Stephen Barr, who writes the Federal Diary column for the Washington Post, had an interesting article yesterday on Fixing FEMA, discussing the relevance of pre-Katrina reviews of the agency (such as OMB’s PART reviews; the FY 2006 PART assessment of FEMA is found in this document) to their performance during Hurricane Katrina. The column finds that these reviews left some clear warning signs about FEMA’s performance.
Barr’s conclusion to the piece:
But capable leadership may be more important to FEMA than program reviews and management scorecards.
The key to successful programs, [OMB official Robert] Shea said, begins with White House officials and Cabinet heads committed to improvements and to holding agency heads accountable for progress.
“A process alone gets you nothing,” he said. With post-Katrina FEMA, Shea said, “what you have now is information that can help you devise a better plan to achieve your goal, since you’ve fallen short.”