Thursday, May 27, 2010

Recovery Division of FEMA Reorganized Effective June 1, 2010

Okay How many reorganizations have taken place in FEMA. When pressed by Congressional staff and CRS staff to indicate a number for the years 1979-2003 I finally coughed up the number 54 for various reorganizations, realignments, reporting changes etc. It should be noted that unlike the situation today, the Directors of FEMA in the past had absolute authority to reorganize FEMA. The major ones occurred in September 1981 designed largely by Associate Director Charles Girard and to some degree that reorganization lasted until James Lee Witt's major reorganization of FEMA on November 1, 1993. In 1985 I met a person who worked in the US Fire Administration, an organization zero budgeted twice in the first Reagan Administration largely at the behest of a disgruntled Fire Adminstration and Control employee who became significant in the REAGAN era but was not part of USFA under President Carter. Another person who is linked to FEMA history is the distinguished civil servant and appointee Ralph Bledsoe who became a WH official under Ronald Reagan and then Deputy Archivist of the United States, and I believe still runs the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. Then of course there were modifications to FEMA's organization made by the BUSH appointees, in particular Joseph Allbaugh in summer 2001. Now I would argue there is almost a statutory organization chart for FEMA but still the administrator can reorganize below the Assistant or Deputy Adminstrator [there are two of these--Manning and Serino] which apparently has been done several times. Also the Chief Counsel of FEMA has announced a reorganization of the Office of the Chief Counsel announcing proudly that it is the first reorganization in 15 years while I think not. But hey who is counting.

At any rate anyone wanting the new org charts please request from me! Only the test of time will indicate whether these changes were substantive or otherwise.

Okay since FEMA has been in DHS I count over 11 reorganizations, realignments or reporting changes of significance. Probably the most important was Chertoff's 2SR changes, approved with a wave of the hand by Congress and then totally invalidated by PKEMA 2006. Of course in the meantime, the first and only DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Preparedness, George Foresman, came and left. His tenure was not without significance and lasted from December 2005 until March 31, 2007. More on that later.