Michael: Who's in charge of FEMA in Arizona?It wasn’t long ago that the black helicopter crowd had a special place in their paranoid fantasies for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA was supposed to be the secretive government within the government that would assume dictatorial powers upon the advent of some manufactured crisis, setting in train the end of American democracy and constitutional government. There was even a great computer game, Deux Ex, based on the premise that FEMA lay at the center of a globalist conspiracy to dominate the world.
Now Americans have found out that far from being a secret cabal of uber-mensch, FEMA can barely tie their own shoes without dithering over whether the rabbit should first go through the hole or around the tree. Of course, conspiracy is the gift that keeps on giving, and even if FEMA is incompetent, there can be a nice conspiracy behind their failures, too.
But conspiracies and secret executive orders aside, Katrina makes it very clear that it really matters to citizens who is running the show at FEMA when the excrement hits the rotary atmospheric agitator. So who runs FEMA here in Arizona?
FEMA is split into regional directorships. Arizona is part of Region IX. Region IX embraces the States of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada; and the Territory of American Samoa, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. It is one of the largest territorial jurisdictions in the United States. The Region is currently managed by Acting Regional Director Karen E. Armes.
Before joining FEMA, Ms. Armes was director of the Business Management Department of the Navy Finance Center in San Francisco, a position assigned to her after the capitalization of the data automation centers by the Defense Information System Agency in 1994. Prior to that, she had served more than 10 years with that organization being promoted from budget analyst to the director of the Budget and Accounting Division and then director of the Management Support Division. She began there in 1982 as a NAVCOMPT financial management trainee.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being a bean-counter. Bean-counting is a noble and necessary calling. But I question the wisdom of having one directing an agency which is supposed to be the action figure of federal agencies. I don’t want some political hack bean-counter running a cost-benefit analysis of whether my liberal hide is worth pulling from under the rubble.
Ms. Armes holds a bachelor of science degree in recreation administration from Radford University, Va. She has also completed graduate courses in business administration at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. During the next tsunami is Ms. Armes going to organize synchronized swim teams?
Perhaps I’m being unfair. It is always possible that a person has grown into their job and picked up skills by applying them in the real world. I am willing to let Ms. Armes speak for herself on how she would handle a crisis in her region. Let’s listen in on a recent radio interview (Windows Media) in which Ms. Armes is asked about emergency management and how her branch of FEMA would perform.
Just one interesting snippet of a very enlightening interview:
Interviewer: How complicated is it, for example, to drop bottles of water on to the sidewalk outside the Convention Center?
Ms. Armes: I’m afraid I don’t… that’s not my specialty.
That’s not her specialty? What the hell is she doing running the show if delivering emergency relief to victims of disaster is not her specialty? The complete inability of Mrs. Armes to answer the simplest and most obvious questions about the duties of her agency in times of crisis with anything other than meaningless stock phrases of bureaucratese, means just one thing to me: I’m going to have to take a Halcyon to sleep soundly tonight.
Contact your Congresscritters and get this bean-counting, platitude-mouthing, PE coach out of this vital post on whom the safety of your family and community relies in extremis.