Sunday, December 18, 2011

Managing Money

English: Map of regions of the Federal Emergen...Image via Wikipedia

Nations, regardless of system of governance or financial capability, have to be prepared for disasters whose catastrophic impacts are hard to prognosticate. Almost every year, the world experiences disasters of various magnitudes that include devastating tsunamis, earthquakes of different dimensions, hurricanes that inundate vast stretches of lands, contagious diseases that spread beyond borders, civil wars that kill and displace undisclosed number of people, and volcano eruptions that spread beyond control with geothermal implications.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a U.S. Government public organization that provides emergency assistance to state, local, and non-profit organizations. Former president Jimmy Carter created FEMA by executive order on March 30, 1979 (Woolley, 2005). FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security headed by Janet Napolitano. It was founded for the sake of averting disasters or triumphing over natural or human-made disasters (Adamski, Kline, & Tyrell, 2006). In its fiscal year 2011 budget, the Department of Homeland Security allocated 15% of its budget of $56,335,737,000 (a 2% increase over 2010 FY) for use by FEMA boosted by a further 7% grants (DHS, 2011). However, due to increased natural disasters, FEMA at times finds itself suffering austere measures that lead to budget deficits. Usually, it is Congress that passes appropriation bills thereafter to be signed by the president so that it becomes a law. Conversely, the president has the power to veto a bill or sign it in its entirety (Mikesell, 2011). Before appropriations are made for a FY, federal agencies may continue functioning through continuing resolution.

In order to succeed in its commitment to the public it serves, FEMA has to have the necessary tools and financial resources required to accomplish its goals and expectations. Since FEMA is a public not-for-profit organization that solely relies on the U.S. Government for its budgetary and other financial needs to combat disasters, it is prudent that accountability be considered with utmost importance to safeguard dwindling resources in case of economic meltdowns. Because the money provided by the government to FEMA is generated from businesses and the public through taxation, it is equally important for FEMA to ensure public services is distributed in the most applicable manner without hindrances of any sorts. According to Mikesell (2011), a budget is a valuable document that is fundamental in the way an organization is managed. Budgets apply differently to public and private organizations. Besides government, FEMA generates its budgetary needs from well-wishers and donors especially when catastrophes strike.


Adamski, T., Kline, B., & Tyrell, T. (2006). FEMA Reorganization and the Response to Hurricane Disaster Relief. Perspectives in Public Affairs. Vol. 3, Spring 2006.

DHS (2011). FY 2011 budget-in-brief. Retrieved from

Mikesell, J. (2011). Fiscal administration: Analysis and applications for the public sector (8th Ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Woolley, L. (2005). FEMA-Disaster of an emergency. Retrieved from
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