Disaster Zone

Challenging Days Ahead for Brock Long

He should hope for little contact with the president.

by Eric Holdeman / June 15, 2017

The week that Brock Long was before a congressional confirmation hearing, "other things" in Washington, D.C., held our nation's attention. Evidently he didn't screw up too badly or it would have made the news. 

Assuming that he will now be confirmed by the entire Senate and sworn in as FEMA administrator, he has two things to look forward to. 1) Working for DHS Secretary John Kelly, which, as I've written about before, should be something good. People don't leave jobs, they leave bosses, and it appears to me that Secretary Kelly will be a good boss to work for.

The more challenging aspect of his job will be "putting a bell on the cat" known as President Trump. No one else, including his White House staff, has been successful in doing it, so I expect he won't be able to accomplish it either.

All politicians do this to one extent or another when they come and visit a disaster area. They will say things like, "This is terrible, the destruction to property and the injuries and death caused by this disaster. I want to assure you that we will not rest until we restore your lives to what they were before. Your government is here for you and we will be here into the future. If there is anything you need, just let FEMA know and I'll make sure we cut through all the "Red Tape" to make it happen." Even President Obama who was known to parse his words carefully was guilty of speaking in this manner.

Now, imagine President Trump coming on scene, post disaster, and making pronouncements about things for which he has no knowledge of. Yikes, Brock Long! Good luck applying the laws on the books that guide financial assistance and fulfilling everything the president has promised. 

I keep hearing via different sources that the current administration is having trouble recruiting people to fill the political appointments that need new faces in the spaces that are currently vacant. As you go lower in the gene pool, you are sure to find someone who wants the title, but what will that do to the quality of the leadership in our federal departments? Time will tell!