Friday, July 10, 2009

In High Gear

The pace at work has hit high subsonic speeds over the past couple of weeks. We were anticipating this might happen and it has. Basically, the Corps of Engineers does lots of construction and other projects all over the country. We have several organizations that we work closely with, primarily the State Department and a few military commands. Two of these primary customers suddenly want to throw a lot of projects our way. So we're scrambling, trying to take care of both of them, make sure they get what they need, balance out the priorities, and get this huge logjam of work through the system and out the door. Your intrepid reporter is playing a role in that, mostly flailing around noisily without much effect.

What's funny is that the two customers are so different. One of them just had a change in leadership. The previous person in charge was a bit, shall we say, "flighty". It was, "We're going to do this." A day later, "who told you that? We're doing something else!" Another day, "No, it's always been this one plan". Their direction kept changing faster than a pinball. Very difficult to work with. However, that individual is now gone and the new leadership is 180 degrees different. She's a very decisive woman who clearly understands what she intends to do. We had several projects that were sitting on the shelf waiting for some kind of decision from the previous leadership - we dusted them off, presented them to her, and she made up her mind right there that we'd do them. Cool! So we're off and running on some very worthwhile programs. They'll help Iraqi government officials do their jobs better. Your tax dollars will be well spent.

The other customer? Quite different. It almost seems as if the individual in charge is trying to come up with as many roadblocks as possible. I don't understand it - if your job is to get as many good projects completed as possible, I would think that you'd be doing everything in your power to make it happen. In fact, it's the opposite. We know how to do the projects on their list - we've done a gazillion of them already, and none of their proposals are difficult. But we need to get them soon, because after a certain date, the money goes away. Meanwhile, the individual in charge is coming up with one new monkey wrench after another. It's as if they know they're not going to succeed, so they're trying to come up with an excuse - "hey, we tried, but the Corps just couldn't do it!" It's sad to see, because the proposed projects would do a lot to improve essential government services - things like delivering electricity and water, enhancing security in some key areas, that sort of thing. I just don't see very many of them getting done under the current leadership.

Oh, well, that's just me grousing. Been a long day. On the positive side, we had some kick-butt burgers last night. Today was a beautiful day, nice and clear, with no orange dust blowing in through my air conditioner. And right now it's 11 pm and still 100 degrees outside.

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