I have a little experience (on a much smaller scale) with government contracting. It’s a mess!
It really doesn’t surprise me at all that FEMA contractors are failing to live up to their end of the bargain, but that’s not really what I’m looking at here.
This entire story just exposes another weakness inherent to FEMA and other government agencies. They’re totally reliant upon contractors to complete their mission.
If there is any kind of large-scale catastrophe in the United States, it will affect the contractors as well as you and me. If they can’t do their job when they’re at 100% do you think they’ll be able to do it when they’re struggling to recover their own homes and protect their own families?
The answer is no.
This isn’t news to most of us but hopefully, it opens someone’s eyes who is on the fence or new to prepping.
A contractor facing acrid backlash over a scathing report detailing the delivery of just 50,000 of a promised 30 million self-heating meals to desperate Puerto Ricans recovering from Hurricane Maria has now come forward to defend her actions.
One look at the contractual obligation versus what actually made it to hungry, struggling Puerto Ricans, however, speaks far more to a lack of business acumen — or even gross incompetence — rather than defeating circumstances beyond Brown’s control.
In fact, as the New York Times disclosed, Brown and Tribute Contracting LLC had no prior experience managing large-scale disasters — a mitigating detail apparently insufficient to cause the Federal Emergency Management Agency to question whether or not the business could handle the colossal task of delivering millions of meals rapidly to Maria victims — landing the $156 million contract for 30 million ready-to-eat meals at $5.10 each, to be delivered by October 23, in spite of that and other conspicuous matters.
According to the Times, Brown, who indeed had experience navigating labyrinthian government bureaucracy, approached an Atlanta wedding caterer with an eleven-member staff to “freeze-dry wild mushrooms and rice, chicken and rice, and vegetable soup. She found a nonprofit in Texas that had shipped food aid overseas and domestically, including to a Houston food bank after Hurricane Harvey.
“By the time 18.5 million meals were due, Tribute had delivered only 50,000. And FEMA inspectors discovered a problem: The food had been packaged separately from the pouches used to heat them. FEMA’s solicitation required ‘self-heating meals.’”
Stunned FEMA official in charge of contracting, Carolyn Ward, penned an email to Brown dated October 19 — which she shared with the Times — admonishing in no uncertain terms,
“Do not ship another meal. Your contract is terminated. This is a logistical nightmare.”
thumbnail courtesy of themindunleashed.com
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Additional reading: The Emotional Effects of a Collapse: How It Feels to be a Survivor