A Rethink to Rescue Relief Efforts

An article by Gianfranco Zaccai. Interesting read.

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/oct2005/id20051010_798975.htm

Personally I am concerned with the issue of government (any nation) agencies’ lack of ability to recognize the right people for the right job. Sure it’s not a profit driven organization and there probably isn’t the talent/resource to interview and select individuals like how a coperate can, all the more they should begin to learn what people are actually doing out there.

In the case of disaster relief, I am sure that FEMA has outlined a set of procedures backed by the professionals and specialists. However, it isn’t really working. Putting politics aside, they need to understand their “customers” better to gain their trust. Afterall, a government is a service provider. The main deliverable is through interaction and communication with the people. Now how much of that do they actually do? I think perhaps there should be an experimental project of commercializing government agencies to raise the bar.

A few quick thoughts:

  1. The government has been through this same scandal before. President James Garfield was assassinated by a person that had worked on his campaign. The worker thought that his connection to Garfield guarenteed him a post in the new administration. That thought was not without precedent, as most government jobs were doled out to party supporters even at that time.

After Garfield’s death, both parties realized the danger of spoils system. They passed the civil service reform act, which improved the situation.

Bush, as has been shown, has reverted back to the spoils system. Bush has appointed far more friends, supporters and party men than Clinton, or Bush I. This time, no one seems to accept the problem exists, so I doubt any attempt at reform will be made.

  1. Remember King George II’s background. MBA from Harvard, and a number of impressive business failures. This president IS from the private sector. He has brought the way he has done business to the White House. That is, using his personal connections to get things done.

I would love to say that in the business world, cold logical business people hire and promote only those people qualified. Let’s be honest, that’s far from the truth. Commercialization would just transfer the problem to a different bureaucracy.