FEMA drops staffing timeline

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has no idea when it will be fully staffed, director R. David Paulison said Friday.

The agency has repeatedly pushed back deadlines it set for itself to meet a 95 percent staffing level, originally setting a mid-May goal, and later pushing that back to June 1, then again to July.

FEMA has about 85 percent of the workers it intends to hire now, Paulison said, which was the same percentage given last month.

FEMA, along with the rest of the Department of Homeland Security, has been plagued by senior level vacancies, which FEMA has filled by promoting from within, further exacerbating the staffing problems. And the chief human capital officer at DHS, K. Gregg Prillaman, has recently resigned.

“We’re going to make sure our front office is full of people who know what they’re doing,” [Paulison] said. “It’s been slower than I wanted it to be.”

“One thing that the Department of Homeland Security has kept consistent is its inability to be straightforward,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the [House Homeland Security Committee’s] ranking member. “We really have a case of ‘FEMA gone wild’ over there, if leaders can’t even give us a straight answer on how many people are on staff and when we will have an effective fully staffed FEMA.” — Government Executive

How about “probably never”? With DHS morale the lowest of any government agency, and managers leaving as fast as they can, do you really think they are going to be particularly effective when the excrement hits the ventilator?

The best person to handle your emergency preparedness is you. Sure, FEMA can give you good advice, like what to pack in case you have to evacuate, but in the end, if you think government is going to swoop in and save the day, prepare to be sorely disappointed.

P.S. Duct tape really is useful stuff. Keep some around.

One thought on “FEMA drops staffing timeline

  • June 18, 2006 at 5:14 am

    Could FEMA get any more clueless? This is what happens when you put political appointees at the top of the agency.

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