Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Here is the November 9, 2000 Document

Ah Yes. The semi famous, semi infamous November 9, 2000 Email
complete with original typos but with some redaction of names

Some people remember me for this item so I'll acknowledge it. I'll admit that my comments were somewhat intemperate - I think the background was that I had suffered through a trying month dealing with some 'discretionary' projects that I thought were clearly contrary to the public interest where, in addition to the project flaws, the application documentation was missing information but where I was directed to hustle to make sure allocations were made quickly and then receiving what I felt was a self-serving communication on 'stewardship'.


From: Martin Weiss
To: [name redacted]
Date: 11/9/00 8:49AM
Subject: Re: Update on Stewardship Task Force ‑ Comments by COB 11/09

I've never liked the concept of stewardship. In the middle ages the steward made sure the serf's best cattle were available for the lord and that the lord could have first use of newly engaged women serfs.

In the 90s, I saw the stewardshp concept used by FHWA to empower some of us to attend grandstanding philosophy seminars, busybody conferences, and produce endlessless long and only marginally comprehensible strategic plans and reports. This also involved making ignorant and/or self serving statements about what States and transit agencies were doing implying that such agencies were doing poorly and we (in FHWA) were on the side of good and would soon set them straight. We had also had policy statements about customer service and inclusion and public involvement and various other things that raised expectations that could not be realized.

On a practical scale, we've seen poorly rated funding proposals (e.g., [redacted]) earmarked by [ redacted ] and we've taken measures, in our reports to Congress about why they were funded, to be less than candid about why such proposals were selected for funding. Similarly, we've applied our own regulations with extreme leniency by order of [ redacted ] (e.g., approving [subject redacted] that were near fantasy), and we've managed to take credit for actions done with virtually no impact by FHWA (e.g., [subject redacted]).

Thus, whatever we said about stewardship in the 90s was basically a deception and/or a waste of time.

In addition, the definition in the [name redacted] memo is,

The efficient and effective management of the public resources which have been entrusted to the Federal Highway Administration.

one, might ask what resources are entrusted to the FHWA? How many miles of pavement does FHWA maintain or operate? How many traffic lights, directional/informational signs, toll bridges, scenic roads, ports of entry, etc.?

Who says any physical resources are 'entrusted' to FHWA other than our desks, telephones and such.

>>> [name redacted] 11/07 11:07 AM >>>
For the past several months, an FHWA Task Force has been reviewing our oversight and stewardship policies and repsonsibilities. Below is a summary of recommendations by the Task Force Leader, [name and org code redacted]. Feel free to share your reactions and comments with me.

CC: [redacted]

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