Exploring the post-apocalyptic landscape of the former Ft. Ord
Ever since the Army closed Ft. Ord, in 1994, The Ft. Ord Reuse Authority, or FORA, has been working tirelessly to complete munitions clean-up, redevelop the blighted acres of abandoned barracks, and ensure that the former base meets its potential as an economic driver for the community. Yet, after nearly 25 years, the blight has largely grown worse, the clean-up hasn’t been completed, the agency burns through around 6 million of your tax dollars per year, and some suspect FORA boss, Michael Houlemard, is more interested in prolonging his well over $200,000 per year job than in completing FORA’s mission.
FORA was originally expected to finish its work by 2012. When that didn’t happen, the state legislature extended FORA’s mandate to 2020. By law, FORA must have a plan for transitioning themselves out of existence in place by the end of this year. Yet the thought of bringing such a wonderful agency to a close has proved so difficult to bear that all efforts to devise such a plan have only resulted in plans to ask for yet another extension.
But another task force of FORA insiders is now hard at work and our sources tell us their consultants have finally found a way to allow FORA’s Ft. Ord reuse responsibilities to sunset, while still preserving FORA as a bastion of opaque bureaucracy and inflated salaries. To do this, they have advised FORA to focus on its core competencies.
High-level visioning sessions have revealed that FORA’s greatest expertise is in lack of responsiveness to the public and dismissiveness toward public input, in using questionable unexploded ordnance concerns as an excuse to exclude the public from land slated for development, in threatening trail users with collective punishment, and in jaw-droppingly inappropriate and self-serving gestures – as when Houlemard charged the taxpayers for his ticket when he ran a stop sign.
On the basis of these findings, consultants have advised the task force that FORA should embrace its strengths. Specifically it should transition itself from the Ft. Ord Reuse Authority into the Farcically Officious Rebranding Authority. In this way, imposing ridiculous rules to punish political enemies, acting for personal gain, rather than in the public interest, and continually shifting the purpose of the agency to meet political expediency could itself become the agency’s mission.
A win-win for FORA and aficionados of ossified, self-perpetuating bureaucracy everywhere.