Today I attended a presentation by the New England Fishery Management Council at city hall where we discussed the recent review of their approach to management conducted by an outside consulting firm, the Touchstone group. Eric Schwab moderated the discussion as a representative of NOAA, which we are apparently referring to as the ‘agency’ from now on.
Let me begin by saying that Eric Schwab was wearing a nice suit; he was clearly well-spoken; and he knew the approach to best handle any ‘difficult’ situation. Truly a professional, Mr. Schwab receives payment from the American taxpayer to stroke his chin and nod while pretending to give a shit about what people are saying. He then will deftly turn the topic to how the ‘agency’ is solving that very problem in one of the many make-believe phases it is initiating. Who will be monitoring and analyzing the successes or failures of these ‘phases’? Well shit on a shingle wouldn’t you know it? Touchstone.
Now, the representative from Touchstone (whose name I can’t fully remember because I was still in shock from realizing that they were responsible for the eighth grade power point I was reading) was also wearing a nice suit; was well spoken; and came down hard on the NEFMC and the agency. To say that I could have written their report while sitting in my car waiting to go into the building would be an understatement. It used big words to describe steps that could apply to any organization of any kind in the world. Well done Touchstone…are you hiring?
I shutter to think about the money changing hands for this review. However, given that some of the problems identified by Touchstone included: Redundancy; a need for simplification of governance; maximizing collaboration; and, wait for it, conduct several comprehensive analysisesi (someone tell me what the hell the plural is for analysis is) of different program implementations (again, which ol’ Schwabby said would also be conducted by Touchstone).
Now, I’m no rocket scientist. But don’t some of these problems seem like they may be a result of an agency that has grown to large to control? An agency that, despite managing a shrinking fishing fleet, has been on a hiring spree. An agency that has built new buildings, boats and science centers while fishermen are forced to sell out to the highest bidders. And how do we identify problems within? Hire more folks to restate the obvious as long as it doesn’t mean we have to get off of the gravy train.
Well, relax Eric. You can rest assured that no agency jobs will be lost. And with a little tongue work you might even be able to sell the idea that the fisherman haven’t stepped up to do their part.
This picture…completely unrelated.