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Monday, June 23, 2008

Re Writing History, Local Style

Below is article about the shock of Muskegon Area First and their PTAC. Remember the word Shock and the date of the article June 21, 2008
I quote from the article to help explain the confusion.
Maj. Gen. Bradley Mark Lott, USMC retired, is head of the new Michigan Defense Contract Coordination Center. He is unhappy with the management and direction of the Muskegon Area First-hosted West Michigan Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
Please read the article above. My summary is that The General had a job to do and he is doing it. That job was to get as much Federal money into the hands of as many small business’s as possible and in an efficient way. He ran up against local bureaucracies that were more interested in the bottom line of their little corner instead of the main purpose of the money. General Lott seems a man of action and not used to dealing with the rationalizations of bureaucracy. He probably thought it was like talking to a stone fence. Two different languages. Muskegon PTAC just didn’t grasp the idea of why the money was there in the first place. They seemed to think it was their money to do with as they wished and especially in that characteristic bureaucratic manner to take care of their own first then principles later. The General forgot to bring his translation book.
Another quote clearly shows what the General was after.
"I wish their (Muskegon officials) response would have been better," Lott said in a telephone interview. "We need to embrace small businesses across the entire 14-county area. I am a little concerned that we have not satisfied the businesses in Kent and Ottawa counties."
If you’ll notice the General didn’t once mention a dollar amount or that the total amount gathered by the PTAC was the main thing, it seemed to me that the main goal was how it was used which always seems to take a back seat in a governmental setting. I read the above and understand he is after a fair and equitable spreading around of the money not only in the 14county area but within the local PTAC s themselves. The Chronicle article seems to miss that entirely. Muskegon’s PTAC is quoted in the article by saying in the next paragraph the following
But state statistics show the Muskegon procurement office has been one of the top two PTACs among the 11 across the state the past two federal fiscal years in terms of total dollar value of federal contracts that received the office's assistance. The Muskegon office also is on course to meet Lott's goal of doubling federal contracts for this year.
What’s wrong with the General, can’t he see?
The crux of the article is to throw doubt on the decision that General Lott is making. It seems like this article is slanted way in favor of Muskegon Area First. That may be the loyal thing to do by the local paper but I had expected better as it claims to be a “News” paper.
The crux of the General’s reasoning is that the main goal of the PTAC is to help facilitate the spreading around of the grant monies to as varied a group of small business as possible, and to increase that money. Not to be in competition to see how much grant money can be raised within each PTAC. All the talk of the competing PTACs in the following article from Mlive seems to me to be counter productive to the stated goals of General Lott. This original article seems to put an entirely different slant on situation. A little kinder to the General. And more factual. Oh facts don’t seem to stand a chance when they interfere with sensationalizing a story. Later Edit from me. 6/24/08. I talked with Lee Loupo at the Chronicle, who told me that the "Origingal" below was not printed by the Chronicle. But by another publication under the Booth umbrella. Later I called Dave Alexander who let me know that the General instigated the story by calling him. Dave made the assumption the General had called Lynn Stevens author of the article below. Dave further said that his article wasn't printed for a number of days, so the two articles may have been written relatively close to the same time. Dave did say however that he had not read the other story, and that he's sicking to his. Thought I should let you know what I found out.----link-----
This earlier article clearly shows that General Lott tried to give fair warning. The region he is talking about is the region the Muskegon PTAC is responsible for.
"We have three manufacturing-population areas in the region: Muskegon County has 300 businesses, Kent County has 1,000 and Ottawa County has 400," Lott said. "I was finding I wasn't getting enough reach out of Muskegon County."
That PTAC's own report show it helped companies win more than $139 million in federal product and service contracts last year -- but 92 percent of the awards went to only four clients.
He further noted the problems he was facing with the Muskegon PTAC
-----quote from article-----
His efforts to establish a satellite office subordinate to Muskegon in Grand Rapids met with what he called "defiance compliance" from the Muskegon office director. He did not name the director.
Don’t you just hate it when someone comes along and tells the truth and disrupts that alternate universe you’ve so carefully constructed?

See my edit above in italic. While the actual published dates I use are correct, the actual writing dates are not. They may have been written close to the same time. Also note the two articles were published by diferent publications both completely different only owned by Booth. My mistake was thinking they were from the Chronicle because they were both on Mlive. I was sloppy. Again unless proven different I stand on the facts as presented other than the timing. Let the reader judge which article is correct.
I wonder why 10 days later this second article came out. Sounds like some ruffled feathers needed smoothing. The headline had a little different slant. “Retired general attacks area's federal contract efforts”. Not exactly killing babies but I think you get the drift. Not very understanding in tone or substance as a headline. Especially compared to the previous article. The lack of the facts stated in the earlier article about 92% of the awards going to only four clients was missing. Also the numbers of business’s in the surrounding area which showed the disproportionate amount of help being obtained by Muskegon PTAC which showed the General’s true intent was absent . Well they seemed to have been deleted, and replaced with less specific numbers. Less facts to help the reader decide.

Those new “facts” while less factual changed the emphasis of the article to make one think that the Muskegon PTAC was doing great and setting records. Now it will all be for naught because a retired General has attacked them for no apparent reason. You know how the military can be. This kind of logic is understandable if one is trying to protect and enhance an individual bureaucracy or PTAC and not further the overall goals of the Michigan Defense Contract Coordination Center, the General heads. In plain words, it looks like the General was after help in accomplishing his goals, but instead found a local PTAC more interested in feathering their own nest and padding their bottom line in defiance of General Lott’s stated purpose. To bad the article also had to buy into all that bureaucratic double speak.

The bureaucratic mentality is a hard nut to crack. An ever increasingly accepted alternative universe. Want another example of a bureaucracy thinking it is doing a good job in this other alternative universe ??? Look at the Detroit Public School system. It’s teachers and leaders keep getting raises and paychecks and they think they are doing fine. They change curriculum and everybody’s happy. Their main goal is to keep all the kids in school they can to keep getting the per student funding. What ever happened to the stated purpose of actually teaching the children. The Detroit Schools for one have seemed to have misplaced that notion. What priority number has that notion slipped too? It obviously isn’t number one and hasn’t been for awhile.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

2 comments: said...

Do we HAVE to look at the Detroit Public Schools? They give me a headache.

Especially a couple years back when they went on an illegal teacher strike and put thousands of kids out in the street. With the support of the Governor.


live dangerously said...

Yes we do Nick, as a conservative we should support business. I'm trying to help out Bayer Aspirn Co.
Regards LD