I hear he has experience...
September 26, 2005 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Thank goodness he landed on his feet!
Former FEMA director Michael Brown is being retained by the agency as a "consultant."
posted by jpburns (60 comments total)
 
Mmm, one link post to MSNBC. Can we try a -little- harder?
posted by fet at 4:19 PM on September 26, 2005


What became obvious in Brown's statements immediately after he was demoted and then he was fired when he resigned is that he was a little bit bitter. He hadn't yet gone completely off reservation, but he was not completely happy about being the fall guy, either.

What we have here, then, is hush money. Brown is being kept in the crony-fold in order to make it less likely that he gives a damning-beyond-repair expose to Newsweek or some such as revenge.
posted by teece at 4:20 PM on September 26, 2005


OK.

I was just too busy throwing up...
posted by jpburns at 4:21 PM on September 26, 2005


teece writes "Brown is being kept in the crony-fold in order to make it less likely that he gives a damning-beyond-repair expose to Newsweek or some such as revenge."

And in the event FEMA needs someone to do a heck of a job again, it is always nice to have a consultant on the subject matter already available.
posted by nkyad at 4:24 PM on September 26, 2005


He's the only one who knows how to work the copy machine?
posted by wfrgms at 4:31 PM on September 26, 2005


Do they really need a paid consultant in order to teach them how to utterly and completely fuck up their core task?

For less than what they're paying him, they can call me up every once in a while and I'll tell them to chill out and stay home. That's about as much expertise as Brownie proved himself capable of showing, isn't it?
posted by clevershark at 4:31 PM on September 26, 2005


This is my frigging government.
posted by VulcanMike at 4:32 PM on September 26, 2005


A shepherd was tending his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a dust cloud approached at high speed, out of which emerged a shiny silver BMW. The driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Ferragamo shoes, the latest Polarized sunglasses and a tightly knotted power tie, poked his head out the window and asked the shepherd, "Hey! If I can tell you how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"

The shepherd looked at the man, then glanced at his peacefully grazing flock and answered, "Sure."

The driver parked his car, plugged his microscopic cell phone into a laptop and briskly surfed to a GPS satellite navigation system on the Internet and initiated a remote body-heat scan of the area. While the computer was occupied, he sent some e-mail via his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, nodded solemnly at the responses. Finally, he printed a 150 page report on the little laser printer in his glove compartment, turned to the shepherd, waving the sheaves of paper, and pronounced “You have exactly 1,586 sheep."

"Impressive. One of my sheep is yours." said the shepherd.

He watched the young man select an animal and bundle it into his car. Then the shepherd said: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?"

Pleased to meet a fellow sportsman, the young man replied “You’re on.”

"You are a consultant." said the shepherd without hesitation.

"That's correct," said the young man, impressed. "How ever did you guess?"

"It wasn’t a guess," replied the shepherd. "You drive into my field uninvited. You ask me to pay you for information I already know, answer questions I haven’t asked, and you know nothing about my business. Now give me my back my dog."
posted by HuronBob at 4:33 PM on September 26, 2005


They're going to use him as a reverse playbook.

"Hey, Brownie! Whadda think we oughta do about this here disaster?"
"Nothing?"
"Okay guys, we need to do something about this."

Pretty clever, really.
posted by keswick at 4:34 PM on September 26, 2005


Don't you get it ? A fired public failure that manages to be rehired must have some powerful talent...so he's being rehired to teach his wisdom ; eventually if he's being rehired because of contractual reasons , he still had wisdom.

To top his magnificient success, taxpayers are going to pay him to teach how to get away with that and get paid by taxpayers !

Houdini is an amateur.
posted by elpapacito at 4:34 PM on September 26, 2005


This administration isn't about getting things done, it's about rewardings the Friends of Bush(tm). If they prove too outstandishly stupid and incompetent for the task, they can be dismissed or made to quit, but that doesn't mean that the gravy train ends there.
posted by clevershark at 4:40 PM on September 26, 2005



He's the only one who knows how to work the copy machine? Paper shredder. Sorry just seemed more appropriate.
posted by ReggieNoble2 at 4:40 PM on September 26, 2005


still doin' a heck of a job , brownie !
posted by mishaco at 4:43 PM on September 26, 2005


This just proves that George Bush cares about Brown people.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:46 PM on September 26, 2005


His bio is still posted at the FEMA website.
posted by ericb at 4:47 PM on September 26, 2005


WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
...

Nevermind, I know exactly what the fuck is going on.
posted by eriko at 4:48 PM on September 26, 2005


mr_crash_davis:

Thanks! I laughed out loud, literally.
posted by jpburns at 5:17 PM on September 26, 2005


Hey now, there's something very, very fishy about all of this.
posted by fenriq at 5:25 PM on September 26, 2005


Maybe I am misreading jpburns' link, but it seems like this is a temporary thing - like two weeks notice - and that he is shopping his resume around. Until this becomes a permanent position, I think the fact that he is still working for FEMA is irrelivent.

Now, the fact that he is helping report on where FEMA went wrong...
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:27 PM on September 26, 2005


Joey Michaels, the Associated Press report appears to back you up:
"Brown is continuing to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency at full pay, with his Sept. 12 resignation not taking effect for two more weeks, said Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke.

During that time, Brown will advise the department on 'some of his views on his experience with Katrina,' as he transitions out of his job, Knocke said."
posted by ericb at 5:33 PM on September 26, 2005


I'm not sure why he's not compelled to give this information as part of his exit. It would be, after all, a matter of national security.
posted by boo_radley at 5:35 PM on September 26, 2005


You're making a big think out of nothing. A face-saving consultant position wouldn't pay more than, oh, 150 grand or so.
posted by QuietDesperation at 5:35 PM on September 26, 2005


Now don't you all fell a little silly?
posted by Catfry at 5:38 PM on September 26, 2005


feel
posted by Catfry at 5:38 PM on September 26, 2005


Tomorrow, Mike "You're Doing a Heck of a Job" Brown[ie] testifies before a special House committee investigating the government's response to Katrina.
posted by ericb at 5:41 PM on September 26, 2005


It is all well and good to come up with the usual leftwing sneers but unfortunately you folks do not have an awareness of how a good system manages itself. Brown is hired so that when FEMA under the president undertakes an investigation of what went wrong, Brown, having been in charge, can tell us what he failed to do, and by so making clear how he failed at his job the investigation will be objective. Otherwise, we would have some know-nothings, brought in from OUTSIDE who would speculate as to what went wrong. Here we have an on-the-spot person to go on record.
posted by Postroad at 5:42 PM on September 26, 2005


He is the sacrificial lamb, the scapegoat. It will be interesting to see if there is ever a truly independent panel (ala the 9/11 commission) to investigate the debacle. I'm not holding my breath.
posted by ericb at 5:44 PM on September 26, 2005


...an on-the-spot person who didn't understand what was going on or what he was doing when it was happening, despite supposedly being in charge of the entire situation. Forgive me if I don't trust him to give an incisive and comprehensive answer now. Brown _is_ a know-nothing. I'd very definitely trust second-tier FEMA employees [the sort who weren't given their jobs as political boondoggles] and outside observers to give a better answer than he ever could.
posted by ubersturm at 5:50 PM on September 26, 2005


In keeping with appointing the most least qualified -- "Bush responds to women's health official's resignation by appointing a veterinarian."
posted by ericb at 5:52 PM on September 26, 2005


I like ponies. Ponies are pretty.
posted by ericb at 5:57 PM on September 26, 2005


Brown, having been in charge, can tell us what he failed to do

How much you wanna bet it's "nothing"?

Or were you being sarcastic?
posted by fungible at 5:59 PM on September 26, 2005


"Bush responds to women's health official's resignation by appointing a veterinarian."

Didn't the head of the FDA just step down? Maybe Bush can appoint a horse for that position. Or Hulk Hogan.
posted by tpl1212 at 6:01 PM on September 26, 2005




Well, from Google answers it would appear Mr. Brown pulled in 145k.

I would like to think he should be able to debrief his superiors as part of his exit rather than being paid as a consultant.

Further, I am submitting my resume as head of FEMA. At this point, I have a functioning left brain and a better resume than this political flunky. Although I would not want to work in DC, I would like to make a difference and be paid 145k a year.

Note: follow the link and you can find the salaries of many of the government officials.

On Preview: I now see a vet is now responsible for women's medicine in the United States. I will NOT be the one that tells my girlfriend this piece of glorious news.

Truly, at what point do we begin to wonder if a certain STD has gone on far too long untreated?
posted by fluffycreature at 6:08 PM on September 26, 2005


Didn't the head of the FDA just step down?

A-yup. Lester Crawford resigned. Andrew von Eschenbach is the temporary FDA commissioner -- dusting up some controversy as he "has committed to keeping his current job while running the FDA."
posted by ericb at 6:10 PM on September 26, 2005


In keeping with appointing the most least qualified -- "Bush responds to women's health official's resignation by appointing a veterinarian."
posted by ericb at 8:52 PM EST on September 26 [!]


Come in for an abortion, leave with a dog collar and leash around your neck. That sounds about right these days.
posted by Rothko at 6:12 PM on September 26, 2005


What we have here, then, is hush money.

I agree.
posted by caddis at 6:23 PM on September 26, 2005


Actually, Crawford was a veterinarian too, albeit one with a PhD in pharmacology.
posted by ltracey at 6:47 PM on September 26, 2005


Postroad: I'm still not sure why he's not compelled to give that testimony as part of a normal exit/ transition, rather than as a consultant.
posted by boo_radley at 6:48 PM on September 26, 2005


Remember Mr. Radley, Abu Gahraib was just about a few bad apples. Katrina was about a bad Brownie.
posted by caddis at 6:52 PM on September 26, 2005


"Otherwise, we would have some know-nothings, brought in from OUTSIDE "

I'd like to hear from these "know-nothings", if they are people who actually have experience in disaster relief and logistics.
As far as Brownstain goes, a subpoena is all we need to haul that slime before a committee.
posted by 2sheets at 7:02 PM on September 26, 2005


What information would he have? What he didn't do? We know all that. He's the only one that doesn't know what he was supposed to do.

Hush money it is.
posted by destro at 8:46 PM on September 26, 2005


It's not hush money if everyone keeps talking about it.
Then it's real live bribing for silence.
posted by Balisong at 10:03 PM on September 26, 2005


destro, it's not what he doesn't do, it's how he doesn't do it, that makes him the expert.
posted by soyjoy at 10:31 PM on September 26, 2005


To paraphrase the British series Yes, Prime Minister: An inquiry is not to make things clear, it is to put oneself in the clear.
posted by Gyan at 12:56 AM on September 27, 2005


"(Brownie You're Doing a) Heck of a Job" (MP3, warning: Harry Shearer)
posted by planetkyoto at 6:06 AM on September 27, 2005


Brown is hired so that when FEMA under the president undertakes an investigation of what went wrong, Brown, having been in charge, can tell us what he failed to do, and by so making clear how he failed at his job the investigation will be objective.

Along the same lines we could have an accountant firm hiring an embezzler to tell them how he got away with the funds, a school district hiring a pedophile to tell them how he got alone with the kids and a hospital hiring a serial killer to tell them how he ended the life of 12 people.

Just kidding.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:22 AM on September 27, 2005


Well, so far he's been blaming Nagin and Blanco again so I guess that's going to be the FEMA bleat on this, "Not our fault, its those other people's fault, yep, but we're not going to play the blame game, nosirreebob, not us. PS Nagin and Blanco did it, in fact, I heard Nagin was kicking dirt on one of the levees three weeks before Katrina so that totally makes it all his fault because I, Mike Brown, had never even heard of a levee before they breached and flooded an entire city. And I heard a rumor that there are still people at the Astrodome, can CNN send a crew over to check it out and get back to me in a few days? Thanks."

Heck of a job you've got, Brownie. Must be tiring to keep trying to shift that massive burden of the blame around.
posted by fenriq at 10:27 AM on September 27, 2005


Brown Blames HorsesAss.org
"While FEMA was trying to respond to probably the largest natural disaster in the history of this country, a catastrophic disaster that the president has described covering an area the size of Great Britain — I have heard 90,000 square miles — unless you have been there and seen it, you don’t realize exactly how bad and how big it was — but in the middle of trying to respond to that, FEMA’s press office became bombarded with requests to respond immediately to false statements about my resume and my background.

Ironically, it started with an organization called horsesass.org, that on some blog published a false, and, frankly, in my opinion, defamatory statement that the media just continued to repeat over and over. Next, one national magazine not only defamed me, but my alma mater, the Oklahoma City University School of Law, in one sentence alone leveling six false charges....But I guess it’s the media’s job. But I don’t like it. I think it’s false. It came at the wrong time. And I think it led potentially to me being pulled out of Louisiana because it made me somewhat ineffective."
posted by ericb at 10:38 AM on September 27, 2005


" 'I'm happy you left,'said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn. 'That kind of look in the lights like a deer tells me you weren't capable of doing that job.'

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., told Brown: 'The disconnect was, people thought there was some federal expertise out there. There wasn't. Not from you.' " [Associated Press | September 27, 2005]
posted by ericb at 10:41 AM on September 27, 2005


FEMA head's equine past contentious
"'He took on a job in an industry he knew nothing about. To me, it made no sense to bring in someone who knew nothing,' said [Janice McCrea] Wight, [president of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona]" [The Arizona Republic | September 27, 2005].
Sound familiar?
posted by ericb at 10:53 AM on September 27, 2005


Joey Michaels, the Associated Press report appears to back you up

Okey-dokey, I chalk the AP article to be reporting the "official spin" that Mike Brown had two-week notice.

CNN just reported that they have learned that Brown will be consulting for a month -- and that his fee is in keeping with his $145,600 salary range.

Boy, this goes against Brown's own statement of resignation:
"Today I resigned as Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As I told the President, it is important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA."
posted by ericb at 11:22 AM on September 27, 2005


What Can Brown Do For You?
posted by fandango_matt at 3:41 PM on September 27, 2005


If you want to get even more frustrated, tune into some of his testimony as it replays on CSPAN this week. WEASEL.
posted by VulcanMike at 3:51 PM on September 27, 2005


Brown Falsely Smears Blanco Under Oath
posted by ericb at 4:36 PM on September 27, 2005


Brown’s Revisionist History
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on September 27, 2005


What exactly went wrong in New Orleans? I see Halliburton was awarded another no-bid million dollar contract to clean up the mess and friendly developers of GWB will now be able to make New Orleans the Sun City resort they've always dreamed it should be. I can hear the Harumphing from here, and all they had to do is throw Brownie to the wolves to save their phony balony jobs. It's just too easy.
posted by any major dude at 7:57 PM on September 27, 2005


they're saying he's the one who leaked Bush's drinking to the Enquirer as revenge for getting fired and being made the fallguy.
posted by amberglow at 8:33 PM on September 27, 2005




It sure would be better to have a better source on that than a link to a blog referring to a chat with an unnamed other blogger about an anonymous source at a scandal rag.

Not saying I don't believe it - I just wish there were a better source.
posted by soyjoy at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2005


FEMA's Brown Was Warned Early of Shortages
"Former FEMA director Michael Brown was warned weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit that his agency's backlogged computer systems could delay supplies and put personnel at risk during an emergency, according to an audit released Wednesday.

An internal review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's information-sharing system shows it was overwhelmed during the 2004 hurricane season. The audit was released a day after Brown vehemently defended FEMA for the government's dismal response to Katrina, instead blaming state and local officials for poor planning and chaos during the Aug. 29 storm and subsequent flooding.

The review by Homeland Security Department acting Inspector General Richard L. Skinner examined FEMA's response to four major hurricanes and a tropical storm that hit Florida and the Gulf Coast in August and September 2004. It noted FEMA's mission during disasters as rapid response and coordinating efforts among federal, state and local authorities.

'However, FEMA's systems do not support effective or efficient coordination of deployment operations because there is no sharing of information,' the audit found. 'Consequently, this created operational inefficiencies and hindered the delivery of essential disaster response and recovery services,' it said.

...In an Aug. 3 response, Brown and one of his deputies rejected the audit, calling it unacceptable, erroneous and negative.

'The overall tone of the report is negative,' wrote FEMA chief information officer Barry C. West in an Aug. 3 letter that Brown initialed." [Associated Press | September 28, 2005]
posted by ericb at 9:01 PM on September 28, 2005


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