Centralia No. 5

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The Blast in Centralia No. 5 by John Bartlow Martin highlights multiple failures in public administration. In this case study Bartlow reviewed how government operated during the 1940’s. In this paper I will touch on a few issues or concerns that were widespread during the 1940’s. I will explain alternative methods that could have been implemented to create change in a period when corruption and lack of oversight was widespread. Logistical Alternatives

Four Logistical alternatives Scanlan could have addressed are corruption, communication, time and responsibility. Inspector Scanlan worked during a period where corruption was seen as the norm. The people in position of leadership in government were easily bought by business trying to push their agendas. This was very apparent with the mine owners and the agencies that were supposed to regulate the mines. According to the text most inspectors would visit the mines and party with the owners. The mine owners made friends in the government by putting money in the pockets of those in leadership. According to Escaleras, Anbarci, and Register, disasters do not kill people, negligence from corrupt public officials kill people (Anbarci, Escaleras, & Register 2007). Inspector Scanlan experienced difficulties with communicating with those who were in a position to regulate the mining industry. Inspector Scanlan sent report after report to his superiors. Inspector Scanlan and his boss did not communicate effectively. Scanlan and his boss communicated vastly by mail. I believe they should have communicated face to face due to the severity of the situation. Miscommunication and faulty communication leads to the likelihood of failure (Garnett, 2009). Another concern inspector Scanlan could have addressed is the time it took for hierarchy to respond to the reports. The time it took for hierarchy to respond to the reports was way too long. After reading the text it seems a response was made after several reports were conducted. Another logistical problem Inspector Scanlan faced was responsibility. With many different officials contributing in many different ways to decisions and policies, it is difficult to ascribe moral responsibility to any official (Thompson,1980). There so many different agencies and organizations that was responsible for the oversight of the mine. Each agency ultimately did not operate in their authority to oversee the mine. No agency took responsibility for their lack of oversight once the disaster occurred. Scanlan’s Motivation

Inspector Driscoll Scanlan was a man of high integrity. Inspector Scanlan operated and conducted his work with policy and rules of his job. Inspector Scanlan did his job accordingly. Inspector Scanlan did not let outside interest influence how he worked. Inspector Scanlan could have easily taken bribes by the mine owners in order for him to write false inspections. Inspector Scanlan instead wrote up his findings exactly how he seen them. An example would be when Scanlan wrote up his findings in his car when he was done with a mine inspection. Scanlan actions indicated he was more obligated to the people. Inspector Scanlan would interact with the mine workers and listen to their stories and complaints. Inspector Scanlan was not the type of person that tried to appeal to those in a higher position than him. Paths of Actions

Two possible paths of action Scanlan could have taken are going to the media regarding the situation and organizing a strike on the mine. Scanlan tried time after time to notify his superiors of the conditions of the mines. With all the corruption going on it was impossible for Scanlan to create change from his position. Scanlan was simply too small to impact the large scale of corruption. Those that held authority above Scanlan were friends with the owners of the mines. The owners of the mines did not feel the need to make changes because their friends in the government would not enforce any penalties upon them....
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