Tag Archives: FEMA

The moving finger writes and then moves on: NM Floodplain Managers Association

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Fairly weird.  I was websearching for Mike Czosnek, a guy I used to do some Lost Adams Diggings searching with, and came across something that rocked me back on my heels. 

New Mexico Floodplain Managers Association http://www.nmfma.org/content.aspx?page_id=0&club_id=920799

An egg I laid, nurtured, hatched, and promptly forgot as soon as my career ended in 1999.

When I assumed the job of State Floodplain Manager for the State of New Mexico in 1992 the state had a law on the books to allow localities to adopt ordinances regulating building in designated floodplain areas, and for the residents of those to buy federally sponsored flood insurance to cover their damages when the creek did what it would inevitably do.

Someone had screwed up when the law was passed and left in language that could be construed [by me] requiring that the locally designated floodplain managers be trained and registered or licensed by the State Floodplain Manager or Administrator.  All that happened 15 years before my arrival, and had lain dormant and unnoticed.  Nobody in New Mexico had a clue what they’d agreed to, what they were supposed to be doing. 

The reason I was hired for the job was that FEMA was losing patience.  I was mandated by my grant to audit the local programs, report to FEMA what they weren’t doing according to their federal agreement, and hassle them to death until they did it.

Lousy, lousy, lousy job I had for a while travelling around the state being ignored and tolerated barely.  Then I happened to study the statute and came up with the idea.  Started hassling the hell out of local governments about not having registered or licensed [by me] floodplain managers whom I could lay some heavy crap on if they didn’t do their jobs.

“How do they become licensed?”

“They have to go through training.  Take a test.  I do the training at the [non-existent Floodplain Managers Association meetings.  Your people will have to join.”

The cage took a lot of rattling, but 1993, 1994, I put together an organizational meeting in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Almost every participating community in New Mexico was represented.  Did some rudimentary training, had them adopt a constitution and by-laws, create officers [of which I refused to be one].

NM Floodplain Managers Association made my life a lot easier, reduced the amount of heckling and hassling I had to take from FEMA.  And became my primary training tool for the local communities.  Gradually got them training one another.

And my old buddy Mike Czosnek is still out there, treasurer of the damned thing.  Might have to stop in and see him when I get out that way.

Old Jules

Advertisements

Protecting the Aristocracy From Mutants, Muslims, Mormons and Malcontents

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

During almost a decade when most of my salary was paid by FEMA I used to have to go to FEMA Regional Headquarters every quarter for meetings with people doing the same job I was doing in New Mexico, but from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and hmm if there’s another state in this FEMA Region I can’t recall it at the moment.  But you get the idea. 

Fairly dreadful meetings and nowhere near as interesting as the weeks spent in the training center at Emmitsburg, MD, or the various other meetings in places where there were Civil War battlegrounds to drift off and walk around on studying how those poor bastards delt with their differences of opinion.

But that’s another story for another time.

The Regional meetings for Emergency Management people and Flood Plain Management people were held on the top floor of an amazing bunker complex at FEMA Region 6 Headquarters outside Denton, Texas.  A venal, truly hidebound lot of bureaucrats we were, too.  Although the worst of us was nowhere near as anal, ugly, downright arrogant as the FEMA people.

And that was before 9/11 and FEMA becoming a part of Homeland Security.  I hate to think how it must be today.

But what I wanted to tell you about is that bunker complex.  Damnedest thing I’ve ever beheld this side of Carlsbad Caverns if it was set up for the US Congress, the 82nd Airborne Division and MD Anderson Hospital were all planned to be housed inside it.  For a long, long while.

Just the parts I was allowed to visit and mull over were several stories underground and probably several acres diameter.  Above ground under all the festooning of antenna, cable and concrete was a pillbox so the people underground could go up and peek out to shoot the occasional mutant, malcontent, or just enjoy the sight of all the devastation.

The first level entryway was a hallway with sprinklers to wash off the radioactivity lingering on anyone going inside, along with slots to allow shooting anyone who didn’t use soap or wash long enough.  And just beyond that was a huge freezer for dragging the carcasses into of people who either got shot or didn’t get clear of the radiation quickly enough to avoid the blind staggers.

Nearby was a huge, amazing, pristine, empty hospital complex with supplies, stacked along the walls, equipment, tables, clean shining stainless steel waiting for some doctors to show up to treat any patients that might show up.

Next floor down was the ‘Continuity of Government’ facility.  A place designated for the Governors of all the Region 6 States, their staffs, their families to wait out whatever difficulties led to them being there.  Hallways with State Flags for each of the member States hung in front of entranceways to avoid Louisiana confusing itself with New Mexico.

An entire floor was devoted to warehousing food, water, all manner of supplies the people living down there would be consuming.  Another floor devoted to Security and Military personnel, along with their equipment and ammunition.  That floor also contained the communications equipment so’s they could talk to anyone who still was alive outside and able to speak English.  Or to whomever else was left out there with radio equipment still working.

And those were just the floors I was allowed to visit.  The FEMA folk hinted there was a lot more, winked knowingly, but wouldn’t discuss what was there.

Soothing thought, I found it, knowing the government had arranged for a place for all those folks I considered more important than regular people to get in out of the rain and keep doing whatever needed doing for the people outside with their eyeballs running down their faces and their flesh sloughing off.

I surely hope they’re still maintaining those bunkers.  I’d hate to think the politicos aren’t being looked after if something happens.

Old Jules