This document was downloaded and archived from  on May 28, 2001.

  Daily Briefing  

March 28, 2000 

Agencies should follow FEMA's lead,
scholar says 

By Katy Saldarini

The once-ridiculed Federal Emergency
Management Agency has transformed itself
into an organization worthy of imitation,
according to a report due to be released this

Jerry Ellig, a senior research fellow at George
Mason University's Mercatus Center, wrote the
report as part of the center's public sector
leadership project. The project shines a light
on successful federal agencies in order to glean
lessons on performance improvement. The
Mercatus Center works with government
leaders and scholars to help put academic
theory into practice.

"Lawmakers who once talked of abolishing the
agency now compliment it," Ellig writes of
FEMA in the report. The agency has reinvented
itself through major management reforms since
1993. The kinds of changes FEMA went through
are applicable to "an agency seeking to
transform itself from a rules-driven bureaucracy
to a results-driven organization," the report

According to the report, FEMA deserves credit
for establishing a clear mission and setting up
an organizational structure that helps meet it. 

In addition, the agency's information
technology systems have been redesigned to
be more customer-focused and FEMA has
developed communication strategies for each
of its stakeholders, including disaster victims,
the agency's own employees, Congress and the

Ellig credits FEMA Director James Lee Witt for
driving the agency's change. Under Witt's
leadership, FEMA's culture has become more
customer- and results-oriented, and less
formal. As a result, FEMA's employees have
more intrinsic motivation than financial
incentives, the report concludes.

The report will be released Wednesday during
a live Internet broadcast at,
beginning at 9:20 a.m.


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