Mark Hammer

I certainly don’t wish to undervalue the importance of emergency measures and such, but I guess my curiosity meanders a little farther afield.

Consider. Every municipality is going to have people whose expertise is in things like zoning or drafting by-laws. I look at those pictures of Joplin, that seem like some kind of immense “debris farm”, and I think to myself “At what point is something like zoning for commercial vs residential purposes even going to enter into the picture?”.

Which is, I guess, why my original query had to do with the “reconstituting” of local governments. There are going to be a number of things which quite likely, beyond merely being at a disadvantage (missing records, etc.), simply won’t even have a point at that stage in the game. What happens to that capacity during the waiting period? Do those folks get other employment, or move somewhere else? If a regional public administrtion has a team of people for a given function, and that team simply can’t provide that function for the moment, what happens to it, and how does one go about reinstating that capacity, if at all?

In a sense, this goes beyond the basic, and obviously important, issue of physical infrastructure and emergency services, to the longer-range issue of how one rebuilds human capital under those circumstances. There is, after all, only so long you can leave a car on blocks before the engine seizes up.

This is one of those things I hope the public admin gurus are cogitating over, because it is a challenge that will come up again. And not just here, but in places hit by tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, fires (like the recent destruction of a large chunk of Slave Lake, Alberta), nuclear accidents, and all of those other things that keep reminding us how puny and impotent we really are.