Your editorial of June 2005 was so “on the money” I felt like I wrote it myself. I have made it mandatory reading for my employees and submitted an “FYI” copy to our Board of County Commissioners.
I hope someone else recognizes the fallacy of sending our community tax dollars to the Feds only to have to wait for them to hand it back to us as “grants” to build the facilities we deem necessary. That is, after they chunk out a portion for their needs, then distribute the remainder amongst the states, who take their cut before we get the dregs at the local level.
Just one correction. Whereas our public officials may be quick to absorb credit when a project is successful, I have never seen one take the blame when things go wrong.
— José R. Deliz, P. E., director of engineering services, Nassau County, Fla.
I wanted to applaud the article “Weathering the storm” by Laurence Letellier in May PUBLIC WORKS (page 22). Letellier's experiences responding to the hurricanes that pounded Florida last year contain vital lessons for all of us. Public works plays an essential role in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery and needs to know what to do to be ready.
This past year our county survived flooding as well as a wildland fire. One of the key lessons we learned was the importance of cost management—that is, having a simple system in place to keep track of ordinary and extraordinary time and material costs incurred during the incident response. Because of our cost accounting system, we had detailed reports for our department's expenditures on the fire as well as the flood. When FEMA came in asking about our costs we were able to generate the reports they needed in less than 20 minutes.
We heard that things did not go so smoothly in our neighboring counties, and that they may not receive as full a federal reimbursement as a result.
Thanks for continuing to keep your eye on the ball with the article.
— Rob Chesley, superintendent of the Graham County, Ariz., Highway Department