Posts tagged ‘Agency So’

Government Agencies Have An Almost Pathological Need To Not Admit Error, No Matter How Trivial

When we operate public campgrounds, we are generally self-sufficient and can do most everything we need to do without any interaction from the government agency.  However, our contract or operating permits require that we submit and get approved an annual operating plan and a couple of other financial agreements.  Most of this is relatively pro forma because we start with the documents from the previous year and things just don't change that fast.

Last year, we had a number of areas where this did not happen.  The agencies we worked with were convulsed with staff shortages and organizational changes that meant that in many cases, there simply was nobody in the key positions that would do these tasks.

So this year, at least two of these locations have gotten staffed up and we have had good early contact with the key agency people.  However, in both cases, instead of saying something like "sorry about the poor response last year, but we had our staff transferred and then were caught short by the Trump hiring freeze which prevented us from filling these open positions for a long time", I get conversations like this:

Agency:  You did not get your operating plan completed last year.  You have a contractual requirement to get this done.  You need to do a better job this year.

Me:  Uh, I submitted the draft operating plan to your office on multiple occasions and never had a response.  Here are copies of at least 12 emails and letters with me begging for a response on our draft plan submission.

Agency:  So hopefully you can do a better job this year.

Update:  Here is my update as to why I think this happens.  Hint:  it is not because government people are bad, it is because they are normal people with bad incentives.