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Centralia Mine

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Centralia Mine
Problem: The layers of bureaucracy created a group of administrators that were out of touch with those that they were hired to protect. Rather then focusing on results that created change, they focused on meetings and memos that essentially did nothing but create a paper trail that lead to a disaster. In the case of the Centralia #5 Mine, failure to act was responsible for the death of 111 men, the widowing of 79 women and leaving 76 children under the age of 18 without a Father.
History:
On March 25, 1947, in Centralia, Illinois, the explosion of the Centralia #5 Mine resulted in the death of 111 hardworking men. Most of these men dedicated their lives to the Bell & Zoller Coal Company mining coal at the company’s Centralia #5 Mine. This group of men attempted on numerous occasions to get help from agencies and elected officials that were expected to protect them. The miners found this group of people completely out of touch. The agencies and elected officials wrongly thought that writing reports and having meetings would solve a problem or make it go away by itself. Others seemed unwilling to help them for fear of the loss of their own jobs or political status.
Alternatives:
Driscoll Scanlan was assigned by Governor Dwight Green to the Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals as an inspector. Along with this assignment came the authority to shut down the mine if he felt that there was imminent danger to the miners. In fairness, he gave the mine operators numerous opportunities to improve the safety issues at the mine. After attending numerous meetings and filing countless reports outlining multiple violations, he was ignored. At some point, he should have taken action due to the lack of results and shut the mine down. Instead, he continued to file worthless reports that did nothing to save the lives of the 111 men he was hired to protect. The United Mine Workers of America as a union has the responsibility of hearing the grievances



References: Stillman, R.J. III (2010). Public administration concepts and cases. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cenage Learning.

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