Some More Unrescue News

You might be glad to learn that contractors interested in post-disaster jobs don't have to worry about open bidding:

The vast majority of emergency contracts are being awarded outside of the centralized posting system that is normally required. Indeed, on its home page, FedBizOpps states, "Due to the immediacy of emergency opportunities, it is unlikely that opportunities dealing with the hurricanes will be advertised through the FedBizOpps system."

Understandable, perhaps. But which firms will be informed about these opportunities? And what prices will be set? Who monitors this? Anyone?

Then there is the internal FEMA memo which according to Josh Marshall shows that:

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to "convey a positive image" about the government's response for victims. Before then, FEMA had positioned smaller rescue and communications teams across the Gulf Coast. But officials acknowledged Tuesday the first department-wide appeal for help came only as the storm raged."

Michael Brown isn't the only FEMA director without any relevant work experience. It turns out that his number three is equally inexperienced:

Before joining FEMA in 2001, Brown, a protege of longtime Bush aide Joseph Allbaugh, was commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association and had virtually no experience in disaster management.

An official biography of Brown's top aide, acting deputy director Patrick Rhode, doesn't list any disaster relief experience.

The department's No. 3 official, acting deputy chief of staff Brooks Altshuler, also does not have emergency management experience, according to FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule.

Scott Morris, who had been the agency's third in command until May, also lacked a background in disaster preparedness, according to his official FEMA biography.