Monday, October 10, 2005

Harry Hopkins, Harold Ickes, and Federal Procurement

Stan Soloway writes in the Oct 1, 2005 issue of Government Executive in a essay titled Baghdad's Lessons for New Orleans (I only have this hardcopy and can't link an online source other than the contents) on how,
Iraq offers a stark example of how crticism of procurement practices can become surrogates for political disagreement. Let's be hones. While there certainly were significant procurement errors in Iraq, there is no evidence of widespread intentional malfaeasance or fraud. in fact, there is not question that good portio of the controversy surrounding Iraq contracting was driven by opposition to the Bush administration's policies and further energized by the 2004 presidential campaing. As a result, we hear repeatedly that the federal acquisition corps supporting operations in Iraq feels unsupported and highly vulnerable, and thus officials are increasingly afraid to make decisions let alone mistakes.
Soloway warns the lesson for New Orleans is "During this recover, there will be times when soem traditional procurement and oversight expectations simply cannot be met.

Democrats need to look back at the great fights between FDRs Harry Hopkins (picture above), Grinnell College class of 1910, and Harold Ickes over the pace of spending to overcome the depression. Hopkins was the Spender. Ickes was the green-eye shade stickler for procurement regulations.

I believe one of the failures in Iraq will be we had too many Ickes running reconstruction and not enough Harrry Hopkins. It's largely the fault of the Democrats that that happened. It ought not be repeated in reconstruction of New Orleans.

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