Dumping $2.6 Million on Bakersfield (Or How Not to Build a Migratory Farm Worker's Clinic)
The central issue of this case was that the social ecology of administration and other external factors were not taken into consideration during the implementation of a plan to build new health clinics for migrant farm workers in Bakersfield California.
The program was created to meet the requirements of legislation of the 1970 Migrant Health Act sponsored by Senator Walter Mondale. Although there was plenty of money available, the money came with time constraints and the group who needed to spend the money had a poor overall knowledge of the community the funding was supposed to serve. This case was significant because it demonstrated how multiple levels of government, both federal and local, often mismanage their responsibilities simply because of poor communication and planning.
There were several factors that created this problem. The first issue was that there was legislation that made money available but none of the available individuals actually knew about the potential windfall. This may not have been a problem except that there were time constraints on the money being spent. The sequence of events then was that the HEW mandates added time constraints to the money. When the money arrived in Bakersfield, the local community was not ready to accept it with the time constraints and they were not sure of rules tied to the money. All they knew was that they would lose it if they did not spend. The next problem was that after not consulting with any other local groups, a group that was not covered by the program actually received a promise of funding.
Some alternatives in solving the underlying problems can be seen in what may have saved the HEW program implementation. The federal and local governments tried to work together to through press conferences to soften the community outrage. They clearly kept the grant so they obviously had some legitimate political negotiation skills. After the board added medical professionals and the clinic was built in a politically correct place, the initial planning problems were reduced and not made to look so bad.
This case had many underlying problems, but the biggest question to address was the fact that so many social ecology factors were completely missed. For example, how could local officials not know that there were no significant Chicano community groups that they could delegate to and they were completely ignorant of the implications of the must spend because of the end of budget year issues. One has to know his or her community as well as external factors that will or may potentially influence it.
This was a case of everything not to do for future administrators. The outcome was not a complete failure but it was bad enough to teach some lessons. A clinic was eventually built in Weedpatch. There were concerns of doctors not speaking the language of the Mexican workers and the medical director took heat about having proper credentials. There were many ongoing complaints and protests especially between the black and Mexican communities since combining boards was a no great overall solution. The main thing that could be learned from the events and actions of the case that could also be applied to the future is that both federal and local communities have got to work better in understating the other. The federal mandates of time for receiving the money put so much pressure on local administrators that they made more mistakes than they would have without the mandates of time. The local administrators also should have been better acquainted with potential legislation that would, and in this case did, affect them.
CASE 2 - The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger
The central issue is that NASA and the American people were first horrified and then later embarrassed by the cause of the shuttle Challenger disaster. This case brought to light the underlying power struggle that constantly goes on because of either monetary or political reasons at NASA and probably every governmental concern. The combination of public and private entities and companies were too influential in the approval…
Sources Used in Document:
Aron, Michael. (1972). "Dumping $2.6 Million on Bakersfield (Or How Not to Build a Migratory Farm Worker's Clinic)." The Washington Monthly. October: pp.23-32.
Charles, Michael T.. (1989). "The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger." Coping With Crises: The Management of Disaster, Riots and Terrorism.
Sciolino, Elain., Bronner, Ethan. (1999). "The Decision To Bomb the Serbs." New York Times. April 18.: p.1+.